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Police shoots man after stabbing spree in Melbourne

Police shoots man after stabbing spree in Melbourne

Australian police say a pickup truck that caught fire in the country's second-largest city contained several barbeque gas cylinders and was part of an apparent terrorist attack.

'Officers were confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them, ' Superintendent David Clayton said. He was shot as he tried to stab two officers and died later in Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Bourke Street reopened on Saturday morning, and a Reuters reporter said there was an increased police presence in the area.

Witnesses said the attacker stabbed the victim, believed to be aged in his 60s, in the face.

The incident occurred at about 4:00 p.m. local time, when emergency services responded to reports of a vehicle fire on Bourke Street in the Victoria state capital's central business district, according to a police statement late Friday.

Police called the rampage an act of terrorism, while the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

"As they got out of the auto they were confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them". Though the erratic gunman demanded that police deliver him an Islamic State flag at the outset of the crisis, there was no evidence he had established contact with the militant group.

The man's business partner identified him as Sisto Malaspina, co-owner of Pellegrini's cafe, a Melbourne institution credited with forging the city's famous coffee culture.

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The man, who was known to state police and federal intelligence authorities by way of his family associations, was taken to hospital in a critical condition but has since died, police said. "We are keeping an open mind".

Witnesses described a chaotic scene with an injured pedestrian lying on the ground, and numerous police cars and helicopters flying overhead.

'The exact circumstances are yet to be determined at this stage.

Authorities say they do not perceive any ongoing threat.

Another said they heard "what sounded like a bomb and gun shot". "Police are now at an incident on Bourke St in the CBD".

The area was locked down with the public shooed away and stores including Myer, Target, and David Jones evacuated and the bomb squad called in to assess the auto. "We're saying it was more from an inspirational perspective", McCartney said.

Friday's attack is a double blow for the city as it coincides with an ongoing murder trial of 28-year-old James Gargasoulas, accused of ploughing his vehicle into crowds in the same area in 2017, killing six people.