UK Park Stabbing Rampage Was Terrorist Act, Police Say

READING, England—A stabbing rampage in a British park on a summer evening that left three people dead is being considered a terrorist attack, police said on June 21.

A 25-year-old man who is believed to be the lone attacker is in custody, but officials said the motive for the carnage was unclear. Authorities said they werent looking for any other suspects and didnt raise Britains official terrorism threat level from “substantial.”

Three other people were seriously injured in the attack on June 20 in Forbury Gardens park in Reading, a town of 200,000 people 40 miles (64 kilometers) west of London.

“Motivation for this horrific act is far from certain,” said Neil Basu, Britains top counterterrorism police officer, as police forensics officers combed the park for evidence.

Officers were called to reports of stabbings just before 7 p.m. and arrived to find a “horrific” scene, Chief Constable John Campbell of Thames Valley Police said. He said a suspect was apprehended within five minutes.

“Incredibly brave” unarmed officers detained a 25-year-old local man at the scene, Basu said. Police say they dont believe theres any further danger to the public.

Police didnt identify the suspect, but Britains national news agency, Press Association, and other media outlets named him as Khairi Saadallah, a Libyan asylum-seeker living in Reading.

A Reading man of that name who is the same age as the suspect was sentenced to two months in prison in 2019 for assaulting an emergency worker. The same man was also charged in 2019 by assaulting a judge who had sentenced him.

The BBC reported that Saadallah was investigated by British security services in 2019 over concern he planned to travel abroad to join a jihadi group, but that he wasnt determined to be a major threat.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who met security officials, police, and senior ministers on June 21 for an update on the investigation, said he was “appalled and sickened” by the attack.

“If there are lessons that we need to learn” or legal changes needed to prevent such attacks, “then we will learn those lessons and we will not hesitate to take action where necessary,” Johnson said.

Police officers patrolled cordons on the roads leading to the park on June 21, and blue-and-white tents were erected near the attack site. Overnight, heavily armed officers entered an apartment about a mile away, and a loud bang was heard.

Notes and bunches of flowers had been left June 20 by the police tape in tribute to the victims. One of the people killed was identified as James Furlong, a teacher in the nearby English town of Wokingham.

“There are no words that anyone can say to express how horrible and senseless this was,” one said. “Our prayers are with all the victims and their families and friends. #Readingstandsunited.”

While the attack came hours after a Black Lives Matter demonstration at Forbury Gardens, police said there was no connection between the two events.

Personal trainer Lawrence Wort said the park was full of groups sitting on the grass on June 20 evening when “one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, tryiRead More – Source