'Man shot dead in London stab frenzy was convicted Islamist terrorist with family links to Lanka'
London, Feb 03: A man shot dead by the Scotland Yard after he went on a stab frenzy on a busy high street in south London was a convicted Islamist terrorist, with family links to Sri Lanka, who was recently released from prison after serving half of his sentence period for preparation of acts of terrorism, police said.
The Metropolitan Police said Sudesh Mamoor Faraz Amman, a 20-year-old British national with extended family in Sri Lanka, had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
In a statement in Arabic via its Amaq propaganda agency, the Islamic State on Monday claimed responsibility for the London attack and said Sudesh was a "fighter" with the group, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based monitoring firm which monitors jihadist activities.
Amman was sentenced to three years and four months in prison in December 2018 after being charged with 10 terror-related offences. He was aged 18 that time. He was released under licence last month. He was under surveillance.
"The suspect had been recently released from prison where he had been serving a sentence for Islamist-related terrorism offences. We are confident that this is an isolated incident that has been contained," said Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D'Orsi on Sunday night.
Of the 10 offences under which Amman was jailed, seven were of making records of information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism and three of dissemination of terrorist publications.
Police had been told of extremist material being posted on the social media app Telegram by an account called @strangertothisworld, which turned out to be of Amman. He had used documents about making explosives, weaponry and carrying out terrorist attacks.
Among them were manuals on bomb-making, knife-fighting and close combat. Reports at the time also said he had told his girlfriend she should murder her "kuffar" (non-believer) parents. Police found a notepad in his home, where he had listed his "life goals".
"Top of the list, above family activities, was dying a martyr and going to 'Jannah' - the afterlife," Alexis Boon, then head of the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism command, said after he was jailed over a year ago.
On Sunday, Amman was wearing a hoax bomb vest as he was pursued by armed officers as part of a proactive counter-terrorism surveillance operation before they shot him dead at the scene. A man in his 40s, who suffered life-threatening injuries in the stabbing, is said to be out of danger and one woman in her 50s, who had non-life-threatening injuries, has since been discharged from hospital.
Another woman in her 20s who suffered minor injuries, believed to have been caused by broken glasses triggered from the discharge of the police firearm, continues to receive treatment at hospital, the Met Police said.
"Detectives from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command continue to carry out fast-time enquiries into the circumstances of the attack in Streatham High Road at approximately 1400 hours on Sunday, February 2," the Met Police said in a statement on Monday.
"Search warrants are being carried out at two residential addresses in the south London and Bishop's Stortford (Hertfordshire) areas respectively. No arrests have been made and enquiries continue at pace," the statement said. In a statement from Downing Street after an emergency meeting with UK Home Secretary Priti Patel on Sunday night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson once again pledged tougher sentencing measures for dangerous terrorists. "We will announce further plans for fundamental changes to the system for dealing with those convicted of terrorism offences," he said.
Patel said the government will be "announcing some fundamental changes, in addition to what we've already said, that we will do to deal with counter-terrorism and counter-terrorist offenders." It is thought that Amman may have realised he was being watched because he stole a 10-inch 3.99 pound kitchen knife from a store on the Streatham High Road at the time of the attack and, within seconds, stabbed a woman in the back. As he ran up the busy high street he stabbed a man.
At least two plain-clothed police officers who had been following Amman, dressed in hoodies and jeans and with balaclavas covering their faces, gave chase on foot after he attacked his first victim. It is thought that a third officer on a motorbike who had been part of the surveillance team may have been the first to open fire.
In November last year, in a similar scenario, two people were killed after convicted terrorist Usman Khan went on a stabbing frenzy in London Bridge area of the UK capital. It later emerged that Khan's family originated from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and he was out on parole after serving part of his sentence for plotting terrorist attacks on the UK.