Australia police: Melbourne attacker also planned explosion

SYDNEY – Australia police said it had planned to set off an explosion.

Hassain Khalif Shire Ali, 30, got out of a pickup vehicle, which then caught fire, and stabbed three men, one of which died at the scene on Friday. The attack horrified hundreds of onlookers during the afternoon rush hour in Australia's second-biggest city.

Victoria State Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said that Shire Ali, who was shot and killed in a hospital, had planned to use his vehicle to explode.

"It looks like he's attempting to ignite a fire in the car," he said. "Ashton told Australia's Channel 9 TV network.

Ashton said Shire Ali, who moved to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s, what is known to the Federal Intelligence Agency ASIO because his brother Ali Khalif Shire Ali was accused of plotting another attack this year in Melbourne.

"He's someone who's known to us," Ashton said. "But he was not someone we were actively monitoring to that level."

Ashton said Shire Ali had a criminal history of cannabis use, theft and driving.

Aamaq media poor, but provided no evidence. It said that it was part of the international coalition fighting the militants in Syria and Iraq.

IS, which has suffered heavy battlefield setbacks in the past year, often claims attacks without any clear connection.

Police and civilians had tried unsuccessfully to subdue Shire Ali during Friday's attack, before he shot him in the chest.

A man aged 74, who had been stabbed in the face, died at the scene. Two other men, aged 26 and 58, are in a hospital with what they describe as non-life threatening injuries.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said police were searching two Melbourne properties on Saturday in relation to the attack. Ashton said, however, that they did not believe there were any ongoing threats to the public.

It's the second time in four years Australia has witnessed militant violence.

In December 2014, a 17-hour victory in which a gunman took 18 people hostage in a Sydney cafe ended with two dead people and the assailant killed by police. Islamic State flag at the outset of the crisis, there was no evidence he had established contact with the militant group. However, at a later inquest, the coroner of New South Wales said the gunman's actions fell "within the accepted definition of terrorism."

Melbourne So what the scene of two fatal car-ramming incidents last year, but nothing linked by police to terrorism.

Ashton says there is no suggestion of Shire Ali was inspired by James "Dimitrious" Gargasoulas, who faced this week on six charges of murder over the first ramming attack, in January 2017.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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