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Melbourne police treating knife attack as terrorism incident, officials say

Melbourne police treating knife attack as terrorism incident, officials say

Ashton added that Counter Terrorism Command will investigate alongside Victoria police.

More than 100 police swarmed on the area.

A fearless bystander dubbed "Trolley Man" has been praised for his selfless actions in his attempt to halt the knife-wielding man who stabbed three people in Melbourne.

The assailant had a minor criminal history of drug, theft and driving offences, and he lived in a suburb of Melbourne northwest of the city.

A strong police presence is at both properties in Werribee and Meadow Heights.

Victorian police chief commissioner Graham Ashton told a press conference that the suspect drove a pickup truck to a location on a busy Melbourne street and set the vehicle on fire.

One person died at the scene and two others were being treated for their injuries. He succumbed to the gunshot wounds in the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Officers said they "are not looking for anyone further at this early stage" and there was no immediate evidence of an ongoing threat related to the attack.

Police are confident the event was a terrorist attack, which Islamic State has claimed responsibility for.

"It looks like he's attempted to ignite a fire in the vehicle, we believe at this stage with a view to igniting those canisters with some sort of explosion, but that didn't eventuate", Ashton told reporters.

Police did not identify the attacker but Ashton said the man was known to them and intelligence authorities because of family associations.

Yesterday's incident unfolded at about 4.10pm when emergency services were called to a vehicle fire in Bourke Street.

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One police officer found room to shoot the suspect and the man dropped to the floor clutching his chest. He has since been transported to the hospital under police guard and is in a critical condition.

Shire Ali had family and associates who were also known to police.

"Equally, those strangers, people who were by-standers who knew nobody involved, who stepped in without a moment's hesitation, to render support and assistance to the fearless members of the Victoria Police, they too are people whose qualities make all of us proud as well".

What did police know about him?

"This is an evil, terrifying thing that's happened in our city and state today".

"Anyone with information or who witnessed the incident is asked to go to Melbourne West Police Station to make a statement". He then engaged with members of the public at that location, " he said.

Victoria's opposition leader, Matthew Guy also denounced the attack.

"I'll never accept that violent extremism should be a way of life for a big city like Melbourne".

Mr Morrison also urged Australians not to be intimidated by yesterday's attack.

Police were called to an incident in Bourke Street, in the heart of Melbourne, after reports of smoke and a auto in flames at 4:20 p.m. local time.

Victoria police tweeted a request for witnesses to speak to police and share any images that might help the investigation.

Ms Aly said they should not "single out religions, single out communities. causing divisions where we don't need divisions to be caused".