British Counter-Terrorism Police Reading stabbings (screen shot, June 2020) [orig]

Reading Stabbings Were Terrorist Attack

Khairi Saadallah Arrested, Charged Under Terrorism Act

Police have arrested a Libyan refugee for the stabbings in Reading that left three dead and three more injured.

Police were called to Forbury Gardens in Reading to investigate reports of multiple stabbings after a Black Lives Matter demonstration.

One witness, Lawrence Wort, said the attacker ‘shouted unintelligible words’ before attacking several groups of people.

Those killed in the attack were history teacher James Furlong, 36, American Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, and scientist David Wails. All were white Caucasian and at least one was gay.

Khairi Saadallah, 25, came to the UK as a tourist in 2012 before claiming asylum. He is believed to have committed several offences and to have served a prison sentence at least once. Between June 2015 and January 2019 he was convicted six times for eleven offences.

In March 2019, Saadallah spat at Judge Sophie Toms at Reaging magistrates court during his sentencing for offences including racially aggravated common assault, carrying a bladed article and assaulting an emergency worker.

He was sentenced to 28 months in October 2019 for breaching a suspended prison sentence, but was released earlier this month after serving less than half of his sentence.

Court documents described him as “aggressive and unpredictable”.

extremist reasons

Saadallah was on a terrorist watchlist after he came to the attention of MI5 on suspicion of planning to travel to Syria for “extremist reasons”.

A source told the Sun: ‘Saadallah was on MI5’s radar for a few months last year over his aspirations to travel to Syria. Why was he granted leave to remain at all? There are major questions to be answered.’

The Daily Mail reported that Saadallah had allegedly told friends that he had been a child soldier in Libya and had fought against the regime of Colonel Gaddafi. He also claimed to have fought for and against the Islamic State.

blood on his hands

At around 19:10 four police cars were seen driving fast to the scene of the crime. According to press reports, witness Sydney McDonald said “There was a guy and I saw him pointing to a man and saying ‘There he is, there he is’. If he hadn’t, they would have missed him. He was running really fast, properly fast. They put the emergency brakes on, jumped out of the car and rugby-tackled him to the floor. He was on his stomach and the blood on his hands looked like he had put his hand in a big bucket of red paint.”

Saadallah was then arrested by police officers under the Terrorism Act.

In follow-up operations, armed police evacuated blocks of flats in Basingstoke Road at 23:00 Saturday. A loud bang was heard at 00:30 Sunday as counter-terrorist police made their entry into the suspect’s council-owned flat.

Afterwards, Saadallah’s brother Mo posted on Facebook, saying: “This is not true. Khairi defended himself… racist countries. Freedom for my brother Before !!” On Sunday he posted: “We are not terrois (sic) and f*** England. #The_kingdom_of_racism”.

Terror Threat Growing

Former head of counter terrorism at MI6 Richard Barrett told the BBC: ‘As security service chiefs have said in the past, it is impossible to protect society from all terrorism. So, the fact that there are now, what, 800 or so active investigations going on by the security services into terrorist, or possible terrorist plots, is an indication of the scale of the problem”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said in Parliament that it is “clear that the threat posed by lone actors is growing”.

In the last three years, UK security services have prevented 25 terrorist attacks.

Sources: various.