‘Terror suspect’ on radar for months
AUTHORITIES have revealed "known terror suspect" Numan Haider, who was shot dead after attacking two police officers with a knife in Victoria, had his passport confiscated as part of a counter-terrorism sweep.
Police have confirmed they were investigating whether the Narre Warren teen, 18, had unfurled an Islamic State flag at a shopping centre in the lead-up to the shooting but say there was no known terror plot.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said he did not believe the attack was linked to an Islamic State video, released on the weekend, calling on followers to rise up against law enforcement agencies and launch terrorist attacks in their home countries such as Australia.
He said police became concerned when they came into contact with the Afghani teen three months ago but there was an escalation resulting in counter terrorism police asking him to go to the Endeavour Hills station, in Melbourne's south-east, for a meeting on Tuesday night.
"Late last week we learned of some behaviours that caused us significant concern and our interest was greatly heightened," he told media.
Mr Lay would not confirm whether Mr Haider made a threat against the Prime Minister as had been widely reported.
Mr Haider, who took knives to the meeting, stabbed a Victoria Police officer and an Australian Federal Police member investigating him over allegations about an Islamic flag and inflammatory remarks on social media.
Both officers required surgery for their injuries.
Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the "brave" Victorian officer acted in self-defence against a "known terror suspect" who was a person of interest to law enforcement and intelligence agencies
"He came of his own volition ... he has then carried out an unprovoked attack on the officer about 7.45pm," he said.
"While this is a horrible incident we do need to remain calm and go about our daily lives."
Victorian Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius, speaking at the scene on the night, said officers had no inkling Mr Haider posed a threat to them, believing there would be "an amicable discussion about that individual's behaviour".
He said police believed the man was acting on his own and not with other individuals.
The Islamic Council of Victoria has issued a statement calling for an investigation into the incident.
"The tragedy highlights the real cost of a failure to deal with these serious issues and why we have made numerous calls on the Australian Government to deal with the root causes of alienation and disaffection of people such as this," the statement read.
"This is not about laying blame but about a genuine need to identify the root causes and deal with them so that no further tragedies such as this occur again."
- APN NEWSDESK