UK: Stabbing in Reading killing 3 declared terrorist incident: Police

21st Jun 2020
UK: Stabbing in Reading killing 3 declared terrorist incident: Police

By Ahmed J Versi

London, (The Muslim News): Counter Terrorism Police has declared the stabbing incident in which three people were killed and three injured that happened in Reading, Berkshire, Saturday night, a terrorist incident.

The attack took place at around 7pm in Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre.

A 25-year-old Libyan national man, who has been an asylum seeker, who was arrested on suspicion of murder last night, remains in police custody.

Neil Basu, the Assistant Commissioner at New Scotland Yard confirmed the arrest of the Libyan national Sunday morning.

“This was an atrocity,” Basu said in a statement .

He said: “Yesterday Saturday 20 June, a short time after 7pm, a man ran into Forbury Gardens in the centre of Reading and attacked members of the public with a knife.

“He left three dead and a number of people needing hospital treatment.

“This was an atrocity, my deepest sympathies go out to the families who will be mourning loved ones today after this horrific act and to everyone who has been affected by it.

“We’re working with a coroner to formally identified all those who have died and to inform and support their relatives.”

Basu praised action of Thames Valley Police, “who were unarmed.”

He also praised the members of the public “who provided first aid” to the victims of the attack.

Basu said the incident was declared as a terrorist incident at 8.30 am this morning.

The Assistant Commissioner said they found “nothing to suggest that anyone else was involved in the attack…there is no outstanding terrorist threat for the public.”

Basu emphasized that the terrorist attack was “not associated with the Black Lives Matter protest” which took place on Saturday.

He said the public “should remain alert and not alarmed.”

Armed counter terrorism police raided his flat Saturday night and removed a number of items.

The police last night said the Libyan was arrested on suspicion of murder, though they said that the incident was not treated as an act of terrorism. This was updated Sunday morning to act of terrorism.

Three people are in critical condition in hospital.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, Senior National Coordinator for the Counter Terrorism Policing network, has this morning declared the incident a terrorist incident, and Counter Terrorism Police South East (CTPSE) will be taking over the investigation.

“My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “deeply concerned to hear reports of an incident in Reading.”

“My thoughts are with everyone involved, including police and emergency responders at the scene,” she wrote on Twitter.

Chief Constable John Campbell of Thames Valley Police said: “I am deeply saddened by the events of last night.

“This was a truly tragic incident and the thoughts of Thames Valley Police are with all those who have been affected.

“We will be working closely with our partners over the coming days and weeks to support the Reading community during this time, as well as with CTPSE as they progress their investigation.

“Police cordons continue to be in place and are likely to be for some time as CTPSE work further to investigate this incident and establish exactly what happened.

“We would like to hear from anyone who has video footage. Out of respect for those deceased and injured, along with their loved ones, please do not circulate this footage on social media – this will be incredibly distressing.”

Counter Terrorism Policing will make a further statement later today.

Thames Valley Police arrived at the scene at around 7.00 p.m. in Reading’s Forbury Gardens shortly after a Black Lives Matter protest.

“There is no indication that this incident is linked to the Black Lives Matter protest that took place in Reading today,” police said.

[Photo: A police cordon at Abbey Gateway, near the scene where three people have died and three more have been seriously injured following stabbings in Forbury Gardens, Reading, United Kingdom on June 21, 2020. Photographer: Isabel Infantes/AA]

 

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