London, Nov 29: Several people were stabbed on the London Bridge on Friday afternoon in a terror incident and the suspected attacker was shot dead by the police on the spot, media reports said.
The London Bridge attacker who killed two persons Black Friday attack was a British citizen born in the UK. Usman Khan was a terror convict who had been out on parole and targeted a gathering where students and other former convicts had assembled.
According to reports, Khan left school with no qualifications after spending part of his late teens in Pakistan, where he lived with his mother when she became ill.
On his return to the UK, he started preaching extremism on the Internet and attracted a significant following, Dawn News quoted The Telegraph report.
In January 2012, Khan pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism violating the UK’s Terrorism Act 2006.
Khan was among nine men charged with conspiracy to bomb high-profile London targets in the run-up to Christmas in 2010. At the time, the men were described as an Al Qaeda-inspired group that wanted to send mail bombs to various targets and launch a ‘Mumbai-style’ atrocity.
At that time of his arrest, Khan lived in Stoke-on-Trent, a city in central England.
The area around the iconic bridge, where shops were closed down and an “enormous” police cordon was placed after the incident occurred, was still in lockdown and people have been advised to avoid the area as police hunted around the scene for any more threats though clarifying that a “vest” on the suspect was a “hoax device”, the BBC reported.
Addressing the press in the evening, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, Neil Basu, said that approximately at 2 p.m., “police were called to a stabbing at a premises near the London Bridge” and emergency services including officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police reached the spot.
“A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from the City of London Police and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene.
“A number of other people received injuries during the incident and as soon as we can provide further updates on their condition, we will. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to those anxiously awaiting news from their loved ones,” he said.
“As you would expect, due to the nature of the incident, we responded as though it was terrorist-related. I am now in a position to confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident. We are working jointly with the City of London Police as we continue to respond,” Basu said.
“Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are now leading this investigation. I must stress, however, that we retain an open mind as to any motive. It would not be appropriate to speculate further at this time,” he said.
The Assistant Commissioner said that due to reports that the suspect may have had an explosive device, specialist officers reached the scene “and wide cordons are in place to ensure there remains no further danger to the public”.
“However, I can confirm that at this time, we believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device. Officers continue to carry out meticulous searches in the area to ensure there is no outstanding threat to the public,” he said.
He said the “extensive cordons will remain in place for a considerable time” and the public was requested to continue avoiding the area, while anyone with information, image or footage of the incident should share them with their investigation teams.
The incident evoked memories of the 2017 terror attack on London Bridge when a van was deliberately driven into pedestrians before its three occupants ran to the nearby Borough Market area and began stabbing people in and around restaurants and pubs, leaving eight people dead and 48 injured. The attackers, who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State, were shot dead by the police.