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Sydney stabbing attack 'inspired by ISIS'

AAP logoAAP 10/09/2016 Simone Ziaziaris

A 22-year-old man charged with committing a terrorist act following a stabbing in Sydney's west was inspired by Islamic State, police say.

Wayne Greenhalg, 39, was stabbed several times while walking through a reserve in Minto, around 4pm on Saturday. He made it to a nearby hair salon to seek help and a bystander fended off the alleged attacker, Ihsas Khan, until police arrived.

Mr Greenhalg suffered injuries to his body and hands and was treated by paramedics and flown by helicopter to Liverpool Hospital, where his condition on Sunday was described as serious.

When a police officer arrived at the scene, Khan allegedly tried to stab the officer before being arrested. A photo published by Fairfax Media shows three officers pointing Tasers at him.

Khan was later charged by the joint counter terrorism team with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder.

Police say the attack was "planned" and "deliberate" despite the victim and Khan being unknown to one another.

"This was clearly a very volatile, a very violent situation that police and the members of the community were confronted with," Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn told reporters on Sunday.

The accused allegedly shouted words at the scene, which led police to believe he was inspired by ISIS.

"We know that this person has strong religious beliefs inspired by ISIS. What made him act yesterday we don't know."

"It was deliberate and it was violent."

Federal Attorney-General George Brandis said police would allege that material related to the terrorist organisation had been recovered in a search warrant of Khan's home.

"It is ISIL-related material but beyond that I'd prefer, given this matter is still an ongoing investigation, not to be more specific," he told reporters in Brisbane.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, noting the stabbing occurred on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US, said the events were connected by "violent Islamic ideology" and "heroism".

He told reporters in Canberra that an owner of some Minto premises had sheltered the victim and a bystander confronted the assailant and managed to keep him at bay until police arrived.

"We honour those heroes of today just as we honour the heroes of 9/11," he said.

Ms Burn confirmed Khan was previously known to police but not in connection with any terrorist group.

"He has had a couple of interactions with local police over matters where we might say his behaviour was odd or unusual.

"He has been of concern, he is a person of concern.

"There may have been some behaviours in the past which might be concerning behaviours but not be linked to any of the matters that we are following or any of the people on our radar," she said.

"This really highlights the challenge that this is the new face of terrorism, this is the new face of what we have to deal with."

A large knife was found at the scene and is under forensic examination.

Khan did not seek and was formally refused bail when his case came up at Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday. He was remanded to appear in Sydney's Central Court on Wednesday.

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