Source: Intelligencer Post- deadly siege in the Australian city of Melbourne which occurred on Monday is now being treated as a terrorist attack, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced.
Turnbull’s announcement comes as the ISIS terrorist group (“Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Monday, a gunman of Somali origin, 29-year-old Yacqub Khayre, killed a man in the lobby of an apartment building in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, and held a female escort hostage inside.
The Mebourne police first responded to reports of an explosion at Buckingham Serviced Apartments in Brighton at about 4 pm.
The Seven Network Melbourne newsroom received a call from a woman who said she was a hostage before Khayre said, “This is for ISIS, this is for al-Qaeda”.
The terrorist burst out of the apartment at about 6pm, firing at and injuring three officers before being shot dead by police.
Australian officials have confirmed that Kharya had a long criminal record. In particular, he had been acquitted of a plot to attack a Sydney army base in 2009.
At the time of Monday’s siege in Melbourne, he was on parole for a violent home invasion. He cut off his GPS bracelet after the hostage situation began.
Khayre migrated as a child with his family to Australia through a Kenyan refugee camp. He was recognized as a refugee under Australia’s humanitarian migration program and later became a citizen.
‘Act of Terrorism’
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday police were treating the Melbourne siege as an “act of terrorism” after a claim by the Islamic State group that one of its fighters was the gunman responsible.
“This terrorist attack by a known criminal, a man who was only recently released on parole, is a shocking, cowardly crime,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Australia’s capital, Canberra, as cited by Reuters.
“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,” he said.
Earlier, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack by the 29-year-old via Khayre its Amaq news agency, saying
Amaq said the attack was committed because of Australia’s membership of the US-led international coalition presently fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says police are treating a deadly siege in the city of Melbourne as an “act of terrorism” after a claim by the Islamic State group that one of its fighters was responsible.
Australia’s police said they were investigating whether Khayre had any established links with the group.
Prime Minister Turnbull questioned why Khayre was not behind bars after a string of offenses.
Police search the home of Yacqub Khayre at Roxburgh Park, Melbourne, Australia, 06 June 2017. Photo: David Crosling/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
He first came to the attention of counter-terrorism police in 2009, when he was one of five men accused of plotting an attack on Sydney’s Holsworthy Army base to kill soldiers. Three of the men were convicted, while Khayre and another man were acquitted.
The Victorian Supreme Court was told during that case that Khayre had been a worshiper at a Melbourne mosque and at a nearby prayer hall regarded by police as an “incubator” of extremist ideology.
Prosecutors unsuccessfully argued that Khayre traveled to Somalia to obtain a fatwa, or religious ruling, in support of the Sydney plot.
Victoria State Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said earlier Khayre had arranged to meet a female escort in an apartment building in the beachside Melbourne suburb of Brighton on Monday.
After shooting and killing a staff member when he arrived, Khayre then held the woman hostage for several hours before he burst out of the building and engaged police in a firefight, during which he was killed. The hostage remained unharmed.
Police are investigating whether Khayre tried to lure police into an ambush. Australia has not increased its terror threat level and police said they were not looking for any other suspects.
The terrorist was jailed in 2012 over a violent burglary in Melbourne, where he was found to have repeatedly struck a woman and her father.
Khayre was given a 5.5-year prison term but was granted parole in December.
The Melbourne siege is reminiscent of the December 2014 terrorist attack in Australia’s Sydney in which a gunman killed one hostage during a 17-hour siege at a popular cafe, while another hostage was killed by fragments of a bullet fired by police who stormed the cafe and killed the gunman.