British police are now treating a stabbing attack in the southern English town of Reading, in which three people were killed and three others seriously injured on Saturday evening, as a terrorist attack.
“Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, the senior national coordinator for the Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP) network, has this morning declared the incident a terrorist incident,” a statement from Thames Valley police said Sunday.
We have launched a murder investigation following the deaths of three people in Reading yesterday after an incident in Forbury Gardens.
A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
— Thames Valley Police (@ThamesVP) June 21, 2020
“This was an atrocity,” Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer, Neil Basu said and noted that the attacker was not connected to a Black Lives Matter demonstration held several hours before in the same park, located at Foxbury Gardens.
Basu said the counter-terrorism police identified the attacker as a 25-year-old Libyan man (now released name: Khairi Saadallah). He said the incident was random, and there were no other reports of additional attacks.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Berkshire hospital told The Guardian that several victims were transported to the medical facility and remain in critical condition.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told security officials at a meeting on Sunday that he was appalled and sickened by the attack.
“My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene,” Johnson tweeted.
My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene.
— Boris Johnson #StayAlert (@BorisJohnson) June 20, 2020
“The Black Lives Matter event had finished some three hours previous and was by all accounts a very well conducted peaceful demonstration and this is not a connected attack with that whatsoever,” Jason Brock, the leader of the Reading Council, told BBC News.
A witness told Reuters the attacker randomly charged a group of 8 to 10 friends and began indiscriminately stabbing.
BREAKING (GRAPHIC): Multiple people reported stabbed. Some reports of fatalities in vicinity of a Black Lives Matter protest in Reading, UK pic.twitter.com/jVxEiEU3Ud
— Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) June 20, 2020
The attack is reminiscent of the random stabbings in Britain that authorities have considered to be terrorism.
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