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Police treating fatal Melbourne knife attack as a 'terrorist incident'

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Policemen block members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018.   REUTERS/Sonali Paul

Policemen block members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul

Policemen stop members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018.   REUTERS/Sonali Paul

Policemen stop members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul

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Policemen block members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul

A knife-wielding man has stabbed two people, one fatally, in Melbourne in an attack believed to be linked to terrorism, police said.

The attack during the afternoon rush hour brought the centre of Australia's second largest city to a standstill.

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Policemen stop members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018.   REUTERS/Sonali Paul

Policemen stop members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul

Policemen stop members of the public from walking towards the Bourke Street mall in central Melbourne, Australia, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sonali Paul

Police said the man got out of a vehicle, which then caught fire, and attacked three bystanders with a knife before being shot by police.

The suspect died later in hospital. One of the victims also died and the two others were admitted to hospital.

Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton said the suspect, originally from Somalia, was known to police and the incident is being treated as terrorism.

Superintendent David Clayton said police responded to reports of a burning vehicle.

Officers were confronted near the burning car by a man "brandishing a knife and threatening them" while passers-by called out that people had been stabbed, he said.

Mr Clayton said investigators did not believe there were any other assailants. The man was shot in the chest by police.

He said a bomb squad was making the scene safe.

Victoria Police tweeted a request for witnesses to speak to police and share any images that might help the investigation.

Officers said the car contained several barbecue gas cylinders.

Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews said the attack was "an evil and terrifying thing that has happened in our city and state today".

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