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Reading park stabbings declared a terrorist incident

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Reading park stabbings declared a terrorist incident

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:28 am

Three dead in Reading park stabbings

Reading's town centre has been cordoned off by police following a stabbing incident at Forbury Gardens

Three people are dead and three others have serious injuries after stabbings in a park in Reading.
What happened?

Police were called to Forbury Gardens at about 19:00 BST following reports that a number of people had been stabbed.

Thames Valley Police said a 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested at the scene and is now in custody on suspicion of murder.

There are reports that a police officer "rugby tackled" the suspect to the ground, according to the Sunday Mirror.

Police and Black Lives Matter organisers said the incident was unrelated to a protest held earlier in the park.

South Central Ambulance Service said "multiple ambulance resources" were sent to the scene, including five ambulance crews and a helicopter.

The total number of injured people has not yet been confirmed.

About a dozen armed police officers with shields were later seen entering a block of flats in Basingstoke Road in Reading at about 2300 BST, and families living in the building were moved out.

A loud bang was heard from the flats later at about 1230, and the armed officers have now left the scene.
Reading map

What do we know about the suspect?

Police say they are currently treating the attack as a murder investigation, not a terrorism incident.

However they are keeping an "open mind" as to motivation and say counter-terrorism officers are also on the scene.

Officers are not looking for any other people in connection with this incident and say there is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public.

Earlier security sources told the BBC the 25-year-old man arrested at the scene is thought to be Libyan.

Home Affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said he had been told the suspect had previously been in prison in the UK but for a relatively minor offence, not a terrorism offence.

What did witnesses see?

Eyewitness Laurence Wort, 20, told the BBC that he was visiting Reading for the day and was about 10m from the attack.

"The park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went round a large group trying to stab them.

"He stabbed three of them and then turned and started running towards me, when we turned and started running.

"When he realised that he couldn't catch us he tried to stab another group sat down.

"He got one in the back of the neck and then when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park."

Claire Gould, a freelance journalist who lives in Reading, said she walked past Forbury Gardens at around 18:40 BST "and everything seemed calm".

She then saw an air ambulance land in King's Meadow - another park close to the scene - at around 19:00 BST, followed by a second around 10 minutes later.

"There were multiple sirens from 19:00 going on for the next couple of hours and police helicopters [were] circling," she added.

What has the reaction been?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his "thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading".

"My thanks to the emergency services on the scene," he added.

Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: "This evening we saw a senseless attack on people simply enjoying a Saturday with family and friends.

"My heart, prayers and thoughts are with all those affected."

Policing minister Kit Malthouse has described the incident as "horrific" and "dreadful".

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the stabbing was "very concerning" park stabbings
Last edited by Anthea on Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Reading park stabbings declared a terrorist incident



Re: Reading park stabbings was it Terror Attack or BLM

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:57 pm

Reading attack suspect known to MI5

The man held on suspicion of killing three people at a park in Reading was known to MI5, security sources say


Khairi Saadallah, 25, from the town, was arrested at the scene on Saturday and police say they are not looking for anyone else over the terror incident.

Sources told the BBC he is originally from Libya and came to the attention of MI5 in 2019.

One victim has been named as teacher James Furlong - described by his school as "talented and inspirational".

Paying tribute to Mr Furlong, head of history, government and politics at the Holt School in Wokingham, the school's co-heads said he was a "kind and gentle man" with a "real sense of duty".

PM Boris Johnson said he was "appalled and sickened" by the attack in Forbury Gardens on Saturday evening.

Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTSPE) said a 25-year-old man from Reading, who was arrested initially on suspicion of murder on Saturday, has now been re-arrested under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Security sources said the suspect came to the attention of the security services after they received information he had aspirations to travel abroad - potentially for terrorism, according to the BBC's home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani.

When the information was further investigated, as the first stage of looking into a potential lead, no genuine threat or immediate risk was identified.

No case file was opened which would have made him a target for further investigation.

Teacher James Furlong was described as a "cherished" colleague by the Holt School

In a statement, Anne Kennedy and Katie Pearce - co-head teachers of the secondary school for girls - said Mr Furlong "truly inspired everyone he taught through his passion for his subject and his dedication".

"He was determined that our students would develop a critical awareness of global issues and in doing so, become active citizens and have a voice," they said.

Mr Johnson has promised action following the incident "if there are lessons that we need to learn".

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of counter-terrorism policing, described it as an "atrocity" and said his "deepest sympathies go to the families who will be mourning loved ones after this horrific act".

Mr Basu said investigators are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack.

Analysis box by Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent

Saturday's horrifying killings may be another example of what security chiefs call a "lone actor" attack where a single individual turns extremist beliefs into murderous actions.

In November last year, the UK's official threat level from terrorism was reduced from "severe" to "substantial" - meaning it remained likely - but there was no intelligence of an immediate risk to life.

Since then, there have already been three major incidents in which two people have died. Two of those attacks were carried out by lone individuals.

Today, detectives will be interviewing their suspect - and a huge operation will have swung into operation.

Electronic analysts will delve into any social media accounts linked to the suspect; they'll trawl every call and text message going back years, looking for contacts with extremists.

Intelligence officers at MI5 will review both their open and closed case files on so-called "subjects of interest".

A picture will emerge of the suspect's movements. What led to the attack may be very difficult to identify.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, Head of CTPSE, said the investigation "continues to move at a fast pace".

The suspect was arrested within five minutes of the first emergency call made to police, and a number of officers were quickly on the scene, she confirmed.

A witness told the BBC he saw a man moving between groups of people in the park in Reading town centre, trying to stab them.

Three other people were injured in the attack, which took place at about 19:00 BST on Saturday.

Two of the injured people have been discharged and one remains in hospital, although the injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that "people are united in their grief" following the attack, and that he wants to speak to the prime minister to discuss how to "learn from this."

"This is not a time for party politics," he said.

"It's incumbent on all of us to pull together in response to this on a cross party basis."

Thames Valley Police said on Sunday morning the attack was now being treated as terrorism and that Counter Terrorism Policing South East would be taking over the investigation.

Speaking to reporters later, the force's chief constable, John Campbell, said lives had been "devastated", but added that there was not believed to be a wider risk to the public and there was nothing to suggest anyone else was involved.

He added: "I am sure we would all want to recognise the bravery of those police officers responding, but also that a number of members of the public were helping my officers and the victims at what was a very distressing scene."

The prime minister has held a meeting with security officials, police and senior ministers over the incident.

Speaking in Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: "If there are lessons that we need to learn about how we handle such cases, how we handle the events leading up to such cases then we will learn those lessons and we will not hesitate to take action when necessary."

He said that included changes to the law, as they had done over the automatic early release of terrorist offenders.

Of the three injured people, one was seen at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where they were discharged without being admitted to hospital.

Two were admitted to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. One has been discharged, while another remains in a stable condition under observation.

Mr Basu said police were working with the coroner to formally identify those who had died and he praised the actions of Thames Valley Police officers - "unarmed and incredibly brave" - who detained the suspect.

He also said the public should not be alarmed about visiting busy places as a result of this attack.

A police cordon remains in place around Forbury Gardens - which is a short walk from the train station - and blue and white tents have been erected next to the walls of the park.

The UK's terrorism threat level of "substantial" is the third of five ratings at which the threat level can stand.
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