Bridge attacker jailed for terror crimes: UK police
Published: 07:43 PM, 30 November 2019
A man imprisoned six years for terrorism offenses before his release last year stabbed several people in London on Friday, two fatally, before being tackled by members of the public and then fatally shot by officers on London Bridge.
Neil Basu, London's police counterterrorism head, said 28-year-old Usman Khan was attending a program that works to educate prisoners when he launched the attack, killing a man and a woman and injuring three others just yards from the site of a deadly 2017 van and knife rampage. Basu said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be "a hoax explosive device."
Health officials said one of the injured was in critical but stable condition, one was stable and the third had less serious injuries.
The attack raises difficult questions for Britain's government and security services. Police said Khan was convicted in 2012 of terrorism offenses and released in December 2018 "on license," which means he had to meet certain conditions or face recall to prison. Several British media outlets reported that he was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had "long argued" that it was a "mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early."
"It is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists, that I think the public will want to see," he said.
Johnson, who chaired a meeting of the government's COBRA emergency committee late Friday, said more police would be patrolling the streets in the coming days "for reassurance purposes." Police said they were treating the stabbings as a terrorist attack and were not actively looking for any other suspects.
The violence erupted less than two weeks before Britain holds a national election Dec. 12. The main political parties temporarily suspended campaigning in London as a mark of respect.
Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick said officers were called just before 2 p.m. to Fishmongers' Hall, a conference venue at the north end of London Bridge. The pedestrian and vehicle bridge links the city's business district with the south bank of the River Thames.
Learning Together, a Cambridge University-backed prison education program was holding a conference there Friday. Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope said he was "devastated to learn that today's hateful attack on London Bridge may have been targeted at staff, students and alumni attending an event organized by the University of Cambridge's Institute of Criminology."
Minutes after the stabbings, witnesses saw a man with a knife being wrestled to the ground by members of the public on the bridge before officers shot him dead.
Video images showed people spraying the fleeing suspect with a fire extinguisher, while another passer-by held what appeared to be a long white stick. Witness Amy Coop, who was at the Fishmongers' Hall, said it was a narwhal tusk the man had grabbed from a wall before going to confront the attacker.
One video posted on social media showed two men struggling on the bridge before police pulled a man in civilian clothes off a black-clad man on the ground. Gunshots followed. Another depicted a man in suit and overcoat holding a long knife that apparently had been taken from the attacker.
Karen Bosch, who was on a bus crossing the bridge, said she saw police "wrestling with one tall, bearded man" and then heard "gunshots, two loud pops."
She said the man "pulled his coat back which showed that he had some sort of vest underneath, whether it's a stab vest, or some sort of explosive vest, the police then really quickly moved backward, away."
Another bus passenger, Amanda Hunter, told the BBC that the vehicle "all of a sudden stopped and there was commotion and I looked out the window and I just saw these three police officers going over to a man."
"It seemed like there was something in his hand, I'm not 100% sure, but then one of the police officers shot him."
Police confirmed that the man died at the scene.
Mayor Sadiq Khan praised the "breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger not knowing what confronted him."
"They are the best of us," Khan said.
Cars and buses on the busy bridge stood abandoned after the shooting, with a white truck stopped diagonally across the lanes. Video footage showed police pointing guns at the truck before moving to check its container.
London Bridge station, one of the city's busiest rail hubs, was closed for several hours after the attack.
Scores of police, some armed with submachine guns, ushered office workers and tourists out of the area packed with office buildings, banks, restaurants and bars. Staff in nearby office blocks were told to stay inside.
As police cleared the streets, staff in shops and restaurants ushered customers into storerooms and basements. Some had been through similar traumatic events in June 2017, when eight people died in the van and knife attack launched by three people inspired by the Islamic State group. The attackers ran down people on the bridge, killing two, before fatally stabbing several people in nearby Borough Market.
Political leaders expressed shock and sorrow at Friday's attack.
"We will not be cowed by those who threaten us," Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said. "We must and we will stand together to reject hatred and division."
Both Labour and the Conservatives suspended campaigning in the city after the attack and the prime minister was also canceling political events for Saturday.
Security officials earlier this month downgraded Britain's terrorism threat level from "severe" to "substantial," which means an attack is seen as "likely" rather than "highly likely." The assessment was made by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, an independent expert body that evaluates intelligence, terrorist capability, and intentions.
The U.K.'s terror threat was last listed as "substantial" in August 2014; since then it has held steady at "severe," briefly rising to "critical" in May and September 2017.
- Bangladesh gear up for Test series in Pakistan
- Axiata appoints new deputy group CEO
- Yuvraj, Wasim to join Australia bushfire relief match
- Month of Jamadi-us-Sani begins tomorrow
- Petition filed seeking cancellation of Tabith Awal’s candidature
- One killed in Panchagarh clash
- Unexploded mortar shell recovered in Cumilla
- Common people’s uplift is prerequisite to country’s development: PM
- Businessman electrocuted in Trishal
- 3 held in anti-narcotic drive in capital
- Shakib-Apu to pair again!
- Body found at chicken farm in Bogura
- ‘Marketing Cup’ to commemorate Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu
- Unidentified body found in Cumilla
- 48 No Ward AL rebel candidate fired
- Housewife commits suicide in Pirojpur
- Call 999 while police harass: IGP
- Tigers to back a day earlier
- Zaheer Khan to be awarded Padma Shri
- Evaly becomes billionaire cheating with customers
- Student killed in Mymensingh road crash
- Action will be taken over clash in election campaign
- Tigers upbeat to avoid humiliating whitewash
- Satkhira pride schoolgirl committed suicide
- Meeting over China-Bangladesh travel ban Tuesday
- China stuck in Medical equipment crisis!
- Bangladesh to host Zimbabwe in Feb for full series
- No barrier to voting in EVMs: HC
- Problems need to be solved by planning: Tajul
- Iran executes ‘crocodile’
- All News »
- Rapists cheer on Facebook Live after rape in Gazipur
- Cox’s Bazar-St. Martin ship to be launched February
- 5,000 students get scholarship of Jahangir Alam Foundation
- China virus deaths rise to 17, heightening global alarm
- High levels of Uranium found in Cox’s Bazar
- ICJ orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya, to preserve evidence
- Actress Ishrat Nishat passes away
- Coronavirus: Everything you need to know
- Man suicides killing 4 in Maulvibazar: Story revealed
- Coronavirus: 11 under observation in India, Bangladesh on alert
- Ijtema ends seeking global peace, unity
- Two siblings among 3 electrocuted in Hazaribagh
- Record: Trump tweets, retweets 125 times in a day
- Gabtoli turmoil after throwing eggs
- Bride’s mother elopes with groom’s father
- Bangladesh enters e-Passport era
- Bangladesh meet Burundi in semifinal today
- ‘Dil Toh Happy Hai Ji’ actress Sejal Sharma commits suicide
- World court’s four orders against Myanmar
- Coronavirus death toll jumps to 25 with 830 cases: govt
- Ronaldo makes accidental kiss to Dybala
- E-passport to be launched today
- E-passport is a ‘Mujib Barsho’ gift for nation: PM
- Harry, Meghan to give up royal titles
- Comilla University’s 1st convocation Monday
- Fourth person has died from new virus: China
- Court orders to publish ads asking SK Sinha, 10 others to appear
- Rohingya killing resumed defying ICJ order
- Wife receives husband with ‘Milk-bath’ for divorce!
- Over 100 killed in Yemen missile, drone attack