The British Police on Friday (local time) said that the attacker who stabbed and killed two persons and injured three others in a terror attack at London Bridge was a former prisoner convicted for terrorism offences and released last year.
The police identified the attacker, who was shot dead by officers after Friday’s attack, as 28-year-old Usman Khan, was convicted in 2012 of terrorism offences and released in December 2018 “on the license,” which means he had to meet certain conditions or face recall to prison, The Times of Israel reported.
Khan had been living in the Staffordshire area of central England, the police said, where searches are still being carried out in connection to the attack.
London police counterterrorism head, Neil Basu, was further quoted as saying that Khan was attending a London event hosted by Learning Together — a Cambridge-based organisation that works to educate prisoners — when he launched the attack.
Meanwhile, the British media citing security sources reported the attacker had links to Islamic terror groups and was known to the UK’s MI5 intelligence agency.
Health officials said one of the injured was in critical but stable condition, one was stable and the third had less serious injuries.
Shortly after the police confirmed the incident was a terror attack, British 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,” the prime minister added.
At approximately 2 pm (local time), police were called in response to the attack at the premises near London Bridge, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu said in a statement.
Neil Basu, the London police counterterrorism head, said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be “a hoax explosive device.”
People from several high-rise buildings were evacuated in the affected area, which was cordoned off by the police.
The violence erupted less than two weeks before Britain holds a national election. In the wake of the incident, major political parties, including Labour Party and Conservative Party, have temporarily suspended campaigning for the December 12 election, as a mark of respect for the victims in the attack.
(With ANI inputs)