The assailant has been detained on terrorism charges.
While the suspect’s motives were not immediately made clear, he reportedly did not know the victim in person. Police believe that the man was incited by IS propaganda.
“We know that this person has strong religious beliefs inspired by ISIS,” Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn told a press conference on Sunday, referring to the assault as “planned” and “deliberate”, Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.
The attacker, whose identity remains undisclosed as well, approached the 59-year-old local with a “large knife” in a park in Minto, close to his home in Sydney’s southwest. When police arrived at the scene, the assailant reportedly tried to stab an officer through a window. He was then detained. During the incident he reportedly shouted some words in Arabic, which indicated a link to IS in the minds of investigators.
The alleged offender has strong extremist beliefs, inspired by ISIS, according to police. He has been known to police in the past.
A wounded victim, who suffered injuries to his body and hands, was rushed to the local hospital in critical condition.
“This is the new face of terrorism… this is the sad reality, that people do become inspired for whatever reason by these type of calls,” Burn said, despite not knowing the victim, whose identity has not yet been revealed. However, the suspect might have “formed some view” of him, 9news cited her as saying.
Although the attacker has been known to police “as a person of concern” and reputedly displayed “odd or unusual” behavior during his previous encounters with law enforcement, he had not been placed on a terror watch list as he lacked any links “to any of the matters that we are following or any of the people on our radar,” Burn admitted.
According to AAP, the man was previously tried by court on charges related to real estate.
The suspect was refused bail and charged “with committing a terrorist act and attempted murder,” New South Wales’s police said in a statement.