SYDNEY (AFP) – A man “inspired by” the Islamic State group was on Sunday charged with committing an act of terror over a stabbing attack that Australian police called the “new face of terrorism”.
The alleged stabbing by the 22-year-old in Sydney came two days after a teenage boy was charged with making threats at the Sydney Opera House, and both incidents followed an IS call to target high-profile Australian sites.
The young man was charged with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder after the alleged attack on a 59-year-old man in the southwest Sydney suburb of Minto Saturday.
“We know that this person has strong extremist beliefs inspired by ISIS (Islamic State),” New South Wales state police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn told reporters in Sydney, adding that investigators had seized a “large knife”.
The stabbing left the victim, whom police believe did not know his attacker, with serious wounds to his hands and body. He remains in hospital in a serious condition.
“What made him actually act yesterday, we don’t know. But hopefully, our further investigations will uncover that. It was deliberate. It was violent.”
Burn added that when police were called to a road in Minto where the victim was, the young man allegedly tried to stab officers through a window.
The man, who is due in court Sunday, was not believed to be connected to any terrorist groups known to police, Burn said, but stressed that the type of threat he posed was a new challenge to authorities.
“This is the new face of terrorism. This is the new face of what we deal with,” Burn said.
“There is an individual who, known to police for some matters, decides or for whatever reason, becomes inspired to act; they are able to get some basic capability and act.
“I think that there was concerning information about his behaviour… but not somebody that we would say is somebody who is front and centre in our work at the moment.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last week said the threat of a terror attack in the nation was “real” after IS’ call to followers to target prominent Australian locations.
Officials say they have stopped 10 terror attacks in Australia in the past two years.