Australia police say Melbourne attacker was known to authorities

One dead after man sets car set alight, stabs pedestrians in Melbourne

One dead after man sets car set alight, stabs pedestrians in Melbourne

A knife-wielding man has stabbed two people, one fatally, in Melbourne in an attack believed to be linked to terrorism, police said.

Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was born in 1988.

"Trolley man", who has not yet been identified, has been praised online for his bravery, alongside several other members of the public who rushed to help the three victims who had been stabbed in the attack. Though the erratic gunman demanded that police deliver him an Islamic State flag at the outset of the crisis, there was no evidence he had established contact with the militant group.

He died later in hospital.

He later died of his injuries in hospital, Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton told reporters on Friday.

The set up of gas cylinders in Shire Ali's auto, deliberately opened to cause an explosion, was described by police as "not remotely sophisticated".

While it was known he held radicalised views, federal police didn't believe he posed a serious threat, and revealed he was not being actively monitored at the time of the attack.

He was not actively monitored.

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 vehicle catching fire but not exploding.

Businesses are now shut near the incident, with police telling people to stay inside.

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"You're trained to shoot to kill, not to shoot to wound".

Memories remain fresh of a fatal but not terror-related attack on the same street previous year, in which a man drove his vehicle at pedestrians at high speed, killing six people and wounding about 30. The group often claims responsibility for attacks by individuals inspired by its message.

Police have confirmed they have spoken to Shire Ali's wife and that she is not missing.

The police found "barbecue style" gas bottles in the vehicle involved in Friday's incident. "A man was arrested at the scene and has been taken to hospital under police guard in a critical condition", it said.

The attack on Bourke Street horrified hundreds of onlookers during the afternoon rush hour in Australia's second-biggest city.

Photo from the scene showed crowds of people behind police barriers.

A witness, Markel Villasin, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio: "Bystanders were yelling out "just shoot him, just shoot him".

"This is an evil and terrifying thing that happened in our city and state today, and we condemn it", he said.

The attack occurred on Bourke Street in the central downtown area. Police stepped up security at the racecourse, and said they would do the same for an A-League soccer match on Saturday night.

Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian strip and shopping area popular with foreign tourists including Japanese, was previously the scene of auto rampage in 2017 that left six people dead. That prompted the city to install hundreds of security bollards. The driver is on trial.

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