Stabbing rampage in English town declared act of terrorism

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READING A stabbing rampage that killed three people and wounded three others in the English town of Reading was an act of terrorism, police said yesterday, calling the attack in a sunny park an atrocity.

A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after the stabbings on Saturday evening in Reading, which is about 65km west of London.

A security source told Reuters that the man, who remains in police custody, is a Libyan called Khairi Saadallah.

Britain's most senior counter-terrorism police officer, Mr Neil Basu, said a man had run into Forbury Gardens and attacked people with a knife before being detained by unarmed officers. Assistant Commissioner Basu said it had been declared terrorism after detectives worked through the night on the case.

"This was an atrocity," he added. AC Basu said there was nothing to suggest anyone else was involved and they were not hunting further suspects.

He said there was no intelligence that crowded places were at risk. The victims have not yet been identified.

A witness said the attack began when a man suddenly veered towards a group of eight to 10 friends and began stabbing them.

The attack took place hours after a rally by anti-racism protesters in the park. AC Basu said the incidents were not related.

"The Black Lives Matter event had finished three hours previous and was by all accounts a very well-conducted and peaceful demonstration, and this is not a connected attack with that," Mr Jason Brock, the head of the local council authority, told BBC TV.

In April, the officer in charge of the police's anti-radicalisation programme, Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, said social isolation during the coronavirus lockdown could make people more susceptible to being exploited by extremists. - REUTERS