Indian National Among 19 Injured in Melbourne Car Rampage
An Indian man was among the nine foreigners injured when a driver ploughed his car into pedestrians at Melbourne in Australia.
An Indian national was among the 19 persons injured when a driver rammed his car into pedestrians at Melbourne in Australia on Dec. 20. Nearly half of the victims were foreign nationals, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Dec. 22.
The driver of the white SUV who ploughed into pedestrians at the busy Flinders Street in the southern city has been identified as Saeed Noori, an Afghanistan-born Australian, the Australian police said. Noori, 32, is said to have a history of mental illness and is believed to have no known terrorist links.
Nine of those injured in the incident are foreigners, including a 45-year-old male Indian national, who is now in a stable condition. His identity is not known yet. The others are from China, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Korea and Venezuela, according to Australian media reports. Three of the 19 victims are critically injured. Those in a critical condition — a Melbourne man and two men from South Korea — are all aged over 60. Four of the people sent to hospital have been discharged.
The authorities have called it a “deliberate act” though the motive of the incident is not clear yet. Noori, 32, was allegedly mumbling about Allah and about Australia’s domestic spy agency ASIO after the attack. Noori was arrested and spoke to homicide detectives from his hospital bed later. “There was something to do with Allah, some ramblings about ASIO,” Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said, The Australian reported.
Patton revealed that Noori had allegedly attributed his actions to the “perceived mistreatment of Muslims.” He was discharged from hospital on Dec. 22, following which he was taken to the police custody center at Melbourne Magistrate’s Court. He will be questioned further, and has not been charged with any offences until now.
A second man, 24, was also arrested after he was seen filming the incident and was found to have a bag containing knives, Patton said, the Australian reported. No relationship, however, has been established between the two men.
Counter-terrorism experts from the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and Australian Border Force are working with Victoria Police to investigate the attack, Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said. They have not ruled out Islamic State-inspired terror attack, he added.
“We’re not ruling in or out anything at the moment,” said Dutton. “If you look at the circumstances, where people have been mowed down by this person in the car, that is a very serious circumstance. I don’t want to pre-empt anything, but we are certainly not ruling out a terrorist link and we certainly aren’t drawing any conclusions at this stage.”