The Bourke Street terrorist who killed an elderly man during a stabbing rampage in Melbourne had ties to one of Australia’s most notorious extremists.
Hassan Khalif Shire Ali befriended ISIS sympathiser Khaled Sharrouf online in 2014.
While Sharrouf posted photos of his son playing with decapitated heads, Ali shared his desire to be an Islamic State terrorist.
Bourke Street terrorist Hassan Khalif Shire Ali was connected to ISIS sympathiser Khaled Sharrouf (right)
Ali (pictured) listed his occupation as ‘God willing at Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’
Using the name Hassan Ali Shire, he listed his occupation as ‘Mujahid in sha Allah (God willing) at Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’.
That profile, along with a picture of Ali, was discovered on an archive of Sharrouf, acquired by The Australian.
Ali was one of 27 people to connect with Sharrouf in his profile’s three-day lifespan before it was deleted by Facebook.
Whether the pair contacted each other personally is unclear, as there is no public interaction.
Ali posted to his own profile, praising the Islamic State for their takeover of the Iraqi city of Mosul in July 2014.
Many of the people listed as friends with Sharrouf used profile pictures of black Islamic State flags or logos. Ali’s was a colourful, wide-smiling selfie.
Sharrouf (pictured) planned one of the largest terror attack in Australian history before it was fouled
Ali (pictured) had a history of mental illness and drug and alcohol dependency, friends say
Sharrouf made headlines in 2014 for posting a photo of his nine-year-old son Abdullah holding a severed head under the morbid caption: ‘That’s my boy.’
He remains one of the most notorious terrorist figures in Australian history and was the first person to be stripped of their Australian citizenship under counter-terrorism laws.
He served five years in a Sydney prison for his role in the plotting of a major terrorist attack in 2005.
‘Operation Pendennis’ was the most prolific anti-terror operation in Australian history at the time.
Sharrouf flew to Syria using his brother’s passport – so as to avoid detection from authorities – a year after he was released in 2010.
He has since been reported dead multiple times, firstly in June 2015 and most recently late last year.
The duo’s connection comes a day after Peter Dutton implored Muslims to report extremism
Ali stabbed three men, one fatally, before lunging at police, who shot him in the chest
Whether Ali befriended Sharrouf on Facebook or vice-versa is unclear.
The revelation, however, came after Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton pleaded for Muslims to report suspicious activity to authorities.
‘There is a real black spot for us and that is a vulnerability,’ Mr Dutton said.
‘It is important for us to get as much information from the imams, from spouses, family members, community members, council workers, people that might be interacting with those that might have changed their behaviours, that they think have been radicalised.’
Ali had his passport confiscated in 2015 after counter-terrorism agencies believed he was planning to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State.
He was one of about 300 people known to counter-terrorism authorities, according to Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton.
Due to a lack of police resources, he was not on a watch list.
ALI’S FAMILY’S STATEMENT
Hassan suffered from mental illness for years and refused help.
He’s been deteriorating these past few months.
He has seen psychologist and psychiatrist, but stopped as his paranoia and hallucinations led him to believe they’re ‘after him’.
Please stop turning this into a political game.
This isn’t a guy who had any connections with terrorism, but was simply crying for help.
Ali battled mental health issues for years, as well as a drug and alcohol dependency, according to family friend Isse Musse.
‘Hassan suffered from mental illness for years and refused help. He’s been deteriorating these past few months,’ Ali’s family wrote in a statement read by Musse.
‘He has seen psychologist and psychiatrist, but stopped as his paranoia and hallucinations led him to believe they’re ‘after him’.
‘This isn’t a guy who had any connections with terrorism, but was simply crying for help.’
A note written by Ali’s family says he was not a terrorist, but ‘simply crying for help’
The rampage was deemed a ‘terror attack’ by authorities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison demanded spiritual leaders take ‘special responsibility’ for stamping out radicalism.
‘[But] here in Australia, we would be kidding ourselves if we did not call out the fact that the greatest threat of religious extremism … is the radical and dangerous ideology of extremist Islam.’
The Australian National Imams Council, a nation-wide Islamic body, denounced the prime minister’s statement.
‘The Australian National Imams Council and the Muslim community are also outraged by the recent comments by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison connecting Islam to a ‘radical and dangerous ideology’.
‘These are the times where Australians should be standing side by side in solidarity, countering all forms of extremism and violence,’ the council wrote.
The deceased victim was revealed to be 74-year-old coffee maestro Sisto Malaspina (pictured)
Tens of thousands of Melburnians visited Bourke St over the weekend, paying respect to murdered coffee icon Sisto Malaspina.
Malaspina, 74, was reportedly trying to help Ali out of his car when he was stabbed to death.
He was fondly remembered as a ‘coffee legend’ and ‘the best boss’ and was offered a state funeral by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews.
The other two victims are recovering well from their wounds, including 58-year-old Tasmanian man Rodney Patterson, who was stabbed in the face.
A security guard, 24, is also recuperating from neck wounds.