The terror suspect shot dead by police in Melbourne may not have been acting alone, according to Victoria’s police chief.
Numan Haider attacked two officers with a knife outside the Endeavour Hills police station on Tuesday. The 18 year old man was shot dead by one of the officers.
Victoria’s Chief Commissioner Ken Lay says police now believe Haider had “face-to-face” contact with several other people shortly before he met and stabbed the two officers.
“He was certainly talking to other people around the time he came to the police station,” Mr Lay told ABC radio on Thursday.
“It’s really unclear as to whether at the time or just before he had other people with him or not, but it’s certainly something we’re pursuing.”
Mr Lay said police were “quietly and methodically” working through the evidence and were investigating the possibility that others had dropped Haider off at the station ahead of the attack.
Numan Haider died after repeatedly stabbing an Australian Federal Police officer and the Victoria Police senior constable who fired the fatal shot.
Mr Lay said police searched the Haider’s bedroom at his parents’ house in the Melbourne suburb of Narre Waren house earlier on Tuesday. The officers had then arranged to meet the teenage man later that evening to discuss his suspected Islamic radicalisation.
It has emerged that Haider had his passport cancelled earlier this month and was also seen at a Melbourne shopping centre, unfurling a flag related to the Islamic State (Isis/Isil) militant jihadist organisation which has proclaimed a caliphate over large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
Mr Lay, however, dismissed police fears that the teenager was planning to behead the officers when he stabbed them.
Haider had an Islamic flag and two knives in his possession at the time of the attack but Mr Lay played down suggestions the man’s aim was to behead the officers.
“There is nothing, absolutely nothing to suggest that was the intention,” Mr Lay said. “It’s not helpful to be making these great leaps based on speculation.”
Meanwhile, Victoria’s premier, Denis Napthine, said Haider’s actions only represented his own beliefs, not those of the Australian Muslim community
“It’s not the time to divide communities, it’s not the time to pit one against the other, because that will increase tension and increase the risk,” Dr Napthine told Channel Nine.
“We work best when we work together,” he added.
On Wednesday, Australia’s prime minister, Tony Abbott, mentioned Haider’s attack on the policemen in a speech given to the UN Security Council about the Islamic State threat.
IMAGE: Terror suspect Numan Haider poses with an Islamic flag. The 18 year old Melbourne man was shot dead this week when he attacked two policemen with a knife. (Photo via Facebook)