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Australia Treats Melbourne Knife Attack as Terrorism

Australia Treats Melbourne Knife Attack as Terrorism

Police have cordoned off a section of the central business district in Australia's second-largest city, but are not looking for other suspects.

Australian police shot a knife-wielding man who is believed to have stabbed three people in Melbourne's city-center, killing one of them.

One of the victims died and two others were hospitalized, police said.

A man has reportedly been gunned down by police after a vehicle crashed and burst into flames on Bourke Street Mall. "A fire was then started in that vehicle", Ashton said.

However, the exact reason for the stabbing and burning of the vehicle has not been ascertained as of yet.

A witness, who was taking a stroll during a break from work, told ABC News, "it is a very odd thing to witness on the streets you walk everyday..."

Video of the incident, which some readers might find disturbing, can be seen here.

Local media later reported that the alleged attacker arrived in Australia in the 1990s and his brother had been previously accused of terrorism- related incidents. A video, apparently showing the moment officers approached the suspect, has also surfaced online.

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"It got him but didn't get him down". The police officers are being treated for cuts and scrapes and are not thought to be in a serious condition. One of them died of his injuries in hospital.

The knifeman clutched his chest and and fell to the ground where he was quickly arrested on the pavement by two officers and rushed to hospital under police guard. "Police are now at an incident on Bourke St in the CBD". A bomb squad has since rendered the auto safe.

ISIL claimed responsibility for Friday's attack but provided no evidence.

A staunch USA ally, Australia has been on alert for such violence after a Sydney cafe siege in 2014, and its intelligence agencies have stepped up scrutiny, though Ashton said there was no warning of the latest attack.

"For operational matters we now have the counter-terrorism command and the homicide squad dealing with this matter, and there are ongoing investigations being conducted by the counter-terrorism command", he continued.

"Here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism in this country is the radical and risky ideology of extremist Islam", he said.

The incident came as the trial began of James Gargasoulas, who is accused of killing six people on Bourke Street past year after allegedly deliberately ploughing through them with a vehicle.