MI5 detected in 2019 that the detainee planned to travel to Syria to join the Islamist terror groups in the region, according to several British media
Police in the United Kingdom have confirmed this Sunday that they are investigating the stabbings in Reading, in the south of the country, as a “terrorist incident.” Khairi Saadallah, 25, of Libyan origin, was arrested late Saturday as an alleged perpetrator of the stabbing of several people in Forbury Gardens, a park in the centre of town.
According to various British media, citing security sources, Saadallah was already under the radar of the UK intelligence services (MI5) in 2019 and detected his alleged plans to travel to Syria to join the Islamist terror groups in the region. The investigation then concluded that there was no genuine threat of imminent risk, and it was abandoned. No case was opened that could have expanded the studies, according to the BBC.
The attack resulted in three deaths, and at least three other victims were transferred with severe injuries to the nearby Royal Berkshire Hospital. Two of them were discharged this Sunday. The life of which she remains admitted is not in danger, according to police sources. The police asked users not to share the video circulated minutes after the attack, in which extremely harsh scenes could be seen as a group of citizens trying to revive one of the stabbed people lying on the surrounding lawn, from a pool of blood.
Late Saturday night, at least 20 Southeast Antiterrorist Police officers travelled to Reading and broke into an apartment block just over a kilometre from the park, looking for possible accomplices of the detainee. One of the officers carried a circular saw to force entry into the building. The BBC released the images of the assault, in which a loud explosion could be heard.
Witnesses to the incident say that the detainee began stabbing indiscriminately a group of middle-aged people who were sitting in the park drinking beer. Systematically, they have reported, he began to stab them in the neck and under their armpits. It was a single agent who, after receiving the alert call, went to the area and observed the attacker while trying to flee the park. She managed to stop him by pouncing on him and knocking him to the ground.
The police have kept the investigation open this Sunday and have questioned at least 40 witnesses. Aerial images of the park showed three blue tents to cover the forensic task, in the exact three places where the three victims of the stabbings died.
The head of the Scotland Yard Anti-Terrorism Unit, Neil Basu, reported that “the investigations carried out so far have revealed nothing that could suggest that other people may have been complicit in these attacks. At the moment, we are not looking for any other suspect related to the incident. “
According to the BBC, the detainee had already been in prison for minor crimes not related to terrorism.
Saadallah arrived in the UK in 2012 from Libya, and alleged persecution of Islamic extremists to apply for refugee status. According to the testimony of a relative, collected by the Daily Mail, he had converted to Christianity three years later.
Some British media such as The Guardian initially claimed that Saadallah suffered from possible mental disorders and that this factor would have been decisive. In the early morning hours of this Sunday, Boris Johnson chaired a meeting with those responsible for national security in Downing Street and several ministers from his Cabinet. “If our legal system needs changes to prevent events like this from happening again, we will not hesitate to adopt the appropriate measures,” said the prime minister, without specifying what changes he was referring to.
Opposition leader Labor, Keir Starmer, has been willing to contribute to future legal changes: “I think a constructive opposition will be ready to discuss with the Prime Minister how we can learn from what happened and improve our responsiveness,” has said.
At the scene of the events, a demonstration called by the Black Lives Matter movement had taken place two hours earlier, although the police have immediately disconnected the two games.
The Reading attack is already the third attack by the British police as a terrorist incident in which the deaths result from the stabbings of a “lone wolf.” Last November, Ushman Khan, a man who had previously been in prison for minor terrorism-related offenses, stabbed to death two people in central London, on the bridge near Fishmonger’s Hall, before being shot dead. Shot by the police.
In February, Sudesh Amman, another former inmate involved in terrorist conspiracies and released after benefiting from prison law, seven years after being sentenced to a reviewable permanent prison, launched a slash at pedestrians on a central street in Streatham, in the south London. In that case, too, the police shot him dead.
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