Melbourne CBD attack: Alleged Flinders Street driver Saeed Noori rambled about Allah and ASIO

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From the Age

Flinders Street driver Saeed Noori rambled about Allah, Australia’s spy agency ASIO and the mistreatment of Muslims in the hours after the attack, police say. Police revealed more on Friday afternoon about what the 32-year-old drug addict told them as investigators continue to search for a motive behind the rampage.

It comes as Mr Noori was discharged from hospital and into police custody, where he is set to spend the night before being formally interviewed by homicide detectives on Saturday. He has not yet been charged. 

Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said police have not ruled out terrorism, but the only clue that suggested a possible link was what Mr Noori told investigators in St Vincent’s Hospital on Thursday night. The alleged attacker not only spoke about mistreatment of Muslims, Mr Patton said, he also referenced Allah and ASIO.

“We haven’t ruled out terrorism and we continue to explore it. I’ve said that from the outset, but it’s about not jumping to conclusions. It’s about exploring the evidence and the evidence will ultimately take it where it does and if that means it’s a terrorist event, so be it,”

ASIO had nothing in its intelligence holdings on Mr Noori, Mr Patton said. It would almost be easier to explain, Mr Patton said, if it were a clear-cut case of terrorism. 

“I don’t have an issue with saying this is an act of terrorism if we establish that it is. It would be easier to come out and say that straight up. But that’s not the case at this stage. We don’t have sufficient [evidence] to justify that,” he said. “How do you try and get into someone’s head to understand what would cause them to commit such a horrific act? If that means in two days, two months, two weeks or whatever, we get some shred of evidence that shows us this was a terrorist attack, we don’t shy away from that and we charge them. . . “

Three people remain in a critical condition, the worst of whom is an 83-year-old man from Northcote in Melbourne’s north. The four-year-old South Korean boy from Hoppers Crossing remains in a stable condition.

Mr Noori arrived in Australia from Afghanistan at 18 in 2004 before becoming a citizen in 2006. . . came to Australia as a refugee through the “normal refugee programs”, not via a people-smuggling operation.

He spent recent years in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, far removed from the heartland of the city’s Afghan population in the outer south-east. He regularly walked home from the hospital where he received treatment for his mental illness.

Who was the man in the red shirt? A bearded man arrested after he was found with knives in his backpack in the aftermath of the Flinders Street car rampage has been cleared of any connection to the attack. The second arrest prompted a wave of speculation on social media that the two men were acting together, leading to even more conjecture that the incident was a terrorist attack. It turns out, however, that the 24-year-old man appears to have been yet another mobile-phone wielding bystander – who also happened to be allegedly carrying knives and marijuana.

Acting Chief Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters in a late-night press conference that the man was seen filming the incident so his bag was searched as part of “routine policing”, leading to the alleged discovery of the weapons and drugs. He had in a bag three knives, and he was taken into custody to determine whether he was in fact connected with the incident,” Mr Patton said.

After reviewing footage of the incident, police decided that the driver was the only person in the car and that it was likely he was acting alone. Mr Patton said that no relationship had been established between the man in the red shirt and Mr Noori. “It may well be that person is exonerated from any involvement in this in the end, and that is probable at this stage.”

The man has since been released and is expected to be charged on summons with possessing cannabis and possession of a controlled weapon. 

One Response

  1. “Mr Noori arrived in Australia from Afghanistan at 18 in 2004…[he] came to Australia as a refugee through the ‘normal refugee programs'”.

    Then the ‘normal refugee programs’ need to be changed to exclude members of the Mohammedan mob. Full stop.

    Also – was that ‘at 18 really “when he applied/ arrived he CLAIMED to be 18 years old”. His behijabbed mama is in Australia; no mention of a papa in the report on the court appearance during which his mama was present. Did *she* come to Australia with him in tow, or did he come first, spinning a sob story, and then spin another sob story in order to get mama into the country? Lots of questions that non-dhimmi reporters might decide to pursue.

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