SYDNEY, Sept. 11 (UPI) — A 22-year-old who allegedly stabbed a man in a Sydney suburb Saturday has been charged with a terror-related attack.
Ihsas Khan was arrested in Minto after allegedly stabbing 59-year-old Wayne Greenhalgh as he walked through a park about 4 p.m. Khan is charged with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder after stabbing Greenhalgh “a number of times,” according to the Australian Joint Counter Terrorism Team. Investigators have not clearly link Khan to any terror organizations.
Greenhalgh suffered serious injuries, but has been upgraded from critical to serious condition, 9News.com reported.
Khan also reportedly tried to attack a police officer responding to the scene. Police recovered a large knife at the scene, CNN reported.
A video of Khan’s arrest shows police surrounding him with tasers drawn before placing him in a van. Witness Sivei Ah Chong said Khan tried to justify the attack to onlookers.
“A Muslim guy ran behind with a knife and I said to him, ‘Mate what are you doing?’ he said, ‘these people are killing my brother and sisters in Iraq’,” Ah Chong said. The witness then came to Greenhalgh’s aid by attacking Khan with a piece of a wood fence paling.
According to court documents, Khan engaged in a terrorist act in an attempt to murder Greenhalgh with the “intent to influence the Australian government”.
Greenhalgh, the father-of-three, suffered a punctured lung and lacerations to his neck and finger trying to defend himself. He was flown to Liverpool Hospital for treatment.
New South Wales Police Force Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said police believe Khan was “inspired by ISIS,” a term for the terrorist group Islamic State. But police have not tied Khan directly to the group.
“He has had a couple of interactions with local police over matters where we might say his behavour was odd or unusual,” Burns said. “He has been of concern, he is a person of concern.
“There may have been some behavours in the past which might be concerning behaviors but not be linked to any of the matters that we are following or any of the people on our radar. This really highlights the challenge that this is the new face of terrorism, this is the new face of what we have to deal with.”
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who plans to visit New York City in the coming weeks, said he believes the attack was linked to the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Turnbull said both attacks involved displays of violent Islamist ideology.
Turnbull said the way terrorism is carried out is shifting from attacks organized by groups, like on 9/11, to lone wolf attacks, like the one that occurred Saturday in Sydney. He said the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon, changed the world.
“It was the largest mass casualty attack on American soil of that kind,” he said. “It saw [former Australian Prime Minister] John Howard invoke the ANZUS treaty, and it saw us stand then as we stand today, shoulder to shoulder with free nations in the battle against terrorism, and we have been shoulder to shoulder in that battle ever since.”
The ANZUS treaty, or Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty is a 1951 collective security agreement binding Australia and New Zealand and, separately, Australia and the United States, to co-operate on military matters in the Pacific Ocean region.