Australian security officials have announced that the hostage situation that occurred on Monday, June 5, in Melbourne's Brighton neighborhood is being treated as a terrorist attack. According to multiple reports, the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the incident on a news agency linked to the group despite the fact that the gunman is reported to have claimed allegiance to both IS and Al-Qa'ida, seen by many as a rival terrorist group. Officials stated that it remains unclear if the attack was planned or spontaneous or if there was any direct involvement of a terrorist organization.
A single gunman, identified by Melbourne police as Yacqub Khayre, took a woman hostage in a residential building in Melbourne's Brighton neighborhood during the evening of Monday, June 5. Police officers responded to the area at around 16:00 (local time) and shot and killed Khayre after he came out of the building with a weapon and opened fire. Three police officers were shot and injured during the incident and one man was later found dead inside the building.
Australian security forces have become increasingly worried about homegrown extremism and, as a consequence, the terrorist threat level was raised in September 2014. Australian officials say they have now prevented more than ten terrorist attacks on home soil over the past two years.
Individuals in Melbourne are advised to avoid the area of the incident, remain vigilant, and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities.
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