Stabbing spree in Melbourne called an act of terrorism

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Australian police reported multiple people were hurt in a rush hour stabbing incident in Melbourne's central business district, after they apprehended a suspect near a burning vehicle.

Melbourne resident Meegan May tweeted: "Chaos in Bourkest as a guy seems to have set his auto on fire then attacking police with a knife".

Police shot the man when they arrived at the scene and he was taken into custody but remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said the suspect, originally from Somalia, was known to police and the incident is being treated as terrorism.

Witness footage showed police struggling for at least a minute to corral the towering man - who was wearing a dark tunic - as he lunged, slashed and stabbed wildly at two officers.

"Trolley Man, the hero Australia needs", one woman said on Twitter shortly after a series of videos of the attack began to circulate online. One had a head injury and the other suffered a neck injury, according to The Age.

Police were forced to shoot the man, who continually made stabbing gestures at them, near a burning auto.

Counter-terrorism police and intelligence officers are still piecing together how the incident occurred, but said the attacker was known to intelligence services.

Police said they had initially responded to a vehicle on fire.

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In total, three people were stabbed and one died at the scene.

Police then "shot the male in the chest and he is now in a critical condition, under guard at hospital", Clayton said.

"At the same time passers-by were calling out that members of the public had been stabbed", he added.

"Respects to Trolley Man and also to those very calm cops who remained very professional and surely prevented more people from being injured", one person wrote online.

"They were around him trying to take the knife out of his hand - I'm pretty sure it was a kitchen knife", he said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has praised both authorities and members of the public for their quick response in taking down the offender.

One witness told ABC the deceased looked to be in his 50s or 60s.

"Anyone with information or who witnessed the incident is asked to go to Melbourne West Police Station to make a statement".

Mr Clayton said investigators did not believe there were any other assailants.

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