Melbourne attacker's 'low-skilled' plan was fatal, but ultimately failed

1 NEWSHassan Khalif Shire Ali attacked three men with a knife in Melbourne, killing one, before lunging at police.

It has been categorised as a “low-skilled” attack because the offender was not able to access firearms or explosive devices.

As with similar attacks in Europe and Britain, the terrorists access a truck or heavy commercial vehicle and use easily attained knives to create maximum fatalities.

Anti-terror police believe Shire Ali’s plan was to use his commercial utility to hit pedestrians, and possibly smash into a shop to kill those inside.

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He had planned when setting fire to his ute to ignite three gas bottles in the rear tray, which would create a deadly explosion/fireball that would spread shrapnel at least 100 metres.

This would have created panic in the CBD before he would die at the hands of the police.

The ute bursting into flames on Bourke Street. (Inset: police tackle Hassan Khalif Shire Ali)
FAIRFAX MEDIAThe ute bursting into flames on Bourke Street. (Inset: police tackle Hassan Khalif Shire Ali)

After crashing and setting fire to his vehicle, he was able to murder Sisto Malaspina, the co-owner of the famous Melbourne restaurant, Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar.

Malaspina was about 400 metres from the restaurant when he was attacked.

“He was the closest person to the offender,” a detective said.

But Shire Ali’s plan to create a fireball failed when the gas bottles did not explode.

His plan to launch a series of knife attacks on others was thwarted because the first police arrived on the scene in less than 90 seconds.

All general police have undergone new “active offender” training to take immediate action against a potential terror target rather than wait for specialist experts to arrive.

Members of the public tried to help police take down Ali.
Members of the public tried to help police take down Ali.

No longer able to stab unarmed members of the public, he turned his attention on police and was fatally shot.

CBD anti-terror plans include having mobile police units capable of reaching anywhere in the city within minutes.

Police say there were no signs of panic during the attack, with many people standing and taking videos with their smart phones and others trying to render first aid to the fatally injured Malaspina.

Some stepped forward to take on the offender including one man using a shopping trolley as a ram.

Police call it the “9-11” response, referring to how passengers on hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 tried to take back the plane from the control of terrorists, thwarting their plans to fly into the Congress building.

“There are many people who have decided they will not be intimidated by terrorists and will take whatever actions they can,” one of the Bourke Street investigators said.

The Age