The terrorist who yesterday stabbed two people to death on London Bridge may have been acting in revenge over the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Daily Mail reports.
Usman Khan, 28, who was shot to death by police yesterday for his terrorist attack, was previously convicted of a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange in 2012.
He was known to security chiefs and checks were underway to find if he had any associates. It is believed that he was one of 20,000 UK jihadi suspects known to police and MI5.
Colonel Richard Kemp, ex-COBRA security committee chief, told the Sun: ‘If he turns out to be an Islamic terrorist, he was likely inspired by Islamic State.
‘It is even possible his action was in revenge for al-Baghdadi’s death. It’s something ISIS has called for since the US Delta Force raid in Syria.’
Al-Baghdadi died after blowing himself up with a suicide vest during a US raid of the Syrian camp he was being held at on October 26 this year.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu confirmed that a man and a woman were killed in the attack which saw Khan, wearing a fake suicide vest, stab up to five people before being shot dead by armed police as hundreds of commuters fled in terror.
Yesterday’s attack coincided with a similar rampage in Holland which saw three children stabbed on a shopping street in The Hague early yesterday evening, Dutch police said.
National broadcaster NOS said the attack could not immediately be attributed to terrorism.
Dutch police launched a manhunt after the attack, which took place on a busy shopping street near the city’s historic centre. The area was cordoned off and dozens of police and ambulances were on the scene.
And in Paris, the Gare Du Nord train station was briefly evacuated after an alleged explosive device was found in an unattended bag.
Unverified pictures show the device, which resembles a mortar shell, inside an old duffel bag.
Some people have suggested the device was a dummy explosive used for training purposes.
Commissioner Basu also revealed that Khan, who was from Stoke-on-Trent, had a prior terrorism conviction and had been jailed for eight years in 2012.
He was released on licence in December 2018 and was still wearing a monitoring tag at the time of yesterday’s attack.
Anti-terror police have raided a house in the Staffordshire area linked to the killer.
Khan had been attending a seminar in Fishmongers’ Hall run by Cambridge University’s Criminology Department to help offenders reintegrate into society following their release from jail.
He had threatened to blow up the building at the start of his five-minute rampage which ended in his death on London Bridge.
Dramatic video footage showed him being tackled to the ground by at least six members of the public. One man chased the attacker with a fire extinguisher while another used a Narwhal whale tusk to restrain him.
Khan had previously been arrested on December 20, 2010, four days before he and his nine-strong Al-Qaeda-inspired gang had planned to plant a bomb in the toilets of the London Stock Exchange.
He was a member of a nine-strong Al Qaeda-inspired gang plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange.
After arresting Khan’s gang, police found a handwritten list of targets which included the U.S. Embassy and the homes of London Mayor Boris Johnson, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral and two rabbis.
The gang also carried out surveillance of other possible targets including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster and the London Eye.
The group planned to send five bombs in the post to London synagogues and the Church of Scientology headquarters, as well as spreading panic in Stoke-on-Trent by planting bombs in pub and club toilets.
Yesterday’s attack came after the terror threat in the UK was reduced from ‘severe’ to ‘substantial’.
Commissioner Basu has said police will be patrolling the area over the weekend in case of a copycat attack and to reassure the public. (Daily Mail)