MELBOURNE, Australia - A Somali-born attacker launched a shocking stabbing rampage in broad day light in Australia's second-largest city, after setting fire to a pickup truck laden with gas cylinders.
The incident, which occurred in the busy Bourke Street, in the centre of Melbourne on Friday, saw the attacker brutally stabbing three people and leaving one of them dead.
The attack, which took place on the busy shopping street in central Melbourne just before the evening rush hour, led to a massive security operation and the attacker was eventually shot dead by the police.
The police in Melbourne declared that they were investigating the stabbing rampage as an act of terrorism.
Melbourne police said they were responding to reports of a burning vehicle and later learnt the the attacker had set fire to the truck carrying barbecue gas cylinders, before stabbing bystanders and attacking the police.
Responding officers revealed that the cylinders did not explode and that emergency services were able to put out the fire in ten minutes.
The footage of the entire incident was posted on Twitter and later broadcast on local television channels.
Videos showed the man swinging a knife at two police officers as the truck he set fire to, burned in the background.
The man was then seen being shot in the chest by one of the responding officers, after which he clutched his chest and collapsed to the ground.
Meanwhile, addressing reporters following the attack, Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said, “We are still trying to piece together whether the vehicle was lit then he got out the car or whether he got out the car and then the vehicle took flame."
Videos posted on the social media also showed victims of the stabbing attack lying on the ground, nearby where the attacker was shot.
The Victoria Police Commissioner confirmed in a statement to reporters that the attacker died in hospital.
The police also said that one of his victims too succumbed to his injuries after being hospitalized.
Two other men, who were stabbed by the attacker remained in the hospital and officials said that one of them had suffered a head injury, while the other suffered a neck injury.
Speaking about the attacker, Ashton said, “From what we know of that individual, we are treating this as a terrorism incident."
Ashton has stated that all the victims were men, but the Commissioner has not released any information identifying the attacker or his victims.
However, the top cop has stated that the attacker was known to them and intelligence authorities because of family associations.
Following the shocking incident in broad daylight, the Islamic State Militant Group (ISIS) claimed the attack through its propaganda wing.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremists online, confirmed the claim made by ISIS but said that the terror organization didn't offer any evidence.
However, the Victoria police have declined to comment on the unsubstantiated claim by the militant group.
In a statement released on Twitter, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said, "Australia will never be intimidated by these appalling attacks.”
Later in the day, the Victoria Police Commissioner declared that there was no longer a threat to the public.
He, however, added that security was now being boosted at horse races and Remembrance Day memorials over the weekend.