Australian police shoot dead teen after stabbing attack that has ‘hallmarks of terrorism’

Police say boy was participating in programme for young people at risk of radicalisation

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Sunday 05 May 2024 10:46 BST
FILE: Australian prime minister lays flowers outside scene of Sydney stabbings

Police in Australia shot dead a knife-wielding teenager after he stabbed a man in the west coast city of Perth.

The 16-year-old attacked the victim in the parking lot of a hardware store in suburban Willetton and then rushed at police officers before being shot on Saturday night, Western Australian premier Roger Cook said.

The boy had been radicalised online, the authorities said, adding they received calls from concerned members of the local Muslim community before the attack.

Police said the attack had "hallmarks" of terrorism but was yet to be declared a terrorist act. "But I want to reassure the community at this stage it appears that he acted solely and alone," Mr Cook added.

The victim, a man in his 30s, was found at the scene with a stab wound to his back. He was taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition, a police statement said.

Police received an emergency phone call after 10pm (local time) from a teenager saying he was going to commit acts of violence, Western Australian police commissioner Col Blanch said.

The boy had been participating in a programme for young people at risk of radicalisation, he added.

"I don't want to say he has been radicalised or is radicalised because I think that forms part of the investigation," he said.

Police said they were later alerted by a phone call from a member of the public that a knife attack was underway in the parking lot. Three police officers responded, one armed with a gun and two with conducted energy devices.

Mr Blanch said members of the local Muslim community had raised concerns with police about the teen’s behaviour.

Prime minister Anthony Albanese said he had been briefed on the latest stabbing in Perth. "I'm advised there is no ongoing threat to the community on the information available," Mr Albanese said.

"We are a peace-loving nation and there is no place for violent extremism in Australia," he added.

The Imam of Perth's largest mosque, the Nasir Mosque, condemned the stabbing. "There is no place for violence in Islam," Imam Syed Wadood Janud said.

"We appreciate the effort of the police to keep our communities safe. I also want to commend the local Muslim community who had flagged the individual prior with the police," he added.

The incident comes after New South Wales police last month charged several boys with terrorism-related offences in investigations following the stabbing of an Assyrian Christian bishop while he was giving a live-streamed sermon in Sydney on April 15.

The attack on the bishop came only days after a stabbing spree killed six in the Sydney beachside suburb of Bondi.

Additional reporting by agencies.

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