Teen suspects in Sydney fatal stabbing could have been inspired by ISIS

This article is more than 12 months old

SYDNEY: A Pakistani petrol station attendant was stabbed to death during an "absolutely horrific" crime spree in Australia, the authorities said yesterday, fearing that the attack was terror-linked.

Mr Zeeshan Akbar, 29, was found with multiple stab wounds on late Thursday, after allegedly being attacked by two teenage boys. Police believe the pair, aged 15 and 16, went on a rampage, allegedly stabbing another man in the stomach, hitting a third with a tyre iron and a fourth with a beer bottle.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported that "IS" appeared to be scrawled in blood on a window at the petrol station, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group. The teens also allegedly stole the cash register.

The authorities did not confirm the gruesome details, but Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said "there was physical evidence at the scene which does go to our view that this might be an act of terrorism".

"We don't know the motivation. We don't know what might have led to this. All we know is that they are very, very serious crimes," she said.

The boys were arrested on Friday after being chased by New South Wales state police.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the mother of one teenagerthought her son had been radicalised in recent weeks.

Ms Burn added that both boys were known to police and the 16-year-old was being investigated for terror links. Police are also investigating whether the teens were drug-affected.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called it "shocking" and reiterated concerns about the radicalisation of youths.

Counter-terrorism police have made a series of arrests since late 2014 across Australia and say they have prevented 11 terror attacks on home soil in the past two years.

But several attacks have taken place, including the murder of a Sydney police employee in 2015 by a 15-year-old boy, who was then killed in an exchange of gunfire with officers.- AFP