Police explore possible terror link in Melbourne car ramming



Australian police are investigating the motive of a man who rammed a car into a crowd of pedestrians in Melbourne, injuring 19 people — including nine foreigners.


Victoria state police Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said Thursday police are exploring a possible link to terrorism after the suspect rambled about injustice toward Muslims.


The car’s driver, 32-year-old Saeed Noori, is an Australian citizen of Afghan descent, with a history of drug use and mental health issues.


He is believed to have acted alone in the isolated incident.

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Patton said Friday that Noori babbled about the poor treatment of Muslims under police watch in a hospital Thursday evening.


“He made some utterances in respect to a number of matters,” Patton told Australia’s Channel Nine television network. “He spoke of dreams and voices but also attributed some of his activities as well due to the mistreatment of Muslims.”

Saeed Noori, 32, was arrested after driving into a crowd of pedestrians outside the Flinders Street train station in Melbourne, Australia.

Saeed Noori, 32, was arrested after driving into a crowd of pedestrians outside the Flinders Street train station in Melbourne, Australia.

(abc.net.au)


Patton said authorities have yet to connect Noori to any extremist links.


“We haven’t identified him linked to any groups. We haven’t identified anyone inciting him to do any actions, or any prior extremist activities prior to those utterances last night,” he said.

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Seven of the 19 people who were hospitalized were released overnight. Three patients are in critical condition, according to Australian media reports.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull echoed Patton’s statement.


He said “no terrorism link has been identified” but reiterated that “nothing should be ruled out.”


“This was a despicable and cowardly act,” Turnbull said.

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He urged Australians not to be fearful of subsequent attacks.


“But I want to reassure Australians that this is an isolated incident. We should continue to go about our daily lives the way we always do.”

Noori ploughed a white SUV into a crowd in Australia's second-largest city in what police said was a "deliberate act."

Noori ploughed a white SUV into a crowd in Australia’s second-largest city in what police said was a “deliberate act.”

(MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP/Getty Images)


Noori, an Afghan refugee who went to Australia “through normal refugee programs,” according to Turnbull, drove a white SUV through a red light Thursday and sped into pedestrians crossing a busy street in central Melbourne. He then crashed into a traffic barrier.


Noori is expected to undergo psychiatric assessment and to be interviewed by police Friday afternoon.

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Police arrested another man, 24, who was seen filming the incident and had three knives on his person.


He’s since been released and has not been linked to the car ramming.

Tags:
terrorism
melbourne
australia
religion
car crashes

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