Melbourne attacker also planned to set off explosion

Nellie Chapman
November 10, 2018

The lone terrorist who fatally stabbed a man in busy Bourke St on Friday planned to cause an explosion in central Melbourne by igniting gas cylinders in his auto, police say.

Video from the scene showed a man swinging a knife at two police officers near a burning vehicle before he was shot.

One man died in hospital and two others were injured after they were stabbed by the attacker.

Police confirmed one person had been killed, while two others were in hospital.

Police believe he meant to cause an explosion in the city centre, a plan that Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said "wasn't sophisticated", with the auto catching fire but not exploding.

Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack, which came two days before Remembrance Day, marking 100 years since the end of World War One, without providing any evidence.

Ali, who was driving a ute, loaded with gas bottles, into the Bourke Street, allegedly set it alight and began stabbing members of the public Friday.

"We are now treating this as a terrorism event", said Graham Ashton, police chief commissioner for Victoria state.

The man who bravely took on a knife-wielding terrorist while armed with just a shopping trolley says he is no hero.

The suspect punched an officer and threatened them with a knife.

Media showed video footage of police then trying to restrain a large man in a dark tunic who was lunging, slashing and stabbing wildly at two officers as a pick-up truck burned nearby.

Police say they were called to the area about 4.10pm after receiving reports of a auto on fire near the corner of Swanston St.

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In a statement, police said: "The man was known to Victoria Police and federal intelligence authorities by way of his family associations".

At the same press conference on Saturday morning commissioner Ashton said both members were "reasonably new".

The Somali-born Shir Ali, aged 30, crashed his vehicle loaded with gas bottles in the Melbourne CBD and stabbed three people before he was shot by police and died in hospital. The attacker has since died in hospital.

Ashton said the authorities do not see any ongoing threat related to the attack.

They had initially thought the man was running to catch a tram close by, before a nearby police auto rushed to the scene.

"It's basically a commuter hub and a central shopping district as well".

Her immediate thought was, "Oh no, not another Bourke Street incident", she said.

He did say though it looked like there had been some attempt to light a fire as the canisters had been "turned to open".

The man was shot in the chest by police.

Victoria police tweeted a request for witnesses to speak to police and share any images that might help the investigation.

Melburnians had not been "cowered" and instead gone about their daily lives on Saturday, the premier added, noting there had been a record crowd at the Stakes Day races at Flemington.

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