Islamic State claims responsibility for London stabbing attack

Islamic State claims responsibility for London stabbing attack

Jihadist terror group says Sudesh Amman was one of its fighters, carried out assault in response to call for attacks on countries belonging to anti-IS coalition

Police officers look under a bus as they work at the scene the day after a terror stabbing attack in the Streatham area of south London, February 3, 2020. (Alberto Pezzali/AP)
Police officers look under a bus as they work at the scene the day after a terror stabbing attack in the Streatham area of south London, February 3, 2020. (Alberto Pezzali/AP)

The Islamic State extremist group said Monday that a man who stabbed two people in a busy south London street the day before was one of its fighters.

“The attacker in the Streatham area in south London yesterday is an IS fighter, and he carried out the attack in response to a call to target nationals” of countries belonging to the global anti-IS coalition, IS’s propaganda arm said in a statement released through the Telegram messaging application.

Sudesh Amman, 20, who was wearing a fake suicide vest, was shot dead on a busy shopping street in south London on Sunday.

A male victim, who is in his 40s, was hospitalized in non-life-threatening conditionwhile the woman, in her 50s, has been discharged, police said.

Another woman in her 20s had minor injuries, thought to have been caused by broken glass following the police shooting of Amman. She was continuing to receive treatment at a hospital.

Amman was recently freed early from prison after serving part of his sentence for a string of Islamist-related terror offences — namely the possession and distribution of terrorist documents.

Amman had been arrested in London in May 2018 on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. He was jailed for three years and four months in December 2018 for 13 separate offenses.

Sudesh Amman, named by police as the suspect in a terror attack in Streatham, London on February 2, 2020 (Met Police)

As part of what police said was a “proactive counter-terrorism surveillance operation,” armed officers were following him on foot following his release.

British police searched two homes on Monday as the government vowed a review of the system for the early release of convicted terrorists.

Counter-terror officers were conducting searches at one address in south London and one in Bishop’s Stortford, north of the capital near London Stansted Airport.

Britain downgraded its terror threat level from “severe” to “substantial” — the third-highest of five levels, warning a terrorist attack is considered “likely” rather than “highly likely” — in early November.

That was its lowest rating in more than five years.

Last month the Islamic State’s new leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi encouraged the group’s fighters across the globe to launch “a new phase” of attacks and vowed major operations against Israel. A spokesman for IS said the group was also calling for the sabotage of a peace plan proposed by US President Donald Trump to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

‘Shocked’ eyewitness

Amman had been staying in a nearby hostel for newly released prisoners, according to British media.

He stole a knife from a discount wares store, then attacked a woman, then a man further up the high road, before being gunned down.

Eyewitness video footage showed him writhing on the pavement outside a pharmacy as plain-clothes armed police officers pointed hand-held weapons at him and urged passers-by to get to safety.

Amman had a dark vest with silver canisters strapped to his body.

“I’m still shocked,” said Karker Tahir, who works in a barber’s shop on the winding high street. “He was running and he was shot. Police keep saying to him, ‘Don’t move.’

“He was alive, on the floor, a few minutes. I can see him moving his head.”

Tahir said the police told him and his customers to leave through a back exit in case Amman’s vest exploded.

Police cordons remained in place at the scene in Streatham on Monday.

Forensics officers in protective suits and officers in dark uniforms could be seen working outside the pharmacy where Amman was killed.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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