ISIS claims London Bridge terror attack

 

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the London Bridge terror attack, calling Usman Khan its fighter.

The group announced the claim through the terror-linked Amaq news outlet.

Islamic State claimed the attack came after it sought terrorists to target countries who had been part of the coalition to stamp out the evil regime.

Khan, 28, who was attending a Cambridge University conference aimed to show how prisoners can rehabilitate, was shot dead by police on London Bridge after he stabbed two people to death and wounded three others, including a child, while wearing a fake suicide vest.

Jack Merritt was running a course at Fishmongers’ Hall when he was stabbed to death.
Jack Merritt was running a course at Fishmongers’ Hall when he was stabbed to death.

The claim by ISIS comes as a former UK cop questioned why convicted terrorist Khan, who was jailed in 2012 for his role in a terror group that plotted to bomb the London Stock Exchange, was allowed into central London while out on parole.

Richard Walton, who headed the Metropolitan Police's counter-terrorism command between 2011 and 2016, said: "His licence (parole) conditions should have restricted him from visiting central London."

Terror attack victim Jack Merritt.
Terror attack victim Jack Merritt.

"It is unusual for terrorist prisoners who have been released to go on to commit attacks. Every case is unique and risk assessments are complex.

"The only way to be 100 per cent certain of zero risk is to keep a prisoner in prison. All forms of surveillance have limitations."

A heartbroken father has named Jack Merritt, 25, as one of the two victims killed by Khan at the prisoner rehabilitation conference at Fishmongers' Hall, as he begged for his son's death not to spark a law and order election debate..

The scene on London Bridge after the horrific attack. Picture: AP
The scene on London Bridge after the horrific attack. Picture: AP

 

A scenes of crime officer removes a large piece of evidence from the scene.Picture: Getty Images
A scenes of crime officer removes a large piece of evidence from the scene.Picture: Getty Images

Mr Merritt was a Learning Together course councillor and worked with the same prison rehabilitation program that Usman Khan had attended.

He and a still unnamed woman were both murdered by Khan, who had been attending the conference at Fishmongers Hall put on by Mr Merritt's group as a guest and example of successful rehabilitation.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the attack to push for harsher sentences for terrorists, but Mr Merritt's father took to Twitter to say that is not what his late son would have wanted.

"My son, Jack, who was killed in this attack, would not wish his death to be used as the pretext for more draconian sentences or for detaining people unnecessarily," Mr Merritt wrote.

"R.I.P. Jack: you were a beautiful spirit who always took the side of the underdog."

Mr Johnson visited the London Bridge attack site with Home Secretary Priti Patel and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

The UK Prime Minister argued at London Bridge that it was a mistake to let Khan out of jail early and that longer sentences were needed to protect the public.

"This guy was out on automatic early release and I have long said that this system simply isn't working," Mr Johnson said.

"It does not make sense for us as a society for us to putting terrorists out on early release.

"People should serve the sentences they are sentenced to. That's my immediate takeaway from this."

AUSSIE VICTIM'S PARENTS SLAM UK AUTHORITIES

The parents of an Australian woman killed in the 2017 London Bridge attack say British authorities did not learn from their daughter's death and should have been monitoring terrorist Usman Khan to prevent the latest tragedy.

Brisbane au pair Sara Zelenak, 21, was on a night out with friends when she was killed after she slipped in her high heels as she tried to flee from terrorists Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba.

Sara Zelenak’s parents, Julie and Mark Wallace, says Usman Khan should have been monitored to prevent the latest tragedy. Picture: South West News Service
Sara Zelenak’s parents, Julie and Mark Wallace, says Usman Khan should have been monitored to prevent the latest tragedy. Picture: South West News Service

The release of Usman Khan was not referred to the parole board because it was automatic when he had served half of his sentence.

Ms Zelenak's mother Julie Wallace, 52, said terrorists must be monitored.

"I don't think they have made a good choice, if they are going to just let him out they have to watch him," she said.

"It's not strong enough, they have got to look after people."

She said that she and husband Mark Wallace, 51, felt awful when they heard the reports of the latest attack, which killed two people and injured three others.

"I woke up really early this morning and I was just unhappy and then we heard the news, all my hairs on my arm stood up on end, it just brought the whole thing back," Ms Wallace said.

"There's just so much pain."

Sara Zelenak was killed in the 2017 London Bridge terror attack.
Sara Zelenak was killed in the 2017 London Bridge terror attack.

Ms Zelenak, who had been living in London, was stabbed on June 3, 2017, among eight victims who also included South Australian nurse Kirsty Boden, 28.

First responders at the scene worked on Ms Zelenak for at least 10 minutes but she was unable to be saved.

Those who helped her rang the Wallaces yesterday to check if they were okay.

The family's liaison officer, who helped them through the ordeal, was on London Bridge paying his respects minutes before the latest attack, she said.

"I'm so glad he wasn't there," she said.

"We've been inundated with calls."

The latest attack has stunned Ms Wallace because she said it confirmed that nowhere was safe.

"We all travel and we encourage our kids to go overseas and see the world," she said.

Ms Zelenak's parents have become advocates for victims of terror attacks and were in Nice, France, last week attending a conference with 750 other terror survivors and their families.

They set up the charity Sarz Sanctuary, which will be having a fundraiser in Cleveland at 4pm on Sunday, Brisbane time.

The money raised will go towards setting a retreat for counselling for terror survivors to be built in the Noosa Hinterland.

SHOCKING FOOTAGE SHOWS ATTACKER'S RAMPAGE

Dramatic footage shows the terrifying moment Usman Khan was shot dead by a police after being pinned to the ground by brave bystanders.

Two brave members of the public chased after Khan after he went on his stabbing rampage.

One of the heroes was armed with a narwhal tusk - ripped from the wall of the heritage-listed Fishmongers' Hall building - and another with a fire extinguisher.

Armed police were heard shouting "stop moving" twice before shooting Khan at close range.

Usman Khan is tackled by members of the public and then shot dead by armed officers on London Bridge. Picture: AP
Usman Khan is tackled by members of the public and then shot dead by armed officers on London Bridge. Picture: AP

 

In footage from the scene, a bystander runs with the knife used by Usman Khan after a group wrestled the terrorist to the ground. Picture: AP
In footage from the scene, a bystander runs with the knife used by Usman Khan after a group wrestled the terrorist to the ground. Picture: AP

Tour guides Thomas Gray and Stevie Hurst also risked their lives to pin the attacker to the ground.

The pair, who drive tourists around London in Mini Coopers jumped out of their car to offer help.

The shocked bystander holds a knife used by the attacker. Picture: AP
The shocked bystander holds a knife used by the attacker. Picture: AP

"When we got there he was wielding two knives, one was duct-taped to his hand so all I could do after the guys had held him down and were pinning him to the ground, tried to stamp as hard as I could on his wrist to try and release the knife as it were," Mr Gray said.

"Someone kicked the knife away, somewhere northbound up London Bridge and then after that the police armed response were really quick, got there almost instantaneously, and at that point we were told he had a bomb vest so we cleared house and got out the way."

OUTRAGE OVER KHAN'S RELEASE

The deadly incident has also raised questions surrounding how someone who was electronically tagged to monitor his movements could fool authorities into thinking that he was no longer a threat.

Khan, whose family originates from Pakistan, was jailed for his part in a plan to bomb the London Stock Exchange and fund an overseas terror camp.

 

He was sentenced to eight years' jail in 2012, but was released last year after agreeing to wear an electronic tag.

The group planned to set up a jihadi training camp in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to be used by British jihadis.

Justice Wilkie said when sentencing Khan in 2012: "It was envisaged by them all that ultimately they and the other recruits may return to the UK as trained and experienced terrorists available to perform terrorist attacks in this country, on one possibility contemplated in the context of the return of British troops from Afghanistan."

Court documents reveal that Khan wanted to be jihadi.

"At some time, the accused each became a committed Islamic fundamentalist, believing in jihad, that is to say, they wished to support and commit acts of terrorism in furtherance of their religious beliefs," a court document states.

"They came to the attention of the security services who monitored them using covert surveillance techniques and devices and were able to effect their arrest prior to advanced steps having been taken to implement their plans."

British-born terrorist Usman Khan was imprisoned for six years for terrorism offences before his release last year. Picture: AP
British-born terrorist Usman Khan was imprisoned for six years for terrorism offences before his release last year. Picture: AP


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