London terrorist’s chilling backstory
Usman Khan, the terrorist who killed two people at London Bridge and injured several others, had a string of previous terror offences.
The 28-year-old, who was shot dead by police, had previously been jailed for his role in the Stock Exchange terror plot which was disrupted by British security officials.
Khan was just a teenager when he was first recognised by security services, after he joined a group of men who preached a radical interpretation of Islam.
This attack took place under a year after he was released from prison.
HOW LONDON TERRORIST WAS RADICALISED
Khan was a teenager when he was first recognised by security services.
At age 19, he was the youngest in a group of four men from Stoke-on-Trent who participated in a local branch of Al-Muhajiroun — a militant jihadist organisation that included notorious radical cleric Anjem Choudary.
According to Sky News, Khan was a “student and personal friend” of Choudary’s, a controversial figure who has been denounced by mainstream Muslim groups and widely criticised in UK media for his extremist views.
The group of nine attracted the interest of British security services, including MI5, after they went public attempting to convert others to their radical interpretation of Islam.
During this time, they plotted to bomb a number of local pubs, and planned to open a militant training camp in land owned by Khan’s family in Kashmir, according to The Independent.
Khan and accomplice Nazam Hussein planned to use an Islamic religious school as a base to offer firearms training for jihadist operations in Kashmir and Pakistan.
The pair eventually formed a group of nine from across the UK to achieve their goals. They came up with numerous targets for a terror attack including Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Boris Johnson’s then-Mayoral Office, the US Embassy and the Church of Scientology.
Finally, they settled on placing a pipe bomb in a bathroom at the London Stock Exchange. But before he could travel to Kashmir in January 2011, Khan was arrested along with several other members of the group under Operation Norbury.
He was jailed in 2012, and initially handed a minimum sentence of eight years, as well as being monitored for 30 years following his release.
This indefinite sentence was later relaxed after an appeal, with Khan told to serve eight years of a 16-year fixed term sentence.
The terror suspect lies on London Bridge after being chased by witnesses armed with a narwhal tusk and a fire extinguisher before being shot by police. Picture: Cliff Hide / The TimesSource:Supplied
Lord Justice Leveson said at the time: “There is no doubt that anyone convicted of this type of offence could legitimately be considered dangerous.
“There is an argument for concluding that anyone convicted of such an offence should be incentivised to demonstrate that he can safely be released; such a decision is then better left to the Parole Board for consideration proximate in time to the date when release becomes possible.”
Khan was allowed to walk free in December 2018. Less than a year later, he would carry out his attack on the London Bridge.
TERRORIST’S BIZARRE ACT BEFORE ATTACK
In a bizarre development, it has emerged that Khan may have attended a story telling and creative workshop at Fishmongers’ Hall just moments before he threatened to blow up the venue.
Ironically the University of Cambridge-organised conference was on prisoner rehabilitation.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope said he was “devastated” that an event organised by its Institute of Criminology was targeted in the attack.
“I am devastated to learn that today’s hateful attack on London Bridge may have been targeted at staff, students and alumni attending an event organised by the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology,” he said.
“We are in touch with the Metropolitan Police, and awaiting further details of the victims.
“We mourn the dead and we hope for a speedy recovery for the injured. Our thoughts are with all their families and friends.”
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