THE WASHINGTON POST – A. ODYSSEUS PATRICK
A refugee from Afghanistan who plowed a car through a teeming intersection in the heart of Australia’s second-largest city made rambling references to God, the mistreatment of Muslims and Australia’s domestic security service after he was arrested, officials said Friday.
Nineteen people were injured in the incident Thursday, three of them critically. Police identified the driver as Saeed Noori, 32, an Afghan granted entry to Australia in 2004 as a refugee. He became an Australian citizen two years later.
Noori has a history of mental illness and a minor criminal record, but no known links to any extremist groups, and he was not on the intelligence agencies’ list of potential terrorist suspects, said Shane Patton, acting chief commissioner of the Victoria Police.
In his brief discussions with police at a hospital where he was taken after he was arrested Thursday, Noori also spoke about dreams and hearing voices, Patton said.
The motivation for the attack outside Melbourne’s main train station during the hectic pre-Christmas shopping period could have big implications for a country long nervous about refugees, especially from the Middle East.