Terror threat puts Australia on alert, but ‘darkening’ situation is raising the government’s popularity

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from The Independent,

An alienated teenager angry about global events, or the face of Isis-inspired terror in Australia? What drove Abdul Numan Haider to stab two police officers in suburban Melbourne on Tuesday night before being shot dead is not clear, but the dramatic incident has raised tensions within Muslim communities and stoked fears of a domestic terrorist attack.

Senior police and federal ministers described Mr Haider, 18, as a “known terrorist suspect”. There were reports that he had made threats against the Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and had planned to behead the two officers and drape them in the black Isis flag. Yet the two officers – one from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the other from Victoria’s state force – had no qualms about meeting him in a car park outside Endeavour Hills police station, after Mr Haider agreed to come in for a talk. And the AFP acting commissioner, Andrew Colvin, flatly denied knowledge of “any specific threats” against Mr Abbott, or anyone else.

What had raised the concerns of police, said the Victoria Police Chief Commissioner, Ken Lay, were reports of the teenager brandishing what appeared to be an Isis flag in a shopping centre. “It’s not an offence, but clearly it drew our attention to this person,” he said. “We made the decision we needed to talk to him a little more about what his thoughts and motivations might be.”

In the car park the two officers approached Mr Haider at about 7.45pm. One went to shake his hand. The young man pulled a knife and stabbed him in the arm, then turned on the other officer, stabbing him in the head, neck and stomach. The first officer then shot him dead. Both officers are in hospital, one in a serious but stable condition.

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