UK knife attack suspect was known to security services: reports

UK knife attack suspect was known to security services: reports
Khairi Saadallah (pictured) is being held on suspicion of murder.
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Updated 06 January 2021

UK knife attack suspect was known to security services: reports

UK knife attack suspect was known to security services: reports
  • Saadallah came to the attention of British intelligence services when he was said to have planned to travel to Syria.
  • The attacker would have been one of thousands on security services' watch list.

READING: A man held on suspicion of stabbing three people to death in a British park at the weekend was known to the security services, media reported on Monday.
The 25-year-old, widely identified as Khairi Saadallah, a Libyan refugee, was held on suspicion of murder on Saturday night, soon after the rampage in Reading, west of London.
Thames Valley Police then re-arrested him under the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows for detention without charge for up to 14 days.
Witnesses to the attack in Forbury Gardens described seeing a lone assailant walking through a park filled with people and stabbing them at random.
British media said Saadallah fled the civil war in Libya and had been released from prison earlier this month, after serving time for a series of non-terror offenses.
He briefly came to the attention of the domestic intelligence agency MI5 last year and was said to have planned to travel abroad, reportedly to Syria.
But he was not deemed to be a substantial risk. His mental health is understood to be a factor for investigating officers.
Mark Rowley, a former assistant commissioner for specialist operations in the Metropolitan Police, said Saadallah would have been one of thousands of people on MI5’s watch list.
Some 3,000 people are under investigation at any one time but there are up to 40,000 people who have come up on the radar in relation to extremist ideology, he told BBC radio.
“To spot one of those who is going to go from a casual interest into a determined attacker... is the most wicked problem that the services face,” he added.
The reports about the suspect’s time in prison will again raise questions about the early release of offenders after two previous terror attacks in the past year.
In November, a convicted jihadist on parole was shot dead by police after stabbing five people — two fatally — near London Bridge in the heart of the British capital.

Armed officers also shot dead another assailant who injured three people in a London stabbing attack in February. He had also been released early from a terrorism conviction.
Those attacks prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to tighten the law on early prison releases.
A second, named as Joe Ritchie-Bennett, was said to have moved to Britain from Philadelphia in the United States some 15 years ago.
US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson offered condolences to everyone affected. “To our great sorrow, this includes an American citizen,” he wrote on Twitter.
Security Minister James Brokenshire said that despite the attack, Britain’s terrorist threat level remains unchanged at “substantial,” which means an attack is deemed “likely.”
“People must remain vigilant,” he told the BBC.


Biden plans immediate end to Trump’s ‘travel ban’ on Muslim majority states

Biden plans immediate end to Trump’s ‘travel ban’ on Muslim majority states
Updated 20 January 2021

Biden plans immediate end to Trump’s ‘travel ban’ on Muslim majority states

Biden plans immediate end to Trump’s ‘travel ban’ on Muslim majority states
  • The controversial ban was introduced during Trump’s first week in office and caused widespread protest
  • The policy followed Trump’s pledge where he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the US”

WASHINGTON: Joe Biden will sign orders hours after being sworn in as US President to break from policies imposed by the departing President Donald Trump, including a ban on visitors from several majority-Muslim countries.
The controversial ban was introduced during Trump’s first week in office, causing widespread protest and condemnation.
After court rulings invalidated the first versions of the ban, in 2018 the Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s third version, which applied to nationals of five majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
Trump claimed the ban did not target Muslims, and was meant to keep the US “safe and free.”
In 2020, the ban was extended to include restrictions on permanent immigration for people from six other countries, including Sudan and Nigeria.
The policy followed Trump’s pledge on his campaign trail in which he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Biden will also sign 16 other actions on the environment, fighting Covid-19 and the economy, aides said.
In first-day moves, he will halt construction of the wall that Trump ordered on the US-Mexico border to stem unauthorized migration.
He will also set a mask mandate on federal properties to stem the spread of COVID-19, restore protections of nature reserves removed by Trump, and seek freezes on evictions and protection for millions behind on their mortgages due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He also plans to send a bill to Congress to revamp immigration policies and give millions of undocumented migrants living in the country a path to citizenship that the Trump administration denied.
Biden “will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward,” the aides said in a statement.

(With AFP)