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Australian police say several people stabbed in Melbourne; man arrested

Australian police say several people stabbed in Melbourne; man arrested”

Police cordon off Bourke St following a stabbing incident in Melbourne.

Police first responded to reports of a vehicle on fire in the Melbourne's crowded Bourke Street, when they encountered the suspect who was attacking bystanders. The reason for the attack has yet to be confirmed.

Victoria Police Superintendent David Clayton said when police arrived at the scene they were confronted by a man brandishing a knife and threatening them. Police shot the alleged attacker in the chest, injuring him, and were holding him at a hospital under tight security. At a press conference, a police spokesperson said there are no links to terrorism at this stage.

"Police were still in the auto and the attacker came out to attack the police".

Paramedics said they assessed three people at the scene, one with a neck injury: "They are in a suspected critical condition".

They had initially thought the man was running to catch a tram close by, before a nearby police vehicle rushed to the scene.

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A handful of videos and images uploaded to social media appear to show the man attempting to stab police before he is shot.

Officers had initially responded to a report of a auto on fire on the popular shopping street at 4.20pm (5.20am GMT) on Friday.

A witness said one of the stabbing victims - believed to be a man in his 60s who later died - was stabbed in the face, and desperate efforts were made to save him.

"The attack is being treated as a terrorism incident", Morrison said.

Dramatic footage showed two police officers trying to arrest the man as he lunges and slashes wildly in broad daylight on Bourke Street with his vehicle burning in the background.

"I didn't know what was happening there was just so much chaos and screaming".

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Witnesses say they heard one bang or multiple bangs and gunshots in the area, which was subsequently put on lock down.

According to a bystander, Drew Hair, he was walking on Swanston Street when he heard an explosion.

She said she saw two policemen trying to subdue a man as a vehicle burned.

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

Bourke Street is now blocked between Swanston and Russell streets, and people are being advised to avoid the area.

The group often claims responsibility for attacks by individuals inspired by its message.

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