Australian authorities investigating terror links after two killed in hostage situation in Melbourne

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-05 19:36:58|Editor: Zhou Xin

Photo taken on June 5, 2017 shows Police and emergency services close to the scene of a hostage situation in Melbourne, Australia. Two people are dead, and three police officers have been shot in a violent siege in Melbourne late Monday. (Xinhua/Gui Qing)

SYDNEY, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Two people were killed and three police officers injured in a violent siege in Australia's Melbourne late Monday.

Police are investigating possible terrorist links to the attack, after reports emerged that the gunman had called a local media station and claimed to have been inspired by the Islamic State terrorist group.

Police say the man barricaded himself in the building in the suburb of Brighton for nearly two hours with a woman hostage, after they were called to the scene and discovered the body of a man who had reportedly been shot dead by the assailant.

The gunman was shot dead by the police, after he made an attempt to escape the Bay St residence, opening fire at the authorities on scene as he was gunned down.

Early reports suggested that there was an explosion at the scene, but according to Victorian Deputy Police Commissioner Andrew Crisp, authorities at the scene now say the loud bangs were the result of sustained gunfire.

The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews expressed his concern at the tragic events, and tweeted his support.

"Victoria Police sacrifice so much to keep us safe. They've shown that again tonight. Thoughts are with those injured and their colleagues," Andrews said.

A witness, Will Reid, told local media that the siege situation was frightening.

"I hung around for a while and I heard gunshots, about 10 shots, and we got told it was a hostage situation," Reid said.

"We got pushed back into the Coles (supermarket) and got told to not move,"

"It was frightening, you wouldn't expect that in Brighton at all," he added.

Of the three male police officers who were shot by the yet to be identified assailant, two have been taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the other was treated at the scene.

Police are continuing their investigation.

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KEY WORDS: siege