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Irishwoman (25) among those injured in Melbourne attack

A car crashed into pedestrians on Flinders Street in Melbourne on Thursday. Picture from Associated Press
Ryan Wilkinson, Alexander Britton and Ellie Cullen, Press Association

THE driver of a car driven at pedestrians in Melbourne, injuring more than a dozen people including an Irishwoman, attributed his actions to the "treatment of Muslims", police said.

However, officers stressed no terrorist links had been found during their initial investigations.

Some 19 people were wounded, three of whom remained in a critical condition yesterday, after a car was driven at pedestrians outside Flinders Street station at around 4.30pm Australian time on Thursday.

Nine of the victims are foreign nationals, including a 25-year-old Irishwoman who was in a stable condition in hospital last night, police said.

The area surrounding the major transport hub was busy with Christmas shoppers during the first week of the school holidays.

Police have said the suspect, reportedly named Saeed Noori, a 32-year-old Australian citizen of Afghan heritage, had a history of mental illness and drug abuse.

Of those injured, two men from South Korea, aged 61 and 67, were in a critical condition yesterday while a four-year-old South Korean boy, the youngest victim, was in a stable condition.

A Chinese national aged 24, an Indian national aged 45 and a Venezuelan national aged 40 - all men - also remained in hospital.

An Italian man aged 25 and a man from New Zealand aged 43 were taken to hospital but have since been discharged.

The oldest victim, an 83-year-old Australian man from the city, was in a critical condition, police said.

The suspect was admitted to hospital following the crash but was in custody awaiting questioning last night.

Victoria Police acting commissioner Shane Patton said officers had spoken to the man in hospital as investigators carried out search warrants and also spoke to his family on Thursday evening.

"During that (questioning) he made utterances, talked about dreams and voices but nonetheless did attribute his actions he said to the way that Muslim people are being treated, so based on that we haven't ruled anything out," he said.

"Obviously we've done search warrants last night and we haven't found anything at all to indicate his linkage or involvement with any type of extremism, with any terrorist organisation or anything of a terrorist nature.

"So given the mental illness background and everything we need to step carefully and the investigation is ongoing."

Earlier this year five people died in Melbourne when a car hit pedestrians, but police said the January incident was not terror-related.

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