More details are emerging about the incident in which a 29-year-old Frenchman shouting “Allahu akbar” allegedly stabbed to death a 21-year-old female British backpacker at a hostel near Townville in far north Queensland.
The alleged knifeman, now identified as Smail Ayad, also critically injured a 30-year-old British male backpacker, who is fighting for his life in Townsville Hospital.
“Allahu akbar”, meaning “God is greater”, is an Arabic phrase often shouted by Islamic jihadists as they take violent action. Australian Federal Police are reported to be investigating if the fatal stabbing is terror-related, though Queensland police were last night playing down suggestions of a terror link.
The hostel’s manager, Grant Scholz, 46, was also allegedly stabbed while trying to protect the pair, with 9 News reporting that he now has more than 100 stitches.
Bizarrely, a dog was also stabbed to death in the incident, in which British backpacker Mia Ayliffe-Chung died and British man Tom Jackson, 30, suffered critical head injuries while trying to save her.
Up to 30 people were reported to have witnessed the incident.
The alleged knifeman, described by the Guardian and some other reports as a “French-Algerian man” has reportedly been in Australia on a temporary visa since March. Reports suggest he may have developed a delusional romantic obsession with the young woman who died in the attack.
Whether or not the attack turns out to be terror related, it’s the latest of several violent crimes in the Townsville area, including a case earlier this month in which a female tourist was allegedly dragged from a footpath into a dark corner and sexually assaulted. See: Dastardly deeds shake Australia’s tropical Far North
In another Townsville case about the same time, two men were charged with murder after a third man died from severe head injuries following a fight at a backpacker hostel in the inner city. The 30-year-old victim died in a room at the budget Sturt Lodge. Police rushed to the scene after reports of a violent argument on the premises.
Written by Peter Needham