The knifeman who went on a rampage on London Bridge killing two Cambridge graduates before being shot dead on Friday was a convicted terrorist released from jail on licence late last year, London media reports say.
The attacker, Usman Khan of Staffordshire, was convicted in 2012 for a plot to bomb the London Stock Exchange and freed in December 2018 after being told his movements will be strictly monitored, which is one of the licence conditions.
On Friday around 2pm, Khan was a guest at a conference on prisoner rehabilitation organised by Cambridge University at Fishmongers’ Hall, above, on London Bridge.
Without any provocation, the 28-year-old, who was wearing a fake suicide vest, threatened to blow up the place and started stabbing people with two long knives, one of them strapped to his arm.
Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, Cambridge graduates involved in prisoner rehabilitation, were killed in the attack.
As the attacker ran out of the building, some people chased him. One of them snatched away his knife and another wrestled him to the ground when police arrived and shot him at point-blank range.
A man and two women injured in the incident are being treated in a city hospital.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was a mistake to allow criminals Khan to come out of prison early.
Khan, who had been sentenced for 16 years over the stock exchange bomb plot, was not the only one freed on licence last year.
Friday’s attack is likely to prompt the Conservative government to revoke the licence of those released.
Khan, a Briton of Pakistani origin, was a close friend of Anjem Choudary, the Islamist preacher and leader of the banned Al-Muhajiroun group.
It was Choudary who inspired terrorist Khuram Butt to lead the 2017 London Bridge attack which left eight people dead.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan praised those bravehearts who chased the attacker, overpowered and disarmed him.
Hatred towards the West and devotion to Islamist ideology is prompting even women to plan terror attacks in London.
Last year, London’s Central Criminal Court found 18-year-old Safaa Boular guilty of plotting an attack with her sister and mother.
In 2017, two Islamists were charged over a plot to kill Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May by blowing up her Downing Street residence.
The Hague attacks
In the meantime, Dutch police arrested a suspect over knife attacks that left three teenagers injured in a busy street near Hudson’s Bay department store in The Hague on Friday night, local reports say.
The 35-year-old homeless man will be questioned after he is transferred to a police station. Police are clueless about the motive of the attacker.
The three injured teenagers were taken to a hospital and discharged after treatment on Friday.