Melbourne, AU – An alleged ISIS-linked terrorist with a truck loaded with containers of gasoline stabbed three people in Melbourne on Friday, killing one, before he was fatally shot by police (video below).
The attacker has been identified as 31-year-old Mohamed Khalif, who also goes by the name of Hassan Shire, The Sun reported.
“We don’t believe there is an ongoing threat at this stage, but certainly we are treating it as a terrorism incident,” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said during a press conference, according to Sky News.
Police responded to Bourke Street at approximately 4:20 p.m., after they received reports that a truck was in flames.
"At the same time, passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed,” Commissioner Ashton explained.
"It's the center of Melbourne, where a lot of the transportation changes over…it's probably the busiest part of Melbourne and late on a Friday," witness Meegan May told CNN. "It's basically a commuter hub and a central shopping district as well."
It was unclear whether the suspect deliberately set fire to the vehicle, but it was packed gasoline containers, the commissioner said.
According to witnesses, the terrorist jumped out of the truck as it burst into flames, then began stabbing people in the street, CNN reported.
“There was a massive flame and bang, just smoke and lots of people,” witness Shelley Reid said.
When officers arrived at the scene, Khalif punched one of them through a patrol car window, then slashed at them with a knife when they got out to subdue him.
Video footage of the attack showed the man as he repeatedly tried to stab the officers.
Two citizens – one armed with a chair and another with a shopping cart – jumped in to help the officers during the altercation, Sky News reported.
One of the officers drew his firearm and shot the attacker in the chest.
Khalif later died at the hospital, CNN reported.
It wasn’t until after the harrowing altercation with the terrorist that police realized three male citizens had been stabbed.
One died of his wounds at the hospital, and two others, ages 26 and 58, are being treated for non-life threatening injuries, Sky News reported.
Police also summonsed a bomb response unit to the scene due to the gasoline containers located inside the suspect’s truck, according to CNN.
Sky News reported that the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, according to its propaganda agency, Amaq, but noted it had not provided evidence of the claim.
According to police, Khalif was originally from Somalia.
He and some of his “family associations” were “well-known” by Australian authorities, Commissioner Ashton said.
Khalif and some members of his family are believed to be linked to extremist groups in North Africa, The Sun reported.
The terrorist had previously been identified as a potential security risk, and his passport was cancelled several years ago as a result.
Police are also searching for Khalif’s wife, who they believe has been “radicalized,” The Sun reported.
His brother, Ali Khalif Shire Ali, was accused of plotting a terrorist attack targeting Melbourne’s Federation Square in 2017 – an attempt that was thwarted by police.
You can watch video footage of the officers' encounter with Khalif in the video below: