World Bulletin / News Desk
The Australian reported that the suspect, a 29-year-old French man, was charged with murder and two counts of attempted murder for the attack late Tuesday, which left another backpacker hospitalized in a critical condition.
Queensland Police Minister Bill Byrne said, “extremism and all other possibilities, including drug use and mental health, will be considered during this investigation.”
He added in the statement, however, that “there has been no immediate evidence to suggest extremism.”
Local media also quoted one of the owners of the hostel as denying that the alleged attacker, who has also been charged over the alleged killing of a dog and assault of police, had links to extremism.
“Police have charged a 29-year-old man with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, one count of serious animal cruelty and twelve counts of serious assault,” Queensland Police said in a statement.
Another man staying at the hostel who was allegedly stabbed in the legs has left hospital.
The violence took place in front of around 30 people, and some witnesses said the suspect had been “infatuated” with his female victim. He had reportedly also told friends of developing romantic feelings toward her before the incident.
The Australian also reported Superintendent Ray Rohweder as saying that police “have had some indication that he may have consumed some cannabis that evening, but insofar as anything harder or alcohol, there is no evidence to suggest that occurred”.
The suspect had reportedly used the Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar", meaning God is Great, at the time of the atttck.
On Wednesday, news broadcaster ABC quoted an official from the Islamic Council of Queensland as calling on media to be “more responsible” in reporting on the incident, criticizing hasty speculation on whether it was linked to terrorism.
"Just because someone says 'Allahu akbar' does not mean that person's motivations are religious,” Ali Kadri underlined.
"When Muslim women give birth they say 'Allahu akbar' does that mean the act of giving birth is terrorism?” he added. "I think we should be cautious by not associating this phrase with terrorism and empowering the terrorists."