The Melbourne Police on Monday shot dead a man who was holding a woman hostage after killing the receptionist of his building, reported Reuters. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the police were treating the siege as a “terrorist attack”.
Islamic State group’s Amaq news agency claimed responsibility for the incident, saying the gunman was one of its fighters. It said the attack was carried out “in response to appeals to target citizens of coalition states”.
Yacqub Khayre, an Australian of Somali heritage, had a criminal history and had been acquitted of conspiring an attack on an army base in Sydney in 2009. He had been recently released on parole.
On Monday, Khayre had arranged to meet the woman at his apartment in Brighton through an escort service before taking her hostage, reported BBC. The police arrived at the spot after they responded to reports of gunshot in the building. They found the receptionist’s body in the foyer upon arrival. “Subsequently, he [Khayre] came out of the apartment with a shotgun and commenced to fire at police at the entry-way to the apartments,” Graham Ashton, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, told AFP.
Khayre was killed during a gunfire exchange. Three policemen were hurt in the crossfire, and the woman escaped unhurt.
Prime Minister Turnbull described the attack as “shocking” and a “cowardly crime”. “It underlines the need for us to be constantly vigilant, never to be deterred, always defiant, in the face of Islamist terrorism,” he added. He also raised concern over granting parole to Khayre. “How was this man on parole?” he said, according to BBC. “These are important issues and Australians need to be assured that people who are a threat to their safety are not being released on parole.”