Bondi Westfield stabber ‘known to police’

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, and the AFP Commissioner, Reece Kershaw urged Australians against speculating on the Bondi Junction motive. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Police are rapidly working to identify what led a 40-year-old man to go on a horror stabbing rampage that left six people dead and several other seriously wounded at a popular Sydney shopping centre.

The assailant, dressed in a Kangaroos rugby league shirt and armed with a large knife, began his attack at eastern Sydney’s multi-storeyed Westfield Bondi Junction at 3.20pm on Saturday.

Among the injured is a nine-month-old baby.

Of the six dead, five are women including the baby’s mother.

The man was shot dead by a senior police officer at the scene.

If the man is who they think it is, police say the attack was unlikely one of terrorism, but couldn’t rule out a targeted attack.

“We are waiting to confirm his identification. If it is the person we believe it is, we don’t have fear that that person holds an ideation. In other words, it’s not a terrorism incident,” Commissioner Karen Webb said.

She said the man was believed to be known to law enforcement.

Police say he acted alone, and there was no ongoing threat to the community.

Supplied Editorial Picture: 9 NEWS
Police say the assailant was a 40-year-old man and the attack did not appear to be terrorist related. Picture: 9 NEWS Picture: 9 NEWS
But they don’t yet know whether it was a random attack or not. Picture: Twitter
But they don’t yet know whether it was a random attack or not. Picture: Twitter

Commissioner Webb added it was “too early to speculate” whether the man was targeting people, but couldn’t rule out whether it was random or not.

“The investigation will be ongoing for many, may days, but there are elements that we understand at this point in time that don’t indicate that (it was a terrorist attack), but as we move into the investigation, and background this person, his home, vehicle and associates, we will know more,” she said.

She said she couldn’t confirm whether or not the man was intoxicated.

Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and the AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw addressed the nation on Saturday night. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Earlier, AFP commissioner Reece Kershaw said ASIO – the organisation that investigates terror threats – had been consulted.

He said he had also spoken with the NSW police commissioner and it was still “too early” to say whether it was a terrorist attack.

A journalist put to the commissioner that given the attack was in Bondi, which has the largest population of Jewish Australians in the country, whether terrorism could be ruled out.

“Having spoken with the NSW Police Commissioner at this stage, it’s too early to give that assessment. However, all the agencies, the right agencies, are working together to make that assessment,” he said.

Supplied Editorial @AnnoymousGiraf -
A senior police officer shot the attacker. Picture: Twitter

Wentworth MP Allegra Spender said she had spoken to Jewish community leaders on Saturday night, but it was still too early to tell what had happened.

“We have to wait for what the police say,” she told Sky News.

“I haven’t been given any information … police are still piecing together what has happened.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the investigations should be allowed to run its course.

“Speculation would not be helpful at this time,” he said.

“I’ve also had a discussion tonight with the Director-General of ASIO. The motive at this stage is unknown.

“And we will, of course, continue to update the Australian public as more information is known.”

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