2018 Melbourne stabbing attack

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2018 Melbourne stabbing attack
LocationBourke Street, Melbourne, Australia
Date9 November 2018 (2018-11-09)
4:20 pm (AEDT)
Attack type
Deaths2 (including the attacker)
PerpetratorHassan Khalif Shire Ali
MotiveInspired by the Islamic state

On 9 November 2018, one male attacker, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, set his car on fire and stabbed three people at Bourke Street in the Melbourne city centre, Australia, before being fatally shot by Victoria Police.[1][2] Of the three victims stabbed by Ali, one of the stabbed victims died at the scene while the other two were treated by paramedics and taken to hospital. On 10 November, the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that the attack was "an act of terror" and is being treated as such by counter-terrorism police from both the Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police. Police also confirmed that the attack was Islamic State-inspired.[3]


On 9 November 2018, at around 4:20 pm, a man set fire to a Holden Rodeo ute on Bourke Street between Swanston Street and Russell Street, at Melbourne city centre. The attacker emerged from the vehicle before it burst into flames. Police stated that there were propane gas cylinders in the vehicle, but they did not explode.[4]

Bourke Street, near the location of the attack

The man then went on a stabbing spree with a large knife and wounded three pedestrians, one of whom was later pronounced dead at the scene. The attacker was then confronted by two Victoria Police patrol officers who arrived at the scene. A member of the public also attempted to ram a shopping trolley into the attacker.[5] After slashing at the police officers, the attacker was shot once in the chest by one of the officers. The attacker was then disarmed and restrained by Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) members utilsing less lethal tactics before being taken to receive medical treatment under guard, but later died in hospital.[6]

On 10 November, the day following the attack, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that "what we saw yesterday was an act of terror." The Guardian has described that he has expressed confidence in the Victoria Police to ensure the safety of Melbourne.[7] Officers from both the Victoria Police and from the Australian Federal Police were involved in a counter-terrorism investigation.[8]


Police identified the attacker as 30-year-old Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who moved to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s with his parents and siblings and attended Al-Taqwa Islamic College. He was married with a young son.[9]

The Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, Graham Ashton, told the media that the attacker was known to federal intelligence agencies but was not actively monitored.[10] The Australian Federal Police's acting national manager of counter-terrorism said Hassan's passport was cancelled in 2015 when ASIO believed he was planning to travel to Syria to fight for the ISIL terrorist group,[11] but he was never a target of joint counter-terrorism taskforce investigations as they did not believe he was a threat.[12][13] Relatives and acquaintances have described Hassan as having mental health and substance abuse issues, being delusional and agitated prior to the attack, and complaining of "being chased by unseen people with spears."[14]

Hassan's 21-year-old younger brother, Ali Khalif Shire Ali, was arrested in November 2017 for planning to commit a mass shooting at Melbourne's New Year's Eve celebration.[15][16] Ali Khalif pled guilty to preparing a terrorist attack and in May 2020 he was sentenced to ten years jail, with a seven and a half years non-parole period.[17]


Sisto Malaspina, aged 74, was killed when the perpetrator stabbed him above his collar bone. Eyewitnesses said it appeared Malaspina was walking over to the car after it burst into flames to offer assistance when he was stabbed. A former nurse tried to revive him by performing CPR, but the knife had severed a major artery resulting in exsanguination (death due to traumatic blood loss).[18] Malaspina was the co-owner of Pellegrini's Espresso Bar, a nearby Italian coffee bar. Flowers, messages and photos have been laid in front of the shop as a tribute.[19]

Those injured were a 58-year-old retired businessman from Launceston, Tasmania,[20] who suffered knife injuries to the head and was taken to the Alfred Hospital for surgery[21] and a 24-year-old security guard from Hampton Park who received lacerations and was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital after being assessed by Ambulance Victoria paramedics.[22]


On 12 November, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who described Sisto Malaspina as a "Victorian icon", announced that Malaspina's family had accepted his offer of a state funeral.[23] The City of Melbourne also confirmed it was considering suggestions to rename Crossley Lane, which corners Pellegrini's in honour of Malaspina, telling The Age that "In the coming weeks, the City of Melbourne will consider a range of measures to recognise the life of Sisto Malaspina."[23]

Following the incident, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made remarks on national television suggesting that Muslim communities in Australia were responsible for the attack, citing their apparent failing to report extremism.[24] The Australian Muslim community responded critically to Morrison's comments. Shiek Mohammed Omran, who runs an Islamic youth centre that Ali visited, replied citing the failure of Australian security agencies, who were aware of the man, for preventing the attack.[25] The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, also responding that Morrison's statement constituted "serious discrimination" against Muslim Australians. The Mufti too pointed out the inaction of security agencies in preventing the attack.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Melbourne attack: Man shot dead after fire and fatal stabbing". BBC News. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  2. ^ Davey, Melissa (9 November 2018). "One confirmed dead - Police confirm assailant dead after attack – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  3. ^ Henriques-Gomes, Luke (10 November 2018). "Melbourne CBD terror attack a 'wake-up call', Australian police say". the Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  4. ^ Albeck-Ripka, Livia (9 November 2018). "Melbourne Stabbing Spree Leaves Two Dead, Including Attacker". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  5. ^ Wyatt, Tim (9 November 2018). "Isis claims responsibility for Melbourne stabbing rampage". The Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  6. ^ "One person dead after stabbing in Melbourne CBD, man shot by police". news.com.au. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  7. ^ Henriques-Gomes, Luke (10 November 2018). "Andrews' Press Conference - Bourke Street attack: police say Melbourne CBD terror assailant had links to Islamic State - latest updates". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  8. ^ Henriques-Gomes, Luke (10 November 2018). "What we know so far - Bourke Street attack: police say Melbourne CBD terror assailant had links to Islamic State - latest updates". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  9. ^ Mills, Joe Hinchliffe, Simone Fox Koob, Melissa Cunningham, Tammy (10 November 2018). "Bourke Street attacker: Hassan Khalif Shire Ali 'delusional, agitated' before deadly rampage". The Age. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  10. ^ Davey, Melissa; Knaus, Christopher; Wahlquist, Calla; Zhou, Naaman (9 November 2018). "Melbourne attack: police name Hassan Khalif Shire Ali and say he was known to them". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Bourke Street attacker had passport cancelled but wasn't deemed a threat". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 10 November 2018.
  12. ^ Mills, Tammy; Cunningham, Melissa; Hinchliffe, Joe; Wells, Rachel; Boseley, Matilda (10 November 2018). ""A wake-up call": Police link Bourke Street terror attack to IS". The Age. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  13. ^ Ferguson, John (10 November 2018). "Bourke Street killer was not national security threat, says AFP". The Australian. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  14. ^ Hinchliffe, Joe; Mills, Tammy; Cunningham, Melissa; Fox Koob, Simone (10 November 2018). "Bourke Street attacker: Hassan Khalif Shire Ali 'delusional, agitated' before deadly rampage". The Age. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Bourke Street attacker "failed in his plan to cause explosion"". SBS News. 10 November 2018. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  16. ^ Cavanagh, Rebekah (20 June 2018). "Accused terrorist to face Supreme Court trial". News.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  17. ^ Percy, Karen (21 May 2020). "Federation Square New Year's Eve terror plotter Ali Khalif Shire Ali sentenced to 10 years' jail". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  18. ^ Lloyd, Shelley (10 November 2018). "Bourke Street attack victim, Pellegrini's co-owner Sisto Malaspina, remembered as "best boss"". ABC News. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  19. ^ Henriques-Gomes, Luke (10 November 2018). "Sisto Malaspina – owner of Pellegrini's cafe – identified as Bourke Street victim". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  20. ^ Loomes, Phoebe (10 November 2018). "Survivor tells of offering help, being stabbed in head". News.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  21. ^ Koob, Simone Fox; Boseley, Matilda (10 November 2018). "Two men recovering after being stabbed during Bourke Street attack". The Age. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  22. ^ Henriques-Gomes, Luke (10 November 2018). "Bourke Street attack: police say Melbourne CBD terror assailant had links to Islamic State - latest updates". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  23. ^ a b Fix Koob, Simone (12 November 2018). "Sisto Lane: Name change mooted for Pellegrini's laneway as family accepts state funeral offer". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  24. ^ Martin, Lisa (13 November 2018). "Political circus arrives at Pellegrini's as cafe reopens after Bourke Street attack". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  25. ^ "'Making excuses': Scott Morrison doubles down in response to Bourke Street attack". news.com.au. 13 November 2018.
  26. ^ Hassan, Fares (12 November 2018). "Australia's Grand Mufti rejects government calls to do more to combat radicalism". SBS News. Retrieved 14 June 2020.