Suspect Shot Dead After London Terror Attack Had Ties To Pakistan
By RFE/RL November 30, 2019
The man suspected of stabbing two people to death in an attack in London was previously imprisoned on terrorism offenses and had allegedly planned to start a "terrorist military training" center in Pakistan, British authorities say.
Authorities early on November 30 identified the man as 28-year-old Usman Khan, adding that they were not actively seeking any other suspects in the attack, which occurred around 2 p.m. the day before on London Bridge.
The man was shot dead by police after stabbing and killing a man and a woman and injuring another man and two women, police said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is due to host NATO leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump next week, said it was a terrorist attack and that Britain would never be cowed.
Police said the suspect appeared to be wearing a fake explosive vest.
"This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offenses," Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in a statement.
"He was released from prison in December 2018 on license," Basu added, using the phrase often referred to as "parole" in other countries.
The Islamic State group claimed the attack was carried out by one of its fighters, the group's propaganda outlet Amaq reported on November 30. The group did not provide any evidence to back its claim.
British authorities said Khan, originally from Pakistan, was jailed along with eight others in a terrorist group inspired by Al-Qaeda that had plotted to bomb targets, including the London Stock Exchange. He was sentenced to a minimum of eight years in prison.
Authorities said Kahn was also found guilty of making longer-term plans, including starting a "terrorist military training facility" in Pakistan.
Basu said officers were carrying out searches at an address in the Staffordshire region of central England where Khan had been living.
Britain's security minister, Brandon Lewis, said police were not looking for any other suspects in the attack.
Videos on social media appeared to show passersby holding down the man on London Bridge as police arrived and pushed people away before shooting the suspect.
Just prior to the police statement that the suspect had once been convicted of terrorism charges and then later released, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said criminals must be made to serve their sentences.
"It is a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early, and it is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists," Johnson said.
London Bridge was the scene of an attack in 2017 when three militants drove a van into pedestrians, then attacked people in a nearby area. Eight people were killed and 48 were injured.
With reporting by Reuters, AFP, dpa, CNN, and the BBC
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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