A terror suspect shot dead by Australian police after stabbing two officers in a frenzied knife attack may not have been acting alone, officials said Thursday, escalating concerns about the threat posed by radicalised youth.
Abdul Numan Haider, 18, was killed on Tuesday evening on the outskirts of Melbourne, a day after the Islamic State group called for Muslims to indiscriminately kill Australians.
The teenager, described by the government as a “known terror suspect” who had his passport cancelled for security reasons, launched an unprovoked attack on the policemen outside their station after arriving for a “routine” interview.
One of them fired a single shot that killed him.
Police on Wednesday said they believed he was acting alone but Victoria state police chief Ken Lay admitted they were now looking into reports that Haider was talking to other people in the lead-up to the attack.
“There is some information that he was certainly talking to other people around the time that he came to the police station,” he told ABC radio.
“(They) may well have known him. I won`t say working with him, but it`s just a little unclear to us at the moment whether there was actually people at the police station with him.”
He said police were examining whether someone may have been waiting for him.
“It may be a little way down the track before we can actually lay it out to the community exactly what happened that night,” Lay added.The update in the investigation came as the Australian Defence Force said Thursday its servicemen were told to “exercise commonsense and judgement” when wearing their uniforms in public after a 41-year-old officer reported an alleged assault in Sydney to police.
A New South Wales police spokesman told the officer reported he was “threatened and assaulted” by two men Thursday morning while wearing his uniform and suffered “minor bruising”.