British police have declared the fatal stabbing of three people in the town of Reading, about 60km outside London, a terror attack.
The attack by a lone knife-wielding man in a public park on Saturday evening sent shock waves through the usually peaceful commuter town of around 200 000 people on London’s doorstep.
‘Incredibly brave’ officers arrest the attacker
Responding unarmed officers, who have been described as “incredibly brave”, arrested the attacker on the scene. He is a 25-year-old man who is apparently an asylum-seeker from Libya. He has not been named.
Overnight on Saturday, heavily armed police raided an apartment not far from the scene of the incident. It is believed to be the home of the arrested man.
At this stage, UK police believe he was working alone and there is no need to further increase the country’s terror threat level, which already sits at ‘substantial’. This is half-way through the five-rung scale and means that a terror attack is likely.
Apart from the three people who died in Forbury Gardens park, a further three have been critically injured.
People were relaxing in the park on a summer’s evening
According to eye-witnesses, a large number of people were enjoying a summer’s evening in the park and the eased lockdown restrictions that enable people to socialise more freely.
The lone man then entered the park and suddenly produced a knife. He shouted something that bystanders could not understand and began stabbing people.
“He stabbed three of them severely in the neck and under the arms, and then turned and started running towards me, and we turned and started running,” a witness, Lawrence Wort, told the Press Association.
Motivation for this horrific act is far from certain,” said Neil Basu, Britain’s top counterterrorism police officer.
British PM says he is sickened and appalled
On Sunday, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said he was appalled and sickened by the stabbing spree. He added that the government would make changes to the law, if required, to help prevent future incidents such as this.
“If there are changes that need to be made to our legal system to stop such events happening again, we will not hesitate to take that action,” Johnson said.