Paroled terrorist convicted in 2012 for plotting bomb attacks on London Stock Exchange, U.S. Embassy
The London Bridge attacker, who murdered at least two people on Friday, has been identified as an Islamic terrorist previously convicted of planning an Al Qaeda terror plot in London. The 28-yer-old terrorist of Pakistani origin, Usman Khan, was out on parole after serving less than seven years of his 16-year prison sentence for planning to blow up the London Stock Exchange and U.S. embassy, among other targets. The convicted terrorist was wearing an electronic tag at the time of the attack, the UK news reports confirm.
The convicted Islamist murdered two people and injured three others at London Bridge on Friday afternoon. He went on a stabbing spree at a criminal justice seminar and was taken out on the spot by the special forces.
Further bloodshed was averted by the truly heroic response by Londoners at the scene, with several members of the public seen running towards the attacker and snatching away the knives from him. “I jumped in and kicked him in the head to make him release his knife. A few others did so,” a man said, who got out his car to tackle the attacker.
Khan was convicted in 2012 for his role in the London Stock Exchange terror plot, as well as planning bomb attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Britain and the residence of Boris Johnson, who was then serving as the Mayor of London. Khan’s co-conspirators “conducted a surveillance trip around central London” and “talked about launching a Mumbai-style attack on Parliament.” They had also planned to set up a jihadi training camp in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, BBC disclosed.
British newspaper Daily Telegraph reported Khan’s background:
In 2012, Khan became a convicted terrorist for his role in the Stock Exchange plot, a planned scheme for a Christmas bomb attack on the London Stock Exchange, the American embassy and the home of Boris Johnson, who was then the Mayor of London.
At the time of his sentencing, the judge warned that he was a “serious jihadist” who should not be released while he remained a threat to the public. (…)
Khan pleaded guilty in 2012 to preparing acts of terrorism as a member of an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell which contained eight other men.
Khan, along with two co-conspirators, originally received an indeterminate sentence for public protection but this was quashed at the Court of Appeal in April 2013 and he was given a 16-year jail term. In February 2012, Khan was ordered to serve at least eight years in prison.
The other conspirators had conducted a surveillance trip around central London and talked about launching a Mumbai-style attack on Parliament. They had also planned to build a terrorist training camp on land in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir owned by Khan’s family.
The sentencing judge had spoken against the early release of Khan and his jihadi co-conspirators. “In my judgment, these offenders would remain, even after a lengthy term of imprisonment, of such a significant risk that the public could not be adequately protected by their being managed on licence in the community, subject to conditions, by reference to a preordained release date,” Justice Wilkie said at that time.
As it emerges, the UK prison authorities ignored those clear warnings and released the Islamists after light sentences.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the early release program for terrorists and hardened criminals after it became known that the London Bridge attacker was out of prison on an electronic tag.
The problem, however, is not restricted to convicted Islamists alone. The United Kingdom is home to about 25,000 Muslim radicals who pose serious threat to the public, European counter-terrorism services estimate. The threat is compounded by the Islamic State terrorists returning from Syria and Iraq. More than 400 ISIS war criminals with British nationality have returned “home” and most of them are allowed to walk free. According to the British newspaper Independent in February 2019, only “one in 10 jihadis returning from Syria to the UK have been prosecuted.”
The UK immigration policies haven’t helped either, paving the way for migrants from jihad-infested regions of the Middle East and South Asia to settle in the British Isles. The opposition Labour Party is promising even more liberal immigration policies to woo migrant voters ahead of the December 12 general election. With Britain’s law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies struggling to deal with the current level of Islamist threat, open door immigration will make the country even less safe.
[Cover image via YouTube]
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