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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020
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Man shot dead by police in London stabbing attack was convicted terrorist

It is understood Amman, who was jailed in December 2018, had been freed in the past six weeks.

Armed police at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London
Armed police at the scene in Streatham High Road, south London
Image: Victoria Jones via PA Images

THE MAN SHOT dead by police following a stabbing attack in south London was a convicted terrorist who had recently been released from prison.

Police said the suspect was yet to be formally identified but they are “confident” he is 20-year-old Sudesh Amman.

It is understood Amman, who was jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents in December 2018, had been freed in the past six weeks.

Sam Armstrong, from the Henry Jackson Society – a foreign policy think tank – said Amman was thought to have been staying in a bail hostel in Tulse Hill.

He said the society had warned in December that Amman was due for release within the next two months and should not be let out of prison.

Amman, who at the time of his sentencing was 18 years old and had an address in Harrow, north-west London, had been jailed for three years and four months.

Two people were stabbed in the attack in Streatham yesterday afternoon which police believe to be “Islamist-related”.

Scotland Yard said armed officers were following the suspect on foot as part of a “proactive counter-terrorism surveillance operation” on Streatham High Road.

Three victims were taken by ambulance to south London hospitals.

One man, in his 40s, is no longer considered to be in a life-threatening condition following treatment, police said.

A woman, in her 50s, who had non-life threatening injuries has been discharged from hospital.

Police said a second woman in her 20s, who received minor injuries believed to have been caused by glass following the discharge of a police firearm, continues to receive treatment.

britain-stabbings Police forensic officers talk near the scene after the stabbing incident in Streatham London, England Source: Alberto Pezzali via PA Images

Hoax device

A device found strapped to the body of the suspect was a hoax, the Metropolitan Police added in a statement.

It said: “The situation has been contained and officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are now leading an investigation into the incident.

“The incident was quickly declared as a terrorist incident and we believe it to be Islamist-related.”

One witness described seeing the man apparently carrying a weapon with “silver canisters on his chest” being shot in front of a Boots store.

Another said members of the public came to the aid of victims, with one saying she had been stabbed.

People took shelter in nearby shops as the incident unfolded on the busy south London high street.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party and councillor for the St Leonard’s ward on Lambeth Council, told the PA news agency: “There’s absolute shock and disbelief from residents that are around. There was an immediate sense of panic and fear when it happened.”

He added: “The emergency services seemed to have reacted incredibly quickly, I mean so quickly that you wonder whether they had some advance warning about this because they were here in such great numbers so quickly.”

Police continued investigations overnight, with search warrants being carried out at two addresses in south London and Bishop Stortford.

‘Fundamental changes’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will announce plans today for “fundamental changes to the system for dealing with those convicted of terrorism offences” following the attack.

He added: “Following the awful events at Fishmongers’ Hall in December, we have moved quickly to introduce a package of measures to strengthen every element of our response to terrorism – including longer prison sentences and more money for the police.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel, noting the recently-introduced measures including blocking the early release of terrorist offenders, paid tribute to police “who were able to act very swiftly and also prevent any other further acts of violence and to protect the public”.

Yesterday evening, forensics officers could be seen near Superdrug and Boots examining the area for clues.

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