The full extent of the Bourke Street jihadi Hassan Khalif Shire Ali’s botched attack in the heart of Melbourne has been revealed.
Ali, 30, crashed his car on the busy shopping street before setting it on fire, knifing bystanders – one fatally – and slashing at the two officers who tried to stop him at around 4.20pm on Friday.
But his real plan was far more deadly.
Inspired by ISIS attacks in Europe, Ali wanted to ram pedestrians with his truck, potentially striking a packed shop or cafe, before igniting gas canisters in the back of the vehicle.
The resulting fireball could have flung shrapnel 100 metres across Bourke Street, killing and maiming dozens of people.
Bourke Street Jihadi terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali botched an attempt to ignite the gas canisters inside his utility vehicle (left) during a terrifying attack on the popular Melbourne street
Ali, 30, (left) crashed his car on the busy shopping street before setting it on fire, knifing bystanders – one fatally – and slashing at the two officers who tried to stop him at around 4.20pm on Friday
But Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton described the cylinders as ‘unsophisticated’ in a press conference on Saturday morning.
He did say though it looked like there had been some attempt to light a fire as the canisters had been ‘turned to open’.
According to The Age, anti-terror police believe Ali had planned to set fire to three gas cylinders in the ute’s rear tray.
One witness said he was ‘terrified’ after seeing a body covered in a white sheet on the footpath
A man caught a birds eye view of the explosion, recording the car bursting into flames from his bedroom window
Officers arrived within 90 seconds, foiling Ali’s other plan of knifing many more people to death.
Police have also credited the ‘9-11’ public response – so named after those on board United Airlines Flight 93 who vainly fought to take back control of the plane from terrorists – for keeping a sense of calm during Friday’s attacks.
An investigator told The Age: ‘There are many people who have decided they will not be intimidated by terrorists and will take whatever actions they can.’
The two police officers who bravely challenged knife-wielding Bourke Street terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali were both rookie members of the force.
One of the officers eventually shot him in the chest. He later died of his wounds in Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Today it emerged that the officer who fired the bullet had only graduated from police academy three months ago.
At the same press conference on Saturday morning commissioner Ashton said both members were ‘reasonably new’.
He said: ‘The member that fired was only three months out of the academy and has family members in the Victorian police force.’
The commissioner also praised his officers composure in the situation.
The two police officers who bravely challenged knife-wielding Bourke Street terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali were both rookie members of the force
He said: ‘I continue to be proud of all our members’ efforts. They had seconds to react and they did so very bravely.’
Chief Commissioner Ashton defended accusations his officers had taken too long to subdue the assailant.
A witness who came out of KFC to see the commotion told ABC after the attack it looked ‘like police officers didn’t know how to handle the situation’.
The shrapnel from the cylinders in the car would have flown 100 metres in a deadly fireball, it is believed
Video shot from the scene showed the frenzied attack that carried on for more than a minute, beginning with Ali charging at two police officers, punching one through a vehicle window and lunging at them with a knife.
Ali chased the officers around a tree as they tried to avoid his blows and convince him to surrender.
A brave bystander also tried to stop the attack by running him down with a shopping trolley.
The officers retreated to the other side of the road as the bearded attacker, who had a shaved head and was dressed in a long brown tunic, pursued them.
Horrified bystanders begged police to shoot him.
Ali again attempted to stab and slash at the officers several times before one policeman tried to taser him unsuccessfully.
His partner then shot the assailant in the chest.
The knifeman clutched his chest and and fell to the ground where he was quickly arrested by two plain-clothed officers. He rushed to hospital under police guard, where he later died on the operating table.
Meanwhile, it has emerged Ali was known to Australian counter-terror agencies and had links to north African extremist groups.
He had his passport was cancelled in 2015 after he was flagged as one of 300 potential security risks.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed it was taken off him after it was decided by intelligence officers he planned to travel to Syria.