Two people died and three were injured during an attack that’s being treated as a “terrorist incident.”
Two people died and three were injured in a stabbing attack in London Friday afternoon, according to the police. Government officials have deemed the stabbings a “terrorist incident.”
The 28-year-old suspect believed to have carried out the attack, and who was wearing a fake suicide bomb vest, died on the scene after being shot by police on London Bridge.
The suspect had been convicted of terrorism-related charges in 2012 after admitting to planning several attacks. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison, and was released on probation last year.
The incident comes just after the UK downgraded its terrorism threat level for the first time since 2014. London Bridge was also the site of a terror attack in 2017, when a vehicle-ramming and stabbing incident killed 11 people, including the three perpetrators.
The story is still developing. Here’s what we know, and don’t, so far.
What we know:
- The stabbings first began at a building near London Bridge called Fishmongers’ Hall around 2 p.m., during a conference on rehabilitating the formerly incarcerated organized by Cambridge University.
- The suspect, who was attending the event, began his attack within the hall then moved out toward the London Bridge. According to police, he was wearing a fake suicide vest.
- As of Saturday, three people were injured and two people have died from the attack. One of those killed has been identified as 25-year-old Jack Merritt.
- Officers were on the scene within five minutes of being called, and they shot and killed the attacker on the scene.
- The public helped in detaining the suspect. Social media videos show citizens fighting and holding down the suspect; one used a fire extinguisher against the man, another a narwhal tusk. Government officials — including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn — have praised the public for their courage.
- The police are treating the stabbing as a “terrorist incident.” Authorities are not searching for other suspects.
- The attacker is 28-year-old Usman Khan, according to the police. Khan, who was previously part of an al-Qaeda-inspired group, was convicted of terrorism offenses in 2012 for planning to bomb bars, attack the London Stock Exchange, and set up a jihadist training camp in Pakistan.
- Although he received a 16-year sentence, he was paroled in December 2018 on condition that he wear an ankle bracelet and take part in a government rehabilitation program for those previously involved in terrorism.
- During an emergency security meeting on Friday night, Johnson said, it was 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.”
- Queen Elizabeth II also condemned the attack and sent her “thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones.”
- Both Johnson and Corbyn have suspended their campaigns for the UK general elections following the attack.
- The attack comes days before a NATO summit. President Donald Trump and other leaders are supposed to attend a reception — held by the queen on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace — to commemorate the alliance’s 70th anniversary.
What we don’t know:
- The names of all the victims.
- The suspect’s motive.
- Whether a separate stabbing that occurred in The Hague, Netherlands Friday evening is related to the London attacks.
Author: Catherine Kim