London metro slashing seen as terrorist attack

Police officers investigate a crime scene at Leytonstone underground station in east London, Britain on Dec 6, 2015.
Police officers investigate a crime scene at Leytonstone underground station in east London, Britain on Dec 6, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Police have uncovered material suggesting that a knife attack at an east London metro station that left one person seriously injured was a terrorist incident. The British government urged the public yesterday not to be intimidated by the attack.

The attacker had screamed, "This is for Syria" before lashing out with his knife.

A pool of blood near the ticket barriers at the Leytonstone Underground station, about 10km east of central London, could be seen in footage posted on Twitter that also showed the suspect confronting police officers on Saturday evening.

Police said initial reports indicated that the man, believed to be aged 29, had also threatened other bystanders.

One 56-year-old man suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries. Two other people had minor injuries, police said.

"We are treating this as a terrorist incident," said Mr Richard Walton, who leads the Counter Terrorism Command at London's Metropolitan Police.

The man was arrested after police discharged a Taser, used to stun suspects.

The attack came at the end of a week in which the British Parliament voted to join the air strikes on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets in Syria for the first time. It also comes less than a month after the Nov 13 attacks in Paris claimed by ISIS.

Senior government minister Iain Duncan Smith said that, whatever the circumstances, Britons must not let the Leytonstone incident affect their behaviour.

"We cannot let these sort of people, terrorists et cetera, actually dominate our space," he told the BBC.

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe", meaning a militant attack is considered highly likely, mainly because of the threat posed by ISIS militants.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2015, with the headline 'London metro slashing seen as terrorist attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe