The al Qaeda-inspired 28-year-old militant who launched London Bridge assault


LONDON (Information) – 9 years earlier than Usman Khan killed two folks in a stabbing spree on London Bridge, he was overheard by British safety companies discussing the way to use an al Qaeda guide he had memorized to construct a pipe bomb.

It was a snippet of dialog, together with different intelligence a few plot to bomb the London Inventory Change, that prompted British police to arrest Khan – then 19 years previous – and a gaggle of older males on Dec. 20, 2010.

Sentenced to a minimal of eight years in jail in 2012 with a requirement that the parole board assess his hazard to the general public earlier than launch, he was let loose in December 2018 – and not using a parole board evaluation.

On Friday, he strapped on a pretend suicide vest, armed himself with giant kitchen knives and went on the rampage at a convention on prisoner rehabilitation beside London Bridge.

Confronted by bystanders, together with a Polish man brandishing a narwhal tusk he had grabbed from the wall of Fishmongers’ Corridor, Khan was wrestled to the bottom. Three armed law enforcement officials surrounded him. They fired twice. He was lifeless.

“This particular person was recognized to authorities,” stated Britain’s high counter terrorism officer, Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu. “A key line of enquiry now could be to determine how he got here to hold out this assault.”

It’s so far unclear why Khan, now 28, started his rampage on London Bridge – the scene of one other lethal assault earlier than the 2017 election. Then, three militants drove a van into pedestrians earlier than stabbing folks within the surrounding space, killing eight and injuring not less than 48.

Islamic State stated its fighters had been liable for the 2017 assault, however the British authorities have solid doubt on these claims.


Khan, a British man whose household hails from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, was radicalized by web propaganda unfold by Al Qaeda within the Arabian Peninsula, and particularly by militant Anwar al-Awlaki.

Awlaki, recognized by U.S. intelligence as “chief of exterior operations” for al Qaeda’s Yemeni department and a Net-savvy publicist for the Islamist trigger, was killed in a CIA drone strike in 2011.

Khan was a part of a gaggle of militants from the English metropolis of Stoke which solid shut hyperlinks with militants from London and the Welsh capital Cardiff.

The London and Welsh elements of the conspiracy had ambitions to position a bomb in a bathroom on the London Inventory Change.

Whereas Khan knew and supported the bomb plans, and had mentioned bombing native pubs, he and his Stoke group had hatched a probably extra sinister plan: a camp beside a mosque in Kashmir to coach jihadist militants.

“The Stoke group was, and was thought of to be, pre-eminent,” British choose Alan Wilkie stated when he sentenced Khan in 2012. “They regarded themselves as extra severe jihadis than the others.”

Khan had been desiring to journey to the camp to good his expertise, together with firearms coaching and to hold out assaults in Kashmir.

“It was envisaged by all of them that finally they, and the opposite recruits, could return to the UK as skilled and skilled terrorists obtainable to carry out terrorist assaults on this nation,” Wilkie stated.


When sentencing Khan in 2012, Wilkie stated that he was so harmful that he was imposing a so-called imprisonment for public safety (IPP) indeterminate sentence of eight years.

“The lengthy, monitored, discussions of Usman Khan in regards to the madrassa (coaching camp) and his attitudes towards it and terrorism are extremely eloquent of the seriousness of their goal,” Wilkie stated.

In impact, it meant he would stay incarcerated so long as he was thought of to be a hazard to the general public and that the parole board ought to assess whether or not he needs to be launched.

However in 2011, then-Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron introduced a evaluation of the IPP sentencing. The IPP was abolished in 2012.

After Khan appealed his sentence, enchantment court docket judges in 2013 quashed the indeterminate interval of incarceration and he was given a determinate sentence of 16 years – that means he may very well be launched after serving half of his time period.

Courtroom of Attraction judges stated on the time that the Parole Board ought to take into account whether or not these convicted had been protected sufficient to be launched. However the Parole Board stated on Saturday that it had not been concerned in deciding Khan’s launch.

Police cordon is seen on the scene of a stabbing on London Bridge, by which two folks had been killed, in London, Britain, November 30, 2019. Information/Simon Dawson

“The Parole Board can affirm it had no involvement with the discharge of the person recognized because the attacker,” the board stated, including that Khan “seems to have been launched routinely on license (as required by regulation), with out ever being referred to the Board.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, searching for re-election on Dec. 12, stated it was vital to implement terrorism-related sentences.

“It doesn’t make sense for us, as a society, to be placing folks convicted of terrorist offences, severe violent offences, out on early launch,” he stated on Saturday after visiting the scene of the assault.

Writing by Man Faulconbridge; Modifying by Toby Chopra and Hugh Lawson