21-year-old Mia Ayliffe-Chung was killed in an Australian hostel by a man yelling “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.
The attack took place at a hostel in Home Hill, in the north Queensland region of Australia. The alleged attacker, a 29-year-old Frenchman, stabbed Ayliffe-Chung while yelling “Allahu Akbar,” witnesses reported. Police are currently investigating the crime as a murder and not a terror attack unless new evidence comes to light.
The Telegraph reports that more than 30 people witnessed the hostel killing, which acted as a hindrance for police when they arrived on the scene. In addition to the murder of Mia Ayliffe-Chung, the attacker also wounded a 30-year-old Briton and killed a dog living on the premises.
The victim, Mia Ayliffe-Chung, had just begun a 90-day backpacking journey in Australia when the attack happened. She was posting photos to social media to keep her friends and family updated about her activities. BBC showed some of Mia’s shared photos and said that she had just traveled to the Australian hostel in Home Hill to work on a farm in a rural area and extend her Australian visa.
Tuesday’s stabbing suspect had been in Australia for a year on a temporary visa. He was not known to police in the area and has no apparent ties to extremist groups such as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Due to the recent terrorist attacks in France, Germany, and Britain, Australia has also taken steps to quell the rise of Islamic extremism in their country.
The Frenchman was taken into custody by Queensland police. According to witnesses, the attacker repeated “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is great” in Arabic, while being arrested. He was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and is currently detained.
Police say they’re not ruling out any cause for the hostel killing, including drugs, extremism, or mental disturbance. Although the call of “Allahu Akbar” has been associated with terrorist groups such as ISIL, the attacker in question has no known ties to terrorist organizations.
“While this information will be factored into the investigation, we are not ruling out any motivations at this early stage, whether they be political or criminal. Investigators will also consider whether mental health or drug misuse factors are involved in this incident,” according to Queensland Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski via Newsweek.
Ayliffe-Chung was the first one to be attacked at the hostel and the only one to be killed. The hostel, Shelley’s Backpackers, is about 60 miles southeast of Townsville in Queensland. Before arriving at the hostel, Ayliffe-Chung worked as a waitress in Surfer’s Paradise, then made the 800-mile trip north to work with animals in Queensland.
The victim was originally from Belper in Derbyshire, England. Before traveling abroad, she attended Buxton and Leek College and Chesterfield College.
Amy Brown, a co-worker from the bar Ayliffe-Chung worked at in Surfer’s Paradise, described her as a beautiful person. “Mia was honestly the most bubbliest and most caring girl I knew. She got along with everyone she met, she just had that gorgeous personality that everyone seemed to enjoy,” she said.
This attack comes as a particular shock because of its apparent random nature. Australia has raised its threat level to high in response to the attack, although the reasoning for the attack is still unknown at this time.
Summer 2016 has been fraught with acts of violence. Independent attacks and those connected with ISIS have taken a heavy toll on the world population. From the assassination of Jo Cox to the horrible attacks in Nice, France, the reasons behind these attacks always come into question but are never completely clear.
Officials are currently investigating the attacker’s motivations in the hostel killing.
[Image via Facebook]