- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ready to change the law to prevent such incidents in the future.
- The man was allegedly arrested around 11 PM local time on June 20 at his home in Basingstoke Road, not far from the scene.
- Cases of knife attacks have been frequent in the UK in recent years.
At least three people were killed and three others were seriously injured by an attacker armed with a knife in the British city of Reading, situated about 60 km east of London. The attack took place in Forbury Gardens at 7:00 PM local time yesterday. Today, the British anti-terrorist police classified the attack as an act of terrorism whose motive is not yet clear.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was ready to change the law to prevent such incidents in the future. Local police from the Thames Valley have since confirmed that the suspected attacker is a 25-year-old Libyan man who lives in Reading and was in their custody on charges of murder.
The man was allegedly arrested around 11 PM local time on June 20 at his home in Basingstoke Road, not far from the scene. The suspect was already known by the authorities as he has a record of previous arrests for relatively minor offenses that aren’t related to acts of terrorism.
The police initially treated the case as a murder, but said they hadn’t ruled out other options as the anti-terrorist forces had gone to the scene to carry out their investigations. Eyewitnesses stated that the man arrived in the park, which was very crowded, and started shouting “incomprehensible words.” He then headed towards a group of people before launching the attacks, and later on disappeared.
The British Prime Minister immediately sent his condolences to the families of those affected, and thanked the emergency services, calling the episode “appalling.” Home Secretary Priti Patel, Minister of State for Crimes, Police and Firefighters, Kit Malthouse, and the Leader of the Opposition Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, also joined in condolences for the victims of the attack.
Cases of knife attacks have been frequent in the UK in recent years, to the point that a new terrorism law was launched on May 20, focused on tightening convictions and monitoring suspected terrorists.
This decision came after a 28-year-old citizen, Usman Khan, killed two people with a knife on 29 November 2019, and others were injured in the capital near London Bridge. The last episode similar to today’s dates back, however, to 20 February, when a 69-year-old man was stabbed in a mosque in the capital of the United Kingdom
According to the 2019 Global Terrorism Index of the Institute for Economics and Peace, the United Kingdom is in 28th place in the world for the level of impact of terrorism, and is first in the European Union, of which it is no longer a part.
This positioning is probably mainly attributable to attacks that hit the country in 2017. In particular, the one in London Bridge on June 3, which led to the death of 11 people, and the one in Manchester on May 22, which had 22 victims. Both attack episodes were claimed by the Islamic State.