Australian Police Kill ‘Known Terror Suspect’

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Australian police have shot and killed a “known terror suspect” after he stabbed two officers outside a police station in Melbourne.

The 18-year-old attacked the officers with a knife late Tuesday while being questioned over behavior authorities found concerning.

Police say one of the officers returned fire in self-defense, killing the teenager. The two police officers are now in stable condition.

The incident comes as Australia is on alert for possible attacks by those inspired by the Islamic State extremist group.

It is not clear if the individual was acting on his own or was linked to the group, which this week threatened to kill Australian citizens.

Australian Federal Police Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin said authorities had been monitoring the suspect’s activities.

“He is someone who’s been known to us for some time. He’s had his passport canceled on security grounds. He’s of interest to police and intelligence agencies. I think it’s fair to say he is a person of interest for national security reasons,” said Colvin.

Local media reported the teenager had recently been seen with an Islamic State flag. Authorities said they are looking into those reports.

The 18-year-old, named in parliament as Abdul Numan Haider, was asked to attend a police station in the southern state of Victoria on Tuesday night because his behavior was “causing concern”, police said.

“This was a planned and agreed meeting that was to occur at the Endeavor Hills police station. When these two police officers approached him, they were stabbed, one very seriously,” Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay told reporters on Wednesday. “One of the injured police discharged his firearm, fatally wounding the 18-year-old.”

Local media reported he was of Afghan origin and that he had been shouting insults about Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the government before he was shot. The Australian Broadcasting Corp said Haider had links to al-Furqan, a radical Muslim group in Melbourne that was raided by authorities in 2012.

“I can advise that the person in question was a known terror suspect who was a person of interest to law enforcement and intelligence agencies,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan told reporters.

Earlier this week, Abbott warned Australians the balance between freedom and security “may have to shift”, as he outlined broad new powers to crack down on suspected militant activity.

“Obviously, this indicates that there are people in our community who are capable of very extreme acts,” Abbott said from Hawaii, where he was en route to New York for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council which is expected to address the issue of foreign fighters.

The Islamic Council of Victoria, a leading Muslim group, called on the government to deal with “the root causes of alienation and disaffection”, while the president of the Lebanese Muslim Association said threats had been made.

“Right-wing extremists – I don’t want to give them the liberty of mentioning their names – but they have made a certain amount of threats not just of attacking mosques, but bombing mosques,” Samier Dandan told reporters.

The Islamic State group this week urged the indiscriminate killing of citizens in Australia, Canada, France and others in the global coalition against the jihadists.

Australia has agreed to send at least 600 soldiers and 10 aircraft to help in the U.S.-led coalition against the group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.

Last week, Australian police conducted a massive anti-terrorism raid, which authorities said was prompted by an Islamic State figure who ordered “demonstration” killings in Australia.

The government estimates around 60 Australians are fighting with the Islamic State group and that another 100 people are supporting the Sunni Muslim group from Australia.

The jihadist group has declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, where it has slaughtered ethnic and religious minorities and carried out videotaped beheadings of several foreigners.

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