Police suspect the influence of IS on the Melbourne killers

After the fatal knife attack in Melbourne, the Australian authorities presume a terrorist past. The assailant of Somalia was known to the secret service as an extremist threat for three years, police said. His Australian passport had been withdrawn by him in 2015 because, according to the authorities, there was the danger that he could travel to Syria to join the terrorist militia of the Islamic State.

Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, a 30-year-old boy who fled to Australia with his family in the 1980s, drove into a downtown commercial district on a petrol-loaded pickup on Friday and used a knife to hit pedestrians. He stabbed one person and wounded two more before being shot dead by the police.

The assailant had not had direct connections with the extremist militia, but was inspired by her, police said. The IS militia had initially claimed the deed for itself, without providing any proof.

In addition, the attacker's brother in the crosshairs of the Australian judiciary

So far, the police have interviewed 35 eyewitnesses of the attack and searched two addresses in the west and northeast of the second largest city in Australia. The attacker's brother must soon respond to allegations of terror in court. He is said to have tried to buy a gun to kill many people at a New Year's Eve party in a square in Melbourne.

Hassan Khalif Shire Ali also represented "radicalized views," an anti-terrorist expert told the police. It has not been classified as a threat to national security.

The attack is the second major blow to the city of five million inhabitants, which is also popular among tourists for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its high standard of living and its many cafes, bars and restaurants. There is currently a lawsuit against a 28-year-old man who ran his car through the crowd at the end of 2017 in the same neighborhood, killing six people.

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