A police station in Sydney, Australia, was attacked by a mentally unstable Muslim man driving a car filled to the brim with explosives. The man set himself ablaze and smashed the car directly into a loading-bay door. Fortunately, the explosives did not ignite, sparing the Merrylands police station, and only the attempted suicide bomber was hurt. Authorities were able to put out the flames engulfing the man before any serious damage could be done. Peter Zhurawel, the 61-year-old local man that carried out the attack, was well known for having confrontations with local police and had a history of mental illness. He received a trip to the hospital to treat severe burns on his upper body for his attempted attack and is in police custody.
The police station has received several terrorist threats in the past. In October 2015 a letter was sent to the police station stating “thousands will die” in attacks on Jewish schools and NSW police stations. Late last year a letters containing pictures of ISIS fighters holding severed heads were sent to the station. The letters threatened police, non-Muslims and Jews. The station has also received several threats from Zhurawel himself during his many run-ins with local police officers.
Zhurawel doused himself in some flammable substance, most likely gasoline, and filled his Hyundai with several containers of gasoline. He ignited himself and one of the containers then drove the vehicle headfirst into the loading-bay door of an underground parking lot. The containers in the vehicle did not ignite, preventing a far more severe attack.
Police claim that Zhurawel has no known ties with terrorist organizations and have stated that they doubt the attack was an act of Radical Islamic terrorism. The motive for the attack is still under investigation. Police searched Zhurawel’s home the day following the attack to determine if there is religious motivation behind the attempted bombing. Neighbors told local 7 News that Zhurawel was fighting with his family the same day he attempted his attack and believe that may have acted as a catalyst for his violent outburst.