Melbourne gunman named as terror suspect Yacqub Khayre

The Monday siege began when the suspect - 29-year-old Somali-born Australian Yacub Khayre -solicited the services of a prostitute and asked her to meet him at an apartment block to the city's south.

Australian police say a shootout in which two men died, three police officers were wounded and a female hostage was freed is being treated as a terror attack.

'There have been too many cases of people on parole committing violent offences of this kind, ' the prime minister told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.

Khayre had been known to security forces for nearly a decade and had been cleared of involvement in a plot to attack an army barracks in Sydney in 2009, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police Graham Ashton told reporters.

Meanwhile, the bomb disposal squad and forensics police today searched the scene of the siege in Brighton suburb of Melbourne while officers were raiding the home of the gunman who killed one man Monday.

Authorities were called to Buckingham Serviced Apartments on Bay Street about 4pm yesterday where they found a man's body (killed by gunfire) in the foyer.

The gunman was shot dead by police, ending the siege which lasted more than an hour.

Khayre spoke about al-Qaida in phone calls to police and to Seven Network television, and Ashton said the gunman possibly had plotted to lure police into an ambush.

He questioned why Khayre was released on parole, given his extensive criminal history and links with terror.

Since November, Khayre had been on parole after serving jail time for a violent 2012 home invasion.

"We're treating this as a terrorism incident", Ashton said.

He first came to the attention of counter-terrorism police in 2009, when he was one of five men accused of plotting an attack on Sydney's Holsworthy Army base to kill soldiers.

Ashton said the investigation into whether the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) group was involved was ongoing, saying IS "always tend to jump up and claim responsibility every time something happens".

Khayre then called police to say he had a hostage in an apartment and made threats to her if police intervened.

Police did not regard ISIS' claim of responsibility for the Melbourne violence as evidence that it was planned.

"We're not seeing anything indicating that he has got some message from overseas to do this at all but, again, early days", said Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton. Another hostage was killed by fragments of a bullet fired by police who stormed the cafe and killed the gunman.

"I hung around for a while and I heard gunshots, about 10 shots, and we got told it was a hostage situation", local resident Will Reid told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

  • Leroy Wright