Australia ‘terror suspect’ could be part of a group
The suspected ISIS member Abdul Numan Haider, who was killed Tuesday, may not have been acting alone, officials say
A terror suspect shot dead by Australian police after stabbing two officers in a frenzied knife attack may not have been acting alone, Reuters reported officials as saying Thursday, escalating concerns about the threat posed by radicalized youth.
Abdul Numan Haider, 18, was killed on Tuesday evening on the outskirts of Melbourne, a day after ISIS called for Muslims to indiscriminately kill Australians.
The teenager, described by the government as a “known terror suspect” who had his passport cancelled for security reasons, launched an unprovoked attack on the policemen outside their station after arriving for a “routine” interview.
One of them fired a single shot that killed him.
Police on Wednesday said they believed he was acting alone but Victoria state police chief Ken Lay admitted they were now looking into reports that Haider was talking to other people in the lead-up to the attack.
“There is some information that he was certainly talking to other people around the time that he came to the police station,” he told ABC radio.
“(They) may well have known him. I won’t say working with him, but it’s just a little unclear to us at the moment whether there was actually people at the police station with him.”
He said police were examining whether someone may have been waiting for him.
“It may be a little way down the track before we can actually lay it out to the community exactly what happened that night,” Lay added.
Reports on Wednesday said Haider, who was under surveillance, had an ISIS flag with him and planned to behead the officers and post the images online, although police would not confirm this.
In a related story, an Australian Defense Force member was attacked by two men “of Middle Eastern appearance” in Sydney on Thursday, police said, Agence France-Presse reported.
The officer, who was in uniform, was approached by two men who threatened and assaulted him, a New South Wales police spokesman said. He suffered minor bruising and reported the matter to police.
Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its escalating action against ISIS, is on high alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East.
Prominent Australian Muslims say their community is being unfairly targeted by law enforcement and threatened by right-wing groups, as the government's tough policies aimed at combating radical Islamists threaten to create a backlash.