Melbourne, Australia- A 29-year-old gunman identified as Yacqub Khayre called a local news station to declare his allegiance to the Islamic State while holding a woman hostage in an apartment building at approximately 4 pm local time. After two hours, Victoria Police shot and killed Khayre when he approached them firing a shotgun, freeing the female hostage. Three police officers were injured in the operation, reportedly two were shot in the hands and the third in the head or neck.
Police did not communicate with Khayre during the standoff, said a deputy police commissioner, Andrew Crisp. “Just before 6pm whilst police resources were in the vicinity of the serviced apartments a male has exited one of the services apartments and began firing at police members,” he said. “Police members returned fire and as a result the man who exited the serviced apartments was fatally shot. As a result of the gunfire three police members were injured.”- The Guardian
The body of an unidentified man was also found by police in the stairwell of the apartment building. Following the incident, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident via Amaq News.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared the situation a terrorist attack, stating “This terrorist attack by a known criminal, a man who was only recently released on parole, is a shocking, cowardly crime. It is a terrorist attack and it underlines the need for us to be constantly vigilant…”
The Prime Minister responds to the terror attack in Melbourne. pic.twitter.com/NiF185cDuV
— The PMO (@thepmo) June 6, 2017
Yacqub Khayre has a known history of radicalized ideology and criminal activity. In 2010 he was arrested for plotting to attack the Holsworthy army barracks but was later acquitted. While there was not enough evidence to link Khayre to the army barracks terrorist plot, he did travel to Somalia before the incident.
The men’s intention was to actually go into the army barracks and to kill as many soldiers as they could until they themselves were killed,” said the country’s federal police commissioner, Tony Negus.- The Guardian
Police are continuing to investigate this incident as well as Khayre’s possible connections to the Islamic State or other terrorist networks.
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