Rabat – The man who stabbed multiple people in a London Bridge knife attack on Friday, November 29 was known to authorities, reports say. Usman Khan, 28, served prison time for plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange in an al-Qaeda inspired terrorist attack.
The London Bridge terrorist attack began at 1:58 GMT on Friday at the north end of the bridge. Khan stabbed multiple people, killing two and injuring three others.
Before police arrived, members of the public worked to restrain the suspect.
Social media footage from people at the scene shows an armed officer gesturing for the group to move away from Khan. The officer then fired a shot, killing the assailant.
Khan appeared to have been wearing a hoax explosive device, prompting the officer to shoot.
A convicted terrorist released after rehabilitation
BBC News reported that police initially arrested Khan and eight others in 2010 for terrorism offenses.
MI5, the UK’s domestic counterintelligence and security agency, had been surveilling the group’s terrorist plot. The group members were from Stoke-on-Trent, England; London, England; and Cardiff, Wales.
A judge sentenced Khan in 2012 with a minimum jail term of eight years. In 2013, the Court of Appeal replaced the original sentence with a 16-year jail term. The UK native only served half of the term in prison under the UK’s early release laws.
Khan was released from prison in December 2018 after taking part in the government’s desistance and disengagement program, according to London’s Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu. The program aims to rehabilitate people who have been involved in terrorism.
After leaving prison, Khan agreed to wear an electronic tag. The GPS device allowed police to monitor his movements. He was wearing the tag at the time of the attack.
Leading up to the Friday terrorist attack, Khan had been attending a Cambridge University conference on prisoner rehabilitation at Fishmongers’ Hall. The conference was part of an initiative that allows university students and prisoners to study alongside each other.
The London Bridge was the scene of another terrorist attack just two years ago. On June 3, 2017, a terrorist killed eight people were killed and injured many more after deliberately ramming a van into pedestrians.
MI5 maintains that the general threat of terrorism to the UK is substantial, meaning a terrorist attack is likely.