Australian authorities are treating as “an act of terrorism”, a siege in Melbourne on Monday in which a man was killed along with the assailant.
The so-called Islamic State said the gunman was one of its fighters. After shooting the man dead in the foyer of a block of flats in a residential area, he then held a woman hostage for several hours.
She was unharmed and he was killed in a shootout with police after he burst out of the building.
Police said the gunman, Yacqub Khayre, had a long criminal history. He was acquitted of a plot to attack a Sydney army base in 2009 and was on parole for a violent home invasion at the time of Monday’s siege.
The prime minister questioned why Khayre was not behind bars, calling it “a shocking cowardly crime”.
“It is a terrorist attack and it underlines the need for us to be constantly vigilant, never to be deterred, always defiant, in the face of Islamist terrorism,” Malcolm Turnbull told a news conference.
Three police officers were injured in the shootout.
Police are investigating whether the gunman tried to lure them into an ambush and whether he did have any links to ISIL.
Claiming responsibility for the attack via its Amaq news agency, the militant group said the attack was in retaliation for Australia’s involvement in the US-led coalition fighting the militants in Iraq and Syria.
The police said Khayre had arranged to meet a female escort at the block of flats in the beachside Melbourne suburb of Brighton.
Australia has not increased its terror threat level and police said they were not looking for any other suspects.
Brighton siege: Melbourne police launch terror probe after deadly stand-off with Holsworthy plot gunman https://t.co/CyCQ1R3MdX |
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