IS claims responsibility for Australia attack

A vehicle can be seen on fire in Bourke Street Melbourne

Witnesses told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that a four-speed utility truck sped down Bourke Street in the southern Australia city's central business district and crashed after missing a tram.

Speaking at a news conference, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said that the suspect had "family associations that were well known" to police and that he had been known to Australia's security agency.

One runs a trolley over from the other side of the street and pushes it at the attacker who is lunging at police.

Witnesses called the stabbings "random", the ABC reports.

Dozens of disturbing images and videos from the incident have emerged on social media with the attack taking place in broad daylight.

Police quickly arrived on the scene, Ashton said.

Twitter user Meegan May wrote: "Guy seems to have set his auto on fire, then attacked police with a knife".

Two civilians became involved as well as the two officers, trying to stop the man from his attack.

The three passersby who were stabbed - all men - were all taken to hospital.

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




One had a neck injury, a second person had a head injury; and the condition and injuries of the third person is unknown.

"A man was arrested at the scene and has been taken to hospital under police guard in a critical condition", the statement said.

"'The fire brigade turned up to put the fire out discovered there were gas bottle - I understand at this stage they are those barbecue-style gas bottles - within the vehicle", Ashton said. "The area has been cordoned off and the public are urged to avoid the area".

The incident occurred on a section of the busy street that is closed to traffic.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Police said that there was no known link to terrorism at this stage and that "we'll keep an open mind as to whether there's any link".

Australia's counter-terrorism command has taken a lead role in the investigation and police set up a three-block-wide exclusion zone as forensic investigators combed through the scene.

Commissioner Ashton also says there is no suggestion that Shire Ali was inspired by James "Dimitrious" Gargasoulas, who is now on trial facing six charges of murder after allegedly mowing down pedestrians in January 2017.

"We saw it in the everyday Victorians, who stayed with and cared for the injured, and stood ready to protect others". And to the victims and their loved ones, we offer our prayers, support, and deepest sympathies.

"We as a city, will not be defined by this act of evil".

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