Tuesday, September 23, 2014

23-Sep-14: Knifing attack on police in Australia: attacker is now dead

Breaking: There is a follow-on from Melbourne to the heightened state of terror alert in Australia. We wrote that here this past Thursday ["18-Sep-14: In Australia, massive police raids today seek to prevent beheadings"] and noted that there are
more questions than answers at this stage about what ABC calls Australia's new "emerging reality" . There is media speculation now that the police activity is likely to be extended to Melbourne.
This report about events that have unfolded in the past few hours in Melbourne comes from Australia's national broadcaster, ABC:
Melbourne shooting: Man who made threats against PM shot dead after stabbing two officers outside Endeavour Hills police station 
Updated 24 Sep 2014, 1:03am | An 18-year-old man who made threats against the Prime Minister was shot dead after he stabbed two police officers from the joint counter terrorism team in Melbourne's outer south-east. The ABC understands the dead man, who recently had his passport cancelled, was considered a "person of interest" by authorities and was being investigated over terrorism. AFP Commander Bruce Giles said officers were looking into unconfirmed reports the man had been seen with an Islamic State flag before he was shot... 
The incident occurred as the man arrived at a police station on Heatherton Road in Endeavour Hills about 7:40pm (AEST) on Tuesday. He had been asked to attend an interview as part of an investigation. Police would not go into detail about why they wanted to speak to the man. An altercation between the man and the two officers took place outside the station. He produced a knife and stabbed the policemen. The 18-year-old was then fatally shot by an officer. 
One of the injured officers is from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the other is a Victoria Police member. They were both rushed to hospital and one remained in a serious but stable condition in the early hours of Wednesday...
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius stressed the man came to the station of his own freewill.
"It's absolutely clear to us that our members had no choice other than to act in the way in which they did," he said. "This is not an exercise in police seeking to single out particular individuals in the community... It appears this individual was acting on his own and was not acting in concert with other individuals."
A large number of uniformed and plain clothes officers attended the scene late on Tuesday night, with officers interviewing witnesses from a nearby shopping centre. The incident has occurred amid heightened tensions following last week's counter-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane.
On Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned Australians the balance between freedom and security "may have to shift", given the current "troubling" and "darkening" security situation. In Canberra on Tuesday AFP officers armed with assault rifles could be seen outside Parliament House. The decision to post the heavily armed police officers outside Parliament House was taken by Speaker Bronwyn Bishop and President of the Senate Stephen Parry based on advice from security agencies.
It also comes after the Federal Government released its proposed anti-terrorism legislation targeting so-called "foreign fighters".
A reporter for the Herald-Sun, a major Melbourne newspaper, writing in the wake of the attack by the knife-wielding suspect, offers this:

We can hope he has that back-to-front. Time will tell,

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