Terrorists strike in Australia
Three police officers suffered injuries
Australian police are treating as a “terrorist incident” a Melbourne siege in which a gunman was killed.
Heavily armed officers arrived at an apartment building on Monday after reports of an explosion and found one man already dead in the foyer.
Another man, Yacqub Khayre, was armed with a shotgun and holding a woman inside the building against her will.
Khayre, 29, called a broadcaster during the siege to say he was acting in the name of the Islamic State (IS) group.
A news outlet for the group claimed it had carried out the attack, but police said there was no evidence of it co-ordinating with Khayre.
Three police officers suffered injuries after Khayre engaged them in a firefight in which he was shot dead. The hostage was rescued unharmed.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the victim who died, a building employee, was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
Gunman known to police
Authorities were investigating whether Khayre, a Somali-born Australian citizen, may have lured officers to the wealthy suburb of Brighton with the aim of confronting them.
Mr Ashton said comments Khayre made referencing IS and al-Qaeda had prompted the terrorism investigation.
“We do not yet know if this was something he was really planning or whether it was just an ad hoc decision that he has made just to go off tap like this,” Mr Ashton said.
“They (IS) always tend to jump up and claim responsibility every time something happens,” Mr Ashton said.
He said Khayre had been acquitted over a foiled plot to attack a Sydney army barracks in 2009.
He had “a long criminal history” and was on parole after being released from jail on a separate offence last year, Mr Ashton said.
The gunman had arranged to meet the woman through an escort service before taking her hostage, he said.