Paris Panic, Melbourne Mayhem

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The world is gripped with fear with almost back-to-back terror attacks on major cities – London on Saturday, Melbourne on Monday and Paris on Tuesday – with ISIS gleefully claiming responsibility for the Melbourne and London attacks, in addition to the Manchester attack a fortnight ago.

  • 900 people in Notre Dame Cathedral locked in for their safety
  • Bloody shoot-out between Islamist killer and police in Melbourne
  • Chinese-born Australian victim married only 15 days ago
AP

In the Paris incident, a hammer-wielding man shouting “this is for Syria” attacked an officer, who was patrolling with two other policemen. One of the officers responded with two gunshots, which injured the assailant in the legs. An officer was also lightly injured.

The man, an Algerian whose name has not been disclosed, also said he was an “ISIS soldier”. He was found to be in possession of two knives.

Police immediately cleared the streets and locked tourists Notre Dame Cathedral for their safety. Some 900 people were inside the church. They were told to sit down and put their hands up as police investigated the attack.

Nancy Soderberg

Large numbers of police cars filled the area in the centre of Paris and around 100 elite police encircled the area to check there were no accomplices.

France remains on high alert after a series of deadly terror attacks in recent years.

A day earlier in Australia, police received reports of an explosion and an unfolding hostage situation in Brighton, an affluent beachside suburb of Melbourne, at 4.30pm.

Police raced to the Buckingham serviced apartments on Bay Street and found the dead body of a male employee lying on the foyer floor.

The Buckingham was immediately placed on lockdown and the area outside the building was cordoned off by officers. Specialist police arrived soon on the scene.

It was revealed a gunman, Somalian-born Yacqub Khayre, 29, had taken a woman, an employee of the apartments believed to be aged in her 20s, hostage inside the building after a phone call was made to 000 for emergency assistance.

AAP/PA Images

At 5:40 pm, the gunman called up the Melbourne newsroom of Channel Seven to claim: “This is for IS, this is for al-Qaeda.”

As he made the chilling phone call, a woman, believed to be the female hostage, was heard screaming desperately in the background.

At 6pm, “severe gunfire” was heard ringing out from inside the apartment block, with police exchanging up to 40 shots with the gunman, killing him in the process.

AFP

The man had reportedly stepped out of an apartment and began firing at police, leading to them returning fire. Three police officers were injured.

Terrified residents in the area were forced to run for their lives into a nearby Coles supermarket.

Amaq, the press arm of ISIS, claimed responsibility for the incident.

Kahyre was reportedly well-known to counter-terrorism officers in Victoria.

He had been acquitted of assisting in a 2009 plot to attack an Australian army base in Sydney.

According to Reuters, “court documents show Khayre migrated as a child with his family to Australia through a Kenyan refugee camp. He was recognised as a refugee under Australia’s humanitarian migration programme and later became a citizen,” police said.

In 2012, Khayre was jailed for a violent burglary in Melbourne, where he was found to have repeatedly struck a woman and her father. He was released on parole last December.

In the Monday incident, the alleged ISIS associate arranged to meet a female escort at the serviced apartments. When he met up with the woman, he killed an employee of the apartments and then held the woman hostage.

The unsuspecting employee gunned down by Khayre got married just 15 days ago and had a child. Nick Hao, 36, was a Chinese-born Australian citizen and a receptionist at the apartments.