Melbourne terror attack suspect shot dead

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A man who set a car on fire and stabbed three people – one fatally – in the Australian city of Melbourne has died in hospital after being shot by police.

Authorities now say they are treating the attack as a terror-related.

The attacker, 31, was shot after confronting officers on a busy city street, authorities said. He was taken into custody in a critical condition.

The two survivors are in hospital, neither are in a serious condition. The suspect has not been named.

Police said they were “not looking for anyone further at this early stage”.

“We don’t believe there is an ongoing threat at this stage, but certainly we are treating it as a terrorism incident,” said Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.

He said the suspect, who is of Somali origin, was “someone that is known” to both local police and federal intelligence, adding it was “mainly in respect to relatives” who are “certainly persons of interest to us”.

The Islamic State (IS) group said on Friday that one of its “fighters” was behind the attack, its Amaq news agency reported.

Officers were initially called to reports of a car fire near Bourke Street, a busy thoroughfare, at about 16:20 local time (05:20 GMT), just before the evening rush hour.

Police later discovered that the vehicle was packed with “barbecue-style” gas cylinders. Footage circulating on social media shows the vehicle crashed into shop fronts, engulfed by flames.

However, the cylinders did not explode, police said.

“As they got out of the car, they were confronted by a male brandishing a knife and threatening them,” Supt David Clayton said at a news conference.

“At the same time, passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed.”

Other footage shared on Twitter shows at least two police officers confronting the man, who is brandishing a large knife. At one point, what appears to be a member of the public tries to help, using a shopping trolley to push the assailant back.

None of the three men reportedly stabbed at the scene have been officially named.

However Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said on Twitter that local businessman Rod Patterson was among those attacked.

“A nicer bloke you wouldn’t meet,” Mr Hodgman tweeted. “It’s not surprising he would step in to help others. We all wish him well.”

According to Victoria Police, a 26-year-old and 58-year-old were both taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A police officer was also treated at the scene