Australia PM Declares Melbourne Siege an 'Act of Terrorism'

Australian police Tuesday said they were treating a deadly shooting and siege in Melbourne as a terrorist incident after the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

A suspected terrorist who killed a man and took a woman hostage in an up-market suburb of Melbourne late Monday had arranged to meet her through an escort service.

Once the woman arrived at the address, Khayre killed the building's 36-year-old Chinese-Australian concierge and took her hostage.

After police tried to negotiate with Khayre, officers stormed the building and shot the gunman dead.

On Tuesday, the ISIS-linked news outlet Amaq reported that the Middle Eastern terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and called the gunman a "soldier" of the group.

Khayre also spent 16 months on remand before being acquitted of the 2009 Holsworthy army barracks terror plot in Sydney. The police raided a home where Khayre lived with his mother and initial reports show that he likely acted alone.

An Australian policewoman directs traffic near emergency services vehicles near the site of where a gunman was shot dead after holding a woman hostage in Melbourne, Australia June 5, 2017.

'But he's also made statements last night around (rival organisation) al-Qaeda'.

A bomb squad member suits up ahead of entering a residential building in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Brighton on Monday

Three police officers were wounded.

Khayre, whose parents were refugees from Somalia, had a long criminal history involving robbery, violence and drugs.

The Somalian-born man, 29, had served jail time over a violent burglary in 2012 and was on parole at the time of Monday's siege, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

A man who was killed by a gunman in a Melbourne siege being investigated as a terrorism incident has been identified.

"We're always concerned about copy cats", Australia's acting police commissioner Michael Phelan said, according to NBC. "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.

"Terrorism is one line of inquiry", Dept Comm Crisp said, adding that counter-terrorism police and the police crime unit were investigating.

The news outlet also disclosed that Amaq, the press arm of ISIS, claimed that "the attack was launched because of Australia's membership of a US -led coalition fighting against the militants in Syria and Iraq".

Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull told reporters: "There have been too many cases of people on parole committing violent offences of this kind".

  • Leroy Wright