No terror motive behind London knife attack, say police - NEWS SENTRY


Thursday, 4 August 2016

No terror motive behind London knife attack, say police

A police officer stands guard at the scene of a knife attack in Russell Square in London on Thursday.
A man who stabbed an American woman to death and injured five other people in London’s Russell Square is a Norwegian of Somali origin, police said on Thursday. They said they have found no signs of radicalisation as a motive.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said the investigation “increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues.”
“So far we have found no evidence of radicalisation or anything that would suggest the man in our custody was motivated by terrorism,” Mr. Rowley said.
Mr. Rowley said it appeared to be a “spontaneous attack and that the victims were selected at random”. Detectives from the force’s murder and terrorism squads interviewed the suspect, his family and witnesses and searched several properties, and found no evidence of radicalisation, he said.
Police put more officers on London streets after the incident, which came just days after authorities had warned the public to be vigilant in light of attacks inspired by the Islamic State group elsewhere in Europe.
Police said they received “numerous” calls from members of the public at around 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday (3 a.m. IST, Thursday) about a man attacking people with a knife in the streets around Russell Square, a busy central area full of students and tourists.
Officers used a stun gun to subdue a 19-year-old suspect, who was arrested on suspicion of murder.
Ellie Cattle, 21, a student staying in a hotel near the square, said she heard police shouting ‘Put it down, put it down!’
“Then I heard what sounded like a gunshot, but it must have been the Taser,” she said. “After that they just stopped shouting. I didn’t hear any screams from anyone.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the public to keep calm and remain vigilant, and encouraged people to be the first line of defence against any form of attack.
“We all have a vital role to play as eyes and ears for our police and security services and in helping to ensure London is protected,” he said.
Knives are the most common murder weapon in Britain, which has strict gun-control laws. There were 186 knife killings in the year to March 2015, according to government statistics a third of all murders.
In the last three years London has seen two knife attacks by people inspired by radical Islam. In May 2013, two al-Qaeda-inspired London men killed off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in the street near his barracks. In January, mentally ill Muhiddin Mire tried to behead a London Underground passenger, shouting that he was doing it “for Syria”.
The Russell Square incident came within hours of an announcement by London police that they were putting more armed officers on the streets. The idea was to sustain public confidence following attacks by Islamic State-inspired groups in Europe.
Police in Britain do not carry guns for the most part a principle that remains unchanged. Even with the additional armed officers, most of London’s 31,000 police officers will not be armed.

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