Australian ‘terror suspect’ shot dead after stabbing 2 police officers
An 18-year-old man, reportedly supporting ISIS, was shot dead after stabbing two police officers in Melbourne, Australia, a day after the Islamic State commanded Muslims to kill ‘unbelievers’ in countries from the coalition fighting the extremist group.
The young man had been on the radar of Australian counter-terrorism forces for months before the incident, police say. He also recently had his passport canceled on security grounds.
The man appeared for an interview at a police station on the
outskirts of Melbourne, in the State of Victoria, on Tuesday
evening, when he took out a knife.
"This was a planned and agreed meeting that was to occur at the Endeavour Hills Police Station,” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said on Wednesday, as cited by Reuters. “When these two police officers approached him, they were stabbed, one very seriously. One of the injured police discharged his firearm, fatally wounding the 18-year-old."
One of the injured officers is from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the other is a Victoria Police member. Both required surgery, but their lives aren’t in danger.
Good news! Both members involved in the Endeavour Hills shooting are now in a stable condition.
— Victoria Police (@VictoriaPolice) September 23, 2014
The teenager was identified by police as Abdul Numan Haider,
whose family is from Afghanistan. He was reportedly seen waving a
flag of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) group at a
shopping mall a week before his death. There are allegations the
young man had links to the radical Islamic group Al Furqan.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan acknowledged the man’s activity was of concern to the law enforcers.
"I can advise that the person in question was a known terror suspect who was a person of interest to law enforcement and intelligence agencies," Keenan said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the attack on the officers as a “nasty incident.”
“Obviously, this indicates that there are people in our community who are capable of very extreme acts. It also indicates that the police will be constantly vigilant to protect us against people who would do us harm,” Abbot said in a statement.
The incident came a day after the IS released a call to all Muslims to kill citizens of countries fighting the Islamist group, including Australia, regardless of whether they were civilian or military.
Australia upped its security alert level earlier this month. At least 100 Australians are believed to be fighting in the Middle East with the IS or other extremist groups. Twenty are thought to have returned to Australia, posing a security risk.
Eight hundred federal and state police officers carried out one of the country’s largest counterterrorism operations in Sydney and Brisbane last week. Authorities say a plot to carry out a public beheading of a random victim was thwarted as a result.