Sydney man charged over Islamic State-inspired act of terrorism

A Sydney man charged with committing a terrorist attack was inspired by the Islamic State extremist organization, local police said Sunday.

The 22-year-old man was charged after he allegedly stabbed an elderly man and then tried to attack a police officer on Saturday evening in the south-western Sydney suburb of Minto. 

The 59-year-old victim was stabbed multiple times while walking through a small park and remains in a critical condition in hospital, police said.

When a police officer arrived at the scene, the attacker, Ihsas Khan, allegedly tried to stab the officer before being arrested. A large knife was confiscated. 

A senior police officer said the attack was "planned" and "deliberate".

"This was clearly a very volatile, very violent situation that police and members of the community were confronted with," New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn told reporters in Sydney.

The accused allegedly shouted certain words at the scene, which led police to believe he was inspired by the Islamic State group.

"We know that this person has strong religious beliefs inspired by ISIS. What made him act yesterday we don't know," Burn said.

An Australian counter-terrorism team has charged him with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder.

Police said the victim and the attacker were not known to each other.

Burn also confirmed that Khan was known to police but not in connection with any terrorist group.

"He has had a couple of interactions with local police over matters where we might say his behaviour was odd or unusual...He is a person of concern," she said. 

"This really highlights the challenge - this is the new face of terrorism, this is the new face of what we have to deal with."

Australian Attorney-General George Brandis said police found material related to the terrorist organization in a search of the man's home.

On Friday, a Sydney court ordered an 18-year-old man to be hospitalized for a psychiatric assessment after he allegedly threatened an attack at the Sydney Opera House claiming he was instructed to do so by Islamic State.

The two incidents come the same week it was revealed that the Islamic State group had issued a directive for its followers to conduct "lone wolf attacks" targeting iconic attractions such as the Opera House and Bondi Beach.

"Stab them, shoot them, poison them, and run them down with your vehicles. Kill them wherever you find them," the directive said.

Last update: Sun, 11/09/2016 - 09:36

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