Usman Khan, who stabbed two people to death and injured three in London before being tackled by members of the public and then fatally shot by officers on London Bridge, was released in December last year after six years of imprisonment for offences related to terrorism.
Reacting to the incident, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said he had “long argued” it was a “mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early.” He also added that extra police patrols on the streets would be arranged “for reassurance purposes.”
Khan, who was a resident of Staffordshire, had lived in Pakistan during his teens. Khan left school with no qualifications after his mother became ill, The Telegraph reported.
He went on the rampage just before 2 pm Friday, targeting people at Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge — where a deadly attack by Islamist militants had taken place two years ago. Police have said that Khan was inspired by the ideology of al-Qaeda terror group.
“28-year-old Khan was attending a programme that works to educate prisoners when he launched the attack, killing a man and a woman and injuring three others just yards from the site of a deadly 2017 van and knife rampage,” AP quoted Neil Basu, London’s police counterterrorism head, as saying. He also said that the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be “a hoax explosive device”.
Khan was convicted in 2012 of terrorism offences for his role in the Stock Exchange plot in 1990, a planned scheme for a Christmas bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange, the American Embassy and the home of Boris Johnson, who was then the Mayor of London. While sentencing him, the judge had warned that he was a “serious jihadist” who should not be released as he was a threat to the public, according to The Telegraph.
The police last night said that Khan was released in December 2018 “on license”, which means he had to meet certain conditions or face recall to prison. Several British media outlets reported that he was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet.
According to The Telegraph, police searched Khan’s home in Stoke, from where they recovered a folded A4 sheet of paper which had notes on the structure, roles and responsibilities of individuals in a terror cell. It included the headings ‘structure’, ‘responsibilities’, ‘communication’ and ‘local’.