Canberra: A 29-year-old Pakistani man was stabbed to death allegedly by two teenagers in a “horrific” crime spree in Australia, prompting police to investigate if the attack was inspired by the Islamic State terror group.
Zasheen Akbar, a service station attendant, was found with stab wounds by a fellow employee at the Caltex service station in New South Wales late last night. The fellow employee found Akbar, a Pakistani, lying on the floor and windows smashed, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Counterterrorism police are investigating if the two 15-year-old and 16-year-old boys, who allegedly murdered the attendant, had been radicalised by extremist Islamic ideology. The two teenagers have been arrested and police have not provided further details.
The Australian media claimed that a sheet of paper that covers the window of the service station where letters “IS” were reportedly written in blood after the attendant was fatally stabbed.
Police believe the youths, from Queanbeyan, went on a rampage, allegedly stabbing another man in the stomach, hitting a third with a tyre iron and a fourth with a beer bottle.
“The teenagers went on a violent crime spree but we think one of the violent crimes at the servo has the hallmarks of an IS inspired terrorist act,” a senior police source was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also said allegations that the teenagers killed a service station employee in Queanbeyan “underline” the government’s concerns about terrorism.
“The involvement in this crime of two males, two youths, teenagers, is a shocking matter and one that underlines many of the concerns we have raised in this field…they are in custody following the alleged murder of a 29-year-old man in Queanbeyan overnight,” Turnbull said.
“Our condolences goes to the family of the victim. We send our prayers and best wishes to the two other victims of that evening,” Turnbull said.
The police will be making a statement about this but I can say that the circumstances have raised sufficient concern, as I have discussed with the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Andrew Colvin, raise sufficient concern to warrant the involvement of the Joint-Counter Terrorism eam, he said.
Police expect to lay a number of serious charges, Monaro Police Superintendent Rod Smith said.
“Our investigation into these matters will continue, but it doesn’t need to be said it doesn’t get more serious than this — an absolute horrific series of events,” Smith said. He wanted to reassure the public “two people we believe are involved in all of these are in custody”.
NSW Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said police had “sufficient information” to believe the 16-year-old’s involvement in the alleged murder may be related to terrorism.