LONDON • A 29-year-old man appeared in court yesterday after being charged by counter-terrorism officers with attempted murder in a weekend knife attack at an underground station in east London.
Wearing a grey T-shirt and tracksuit bottom, Muhaydin Mire of east London spoke only to confirm his name, age and address at Westminster Magistrates' Court. The court was told that he had images associated with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists on his mobile phone.
A 56-year-old unnamed man suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries in the attack at Leytonstone underground station, about 10km east of central London, while a second person suffered minor injuries. British Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday described the incident as "a hideous attack".
Prosecutor David Cawthorne said the attack occurred at 1900 GMT last Saturday (3am on Sunday, Singapore time) as the victim was walking through the station. "It was a violent, sustained and unprovoked attack during which the victim was punched, knocked to the ground and repeatedly kicked on the ground."
The victim suffered a 12cm wound to his neck and was in surgery for five hours, he added.
Mire was remanded in custody to appear at London's central criminal court, the Old Bailey, on Friday.
Britain is on its second-highest security alert level of "severe", meaning a militant attack is considered highly likely, though not imminent, mainly because of the threat posed by ISIS militants.
The authorities say British security forces have thwarted seven terrorist plots in the past year. Last week, British warplanes joined air strikes for the first time against ISIS in Syria.
After the Nov 13 attacks in Paris, claimed by ISIS, that killed 130 people, London police said they boosted the number of armed officers able to respond to any incident.
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock from the British Transport Police said the number of firearms teams had doubled in the past year, and they had boosted the number of officers and patrols across the underground network in response to last Saturday's stabbing.
"We work very closely with all our intelligence partners and if we do have any indication that there is likely to be something significant, we intervene," he told BBC Radio.
The stabbing provoked a defiant riposte from a bystander that has struck a chord in Britain: "You ain't no Muslim, bruv". It has swiftly become a popular Twitter hashtag, #YouAintNoMuslimBruv, and is intended to deny that such an attack could have anything to do with Islam. Some Twitter users quoted Islamic scripture to contradict militant Islamists who try to use Islam to justify attacks on unarmed civilians and to recruit followers in the West and the Middle East.
"#YouAintNoMuslimBruv, just another psychopath attempting to use religion as an excuse to justify your barbaric actions!!" said one Twitter user, Natasha.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE