Australia treating armed siege as 'terrorism incident'

Australian police yesterday shot dead the man who had taken the woman hostage and said they were investigating whether the incident was terror-related.

Melbourne terrorist Yacqub Khayre killed an innocent man with a sawn-off shotgun, tampered with his Global Positioning System ankle bracelet, and shot three police officers before dying in a hail of bullets.

Islamic State's media arm has this morning released a statement claiming Khayre, who is reported to have been involved in a failed plot to attack an Australian military base, was "a soldier of ISIS".

Khayre once spent 16 months on remand before being acquitted of a 2009 terror plot to attack the Holsworthy army barracks in Sydney.

In the wake of recent terror attacks across the world, Mr Jones said authorities need 'to stop watching them (terrorists) and lock them up'.

Ashton said evidence collected from a raid on the home that Khayre lived in with his mother indicated he likely acted alone and that the threat from this attack was now over.

The hostage, a 36-year-old Colombian woman, was tied up at one point during the siege, before she was rescued from the ground floor apartment.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for taking a woman hostage in a Melbourne apartment during an incident in which three police officers were injured by gunfire.

Police had earlier found the building's attendant shot dead in the foyer.

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"Our sympathies go out to his family and we will be providing support", Shane Patton, deputy commissioner of Victoria Police, told reporters.

"He has recently done some jail time, he got out late previous year and has been on parole at the time of this offending last night", he said.

Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its escalating action against Islamic State, has been on high alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East or their supporters.

Police were called after neighbors heard the shotgun discharge as Khayre killed a Chinese-born Australian man employed by the escort agency in the lobby.

Roads around the area were closed throughout the standoff and will remain closed for some time, police said. The plot was foiled and the Guardian reports Khayre was convicted and later acquitted of involvement in that plot.

The Victorian Supreme Court was told during that case that Khayre had been a worshipper at a Melbourne mosque and at a nearby prayer hall regarded by police as an "incubator" of extremist ideology.

Australian police are treating a shooting and hostage situation in Melbourne that left two men dead, including the attacker, as an "act of terrorism".

Officials say they have prevented 12 such attacks on home soil since the threat level was raised in September 2014, with 61 people charged.

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