SYDNEY - Australian police on Monday shot dead a gunman in the city of Melbourne who had been holding a woman hostage, police said, adding that they were investigating if the incident was linked to militant activity.
Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its escalating action against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, has been on high alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East or their supporters.
Three police officers were hurt in a stand-off lasting more than an hour at an apartment building in the upmarket beachside suburb of Brighton, police said in a statement, adding that a second man had earlier been found dead from a gunshot wound.
Victoria state police tried to negotiate with a man inside an apartment, they said in a post on their official account on social network Twitter, adding, "It's believed a woman is with him whom he won't allow to leave."
An hour later, police said the situation had been resolved with the woman rescued.
"Police are investigating whether the incident is terrorism related," the statement added.
Three police employees suffered injuries during the incidents but they were not life threatening, police said, without elaborating.