Cops: Assailant in Fatal Hostel Attack Yelled 'Allahu Akbar'

Australian police say it's too early to label it a terror attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 24, 2016 10:17 AM CDT
Cops: Assailant in Fatal Hostel Attack Yelled 'Allahu Akbar'
Emergency personnel work the scene after an attack in the town of Home Hill in northern Queensland, Australia.   (Associated Press)

A French man shouting the Arabic phrase "Allahu akbar" stabbed a British woman to death and wounded two men in an attack at a hostel in northeast Australia, police said Wednesday. The 29-year-old suspect did not have any known links to the Islamic State group and appeared to have acted alone, said Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski, per the AP. Police were trying to determine whether the man had been motivated by extremism, or something else. "We are not ruling out any motivations at this early stage, whether they be political or criminal," said Gollschewski, adding that investigators are also looking into the suspect's mental health and history of drug use.

The attack took place Tuesday night at a hostel in the town of Home Hill. A 21-year-old British woman was found dead at the scene and a 30-year-old British man was hospitalized in critical condition. The third victim was treated and released. The assailant, a French national visiting Australia, shouted "Allahu akbar"—the Arabic phrase meaning "God is great"—both during the attack and while being arrested by police, Gollschewski said. He has not yet been charged. In the US, the FBI is investigating the double stabbing of a couple in Roanoke, Va., over the weekend in which the suspect yelled the same phrase, reports CBS News. Both victims were seriously wounded, and Wasil Farooqui, 20, is in custody. Police say he told them he was hearing voices before he attacked. (More stabbing stories.)

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