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Woman charged with terrorism after alleged 'Islamic State' stabbing

10 February 2018 3:33 AM
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A 24-year-old Bangladeshi woman who has been in the country for less than a fortnight has faced court charged with terrorism after an alleged "Islamic State-inspired" stabbing in Mill Park.

Momena Shoma, a student and Bangladeshi national, was remanded in custody on a terrorism-related charge after facing Melbourne Magistrates Court during a brief hearing on Saturday.

Ms Shoma was expressionless during the short hearing, during which she was remanded to reappear on May 2. She wore a blue jumper and had her long hair tied back in a pony tail.

She is accused of stabbing a 56-year-old man in the neck while he was asleep at his home in Callistemon Rise on Friday afternoon.

The attack was witnessed by the man's young child, but he was not injured.

Australian Federal Police acting Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney has described the stabbing as an "Islamic State inspired attack", but said there were no threats to the community.

“We will allege this was a stand-alone, Islamic State inspired attack, designed to cause harm to our community,” he said.

“We deplore any attempt to intimidate our community. The AFP will continue to work together with Victoria Police to ensure the safety of the community and to protect our way of life in Australia.”

Ms Shoma was arrested at the scene and taken to the Northern Hospital with a minor hand injury.

She travelled to Melbourne on February 1 on a student visa and moved into the Callistemon Rise home on February 7.

The Joint Counter Terrorism Team, which is made up of Australian Federal Police, ASIO and Victoria Police, charged her with one count of engaging in a terrorist act.

The man was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he will undergo surgery on Saturday for non-life threatening injuries.

Investigators will execute search warrants at the Mill Park home and another property in Bundoora where Ms Shoma had previously stayed.

Police say there is no suggestion that anyone in the Bundoora residence was involved in the incident in any way.

A neighbour who provided assistance after the stabbing said the woman was calm and did not try to escape or put up a struggle when police arrived.

"When I got there was blood everywhere and a neighbour was putting pressure on the wound," he said.

"She was still there and I talked to her. She was very calm but didn't tell me anything."

He said the victim was a man named Roger who had lived in the street for many years.

He said the woman had been living at the home for the past two days and that Roger regularly housed student lodgers at his home.

Victoria Police acting Deputy Commissioner said police were not looking for anyone else in relation to the investigation.

“This is an isolated incident and the community can be assured that Victoria Police is doing everything we can to keep the community safe,” acting Deputy Commissioner Guenther said.

“The community can expect to see an increased police presence at a number of events today and at major events in the coming weeks.

“We urge people to report any suspicious activity to triple zero (000), Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.”

Since September 12, 2014, when the national terrorism threat level was raised, police have charged 85 people – including Ms Shoma – as a result of 36 counter terrorism-related operations around Australia.

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