UPDATE at 6:00 PM | A 24-YEAR-OLD Bangladeshi woman accused of stabbing a man in the neck in an alleged ISIS-inspired terror attack in suburban Melbourne had only arrived in Australia on a student visa 10 days ago and was renting a room at the victim’s house, it has been revealed.
Police said Momena Shoma was wearing a black burqa when she allegedly used a knife to stab the 56-year-old man in the throat while he slept at his Mill Park home, in the city’s northeast, just before 4.30pm on Friday.
The victim, believed to be a nurse, was reportedly asleep with his five-year-old daughter at the time. Police said she was not harmed.
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The man survived the horrific attack and was rushed to hospital where he remains tonight in a serious but stable condition after undergoing surgery.
Police said a neighbour called triple zero after the man stumbled outside his home, covered in blood and screaming for help.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference on Saturday, Victoria Police acting deputy commissioner Ross Guenther said investigators were led to believe the attack was terror-related while interviewing Ms Shoma, who was arrested at the scene.
“We are confident at this stage that this person acted alone and it was an inspired attack by a person who had become self-radicalised over a period of time,” Acting Deputy Commissioner Guenther said.
“We have evidence to supports that contention which will later be brought before the court.”
According to 7 News Melbourne, Ms Shoma confessed at the scene, professing that she had come to Australia to kill in the name of god.
When questioned by reporters, Deputy Commissioner Guenther would not reveal what Ms Shoma said at the scene or during questioning.
He did, however, confirm the 24-year-old had been renting a room at the victim’s house, who often provided accomodation for international students, and had only moved in on Wednesday.
“We think it really is a random attack,” he said.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Guenther confirmed Ms Shoma arrived in Australia on a valid student visa on February 1 and was in the process of being enrolled in a course at La Trobe University.
AFP acting Deputy Commissioner of national security Ian McCartney said police would allege the attack was inspired by Islamic State and designed to cause harm to the community.
“We will allege this was a stand-alone, Islamic State-inspired attack, designed to cause harm to our community,” he said. “We deplore any attempt to intimidate our community.”
Acting Deputy Commissioner McCartney said the circumstances surrounding Ms Shoma’s entry into Australia would be a focus of the investigation, which is less than 24 hours old.
The chilling news of the attack broke on Saturday morning, shortly before Ms Shoma appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with engaging in a terrorist act, an offence which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
According to reports from journalists who were present in the courtroom, Ms Shoma sat motionless in the dock, flanked by guards.
The court heard the international student sustained a minor hand injury that required medical attention and she was remanded in custody ahead of her next appearance on May 2.
Uniformed police, plain-clothed detectives and counter-terrorism investigators remain at the victim’s home on Saturday afternoon, combing the two-storey property for evidence.
The victim has been described by his neighbours as a “nice guy” with a “beautiful, kind family” that “always bring around food”.
Police said his wife was not home at the time of the attack.
The man’s family released a statement late on Saturday, thanking the community for their support.
“We would like to offer our thanks to our family, friendly neighbours and emergency services for their support and kindness,” the statement read.
“This is a very upsetting time and we ask that our privacy is respected to allow time to heal.”
Although emphasising there were no subsequent threats to the community, acting Deputy Commissioner Guenther said there would be an increased police presence at a number of major events today and in the coming weeks.
Residents are urged to report any suspicious activity to triple zero (000), Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.
EARLIER at 12:00 PM (AEST) | A BANGLADESHI woman who allegedly stabbed a man in the neck in Melbourne has appeared in court, charged with terrorism offences.
Momena Shoma, 24, is accused of knifing the 56-year-old man in the throat while he was sleeping at his two-storey home in Mill Park on Friday afternoon.
Police allege the attack was inspired by Islamic State and designed to cause harm to the community.
In a statement, Victoria Police said the woman travelled to Melbourne on February 1 on a student visa and moved into the Callistemon Rise home on Wednesday to rent while studying.
She appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court this morning, charged with engaging in a terrorist act.
The court heard the 24-year-old Bangladeshi national had sustained a hand injured that required medical attention and she was remanded in custody until May.
Police remained at the victim’s home in Mill Park this afternoon, combing the property for evidence.
Melbourne: Detectives have charged a 24yo woman after a stabbing in Mill Park. A 56yo man received a stab wound to his neck. It has been revealed the woman only recently travelled to Melbourne on Feb 1 on a student visa. Report on 7 News at 6pm. #7News pic.twitter.com/9XpUVRmPvY
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) February 10, 2018
EARLIER at 11:00 AM (AEST) | A 24-YEAR-OLD woman from South Asia has been charged with “engaging in a terrorist act” following a horror knife attack at a house in suburban Melbourne.
Police allege the attack, which allegedly took place in the city’s northeastern suburb of Mill Park on Friday afternoon, was a act of terror inspired by Islamic State.
It’s alleged the Bangladeshi woman stabbed a 56-year-old man in the neck while he was sleeping at his Callistemon Rise home around 4.25pm.
The man’s young child was also present during the attack but was not injured, police said.
Chilling photos have emerged from the scene of the attack, showing a white plastic chair sitting outside the Mill Park home, covered in blood.
Scene pictures from Mill Park stabbing yesterday. 24 year old woman in custody accusing of engaging in a terrorist act after flying out from Bangladesh. Will front court shortly. Follow @DougalBeatty for updates. @9NewsMelb pic.twitter.com/gjdMvU8tCu
— Jonathan Kearsley (@jekearsley) February 10, 2018
The victim was rushed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he is expected to undergo surgery today.
Police said although the man’s injuries are serious, they are not considered to be life-threatening.
The 24-year-old woman accused of the atrocity had only arrived in Australia on a student visa last week.
She was arrested at the scene and taken to the Northern Hospital with a minor hand injury.
Police said she had only been in Australia for 10 days and moved into the Callistemon Rise home on Wednesday – just two days before the attack.
“The woman travelled to Melbourne on 1 February on a student visa and moved into the Callistemon Rise home on 7 February to rent while studying,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
She has since been charged with one count of engaging in a terrorist act under the Commonwealth Crimes Act Section 101.1 and is expected to front Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this morning.
House in Mill Park where 56yo male resident was stabbed yesterday while asleep. Police allege it was an “Islamic State-inspired attack” carried out by 24yo Bangladeshi woman. @9NewsMelb pic.twitter.com/WRoPmMHGBb
— Eliza Rugg (@Eliza_Rugg9) February 10, 2018
Detectives from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team are today executing search warrants at both the Mill Park home and a second property in Bundoora where the woman had previously stayed.
There is no suggestion that anyone in the Bundoora residence was involved in the incident, police said.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said police were not looking for anyone else in relation to the investigation.
“This is an isolated incident and the community can be assured that Victoria Police is doing everything we can to keep the community safe,” he said.
“The community can expect to see an increased police presence at a number of events today and at major events in the coming weeks.
“We urge people to report any suspicious activity to triple zero (000), Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.”
AFP acting Deputy Commissioner, National Security, Ian McCartney emphasised there were no subsequent threats to the community.
“We will allege this was a stand-alone, Islamic State inspired attack, designed to cause harm to our community,” acting Deputy Commissioner McCartney said.
“We deplore any attempt to intimidate our community. The AFP will continue to work together with Victoria Police to ensure the safety of the community and to protect our way of life in Australia.”
Since 12 September 2014, when the national terrorism threat level was raised, police have charged 85 people – including this woman – as a result of 36 counter terrorism-related operations around Australia.
No further information was available at the time of writing.
FIRST at 10:30 AM (AEST) | A MAN in his 50s has been stabbed in the neck in what police are calling an ISIS-inspired terror attack in suburban Melbourne.
A 24-year-old woman from Bangladesh has been arrested and charged over the attack, which allegedly took place at the victim’s house in the city’s northeast on Friday afternoon.
The man survived the attack and is expected to undergo surgery to his wounds today.
MORE TO COME.