30-year old Somalian-born man, Hassan Shire Ali, was identified as the perpetrator of the car bomb and knife attack on Bourke Street last 9 November. Ali stabbed three men including the popular and beloved Italian restaurateur, Sisto Malaspina.
The 74-year old Malaspina died on the scene.
According to reports, Ali drove up to Bourke Street in a 4-Wheel Drive vehicle which contained gas cyclinders which were in the “open” position. Police believe Ali wanted to trigger a deadly explosion using the cylinders but somehow the plan failed.
It appeared that the frustrated Ali turned to Plan B which was to go on a stabbing spree.
To date, investigation has not yield Ali’s motive for the attack. Likewise, it is not known if Ali was planning the attack earlier.
The police were not able to subdue Ali with batons and had to eventually shoot him. Ali died from his gunshot wounds.
Meanwhile, the Islamic terror group ISIS immediately took responsibility for the attack. The terror group’s website Amaq issued the following statement:
“The one who executed the ramming and stabbing operation in Melbourne is one of the fighters of the Islamic State and he executed the operation in response to a call to target the citizens of the coalition.”
Ian McCartney who is the Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police told reporters that Ali was found to have embraced radical and extremist views.
Although Ali was a person-of-interest, McCartney clarified that he was not assessed to be a threat:
“The assessment was that person was not a threat at that time. Obviously, a focus on the investigation will be how and why and when and where he moved along the path of radicalisation.”
There have been conflicting reports from witnesses who told police that Ali was screaming “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton appealed with Australians to come together and close a “black spot” created in the country by Ali’s terror attack:
“There is a real black spot for us, and that is a vulnerability. It is even more difficult today than it was five or 10 years ago to try to deal with some of these cases.
“The police can’t contemplate every circumstance. Where you have someone who is buying chemicals, importing or purchasing online different items that might be precursors to make up an explosive device, you would expect there to be intelligence around that activity.
“Where you have someone who picks up a kitchen knife and grabs a couple of gas bottles and drives into the CBD, these are very difficult circumstances to stop.”