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The knifeman who strapped a fake bomb vest to his chest before stabbing two people in South London had been released from prison just days earlier.
Sudesh Amman, 19, was being monitored by counter-terror cops before the “knife obsessed” jihadi went on a rampage on Streatham High Road early this morning.
Frantic witnesses heard gunshots and saw the man – who security sources say has “Islamist” links – collapse on the pavement on Streatham High Road.
Amman, from Harrow, North London, was sentenced to more than three years in jail but let-out on automatic release after serving half his sentence – despite concerns he still held extremist views.
The ISIS-supporting jihadi, who was only a teenager when arrested, was jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents.
Amman also shared an Al-Qaeda magazine in his family WhatsApp group and told his siblings “the Islamic State is here to stay”, the court heard.
He possessed bomb making manuals and fantasised about carrying out acid attacks, his trial was told.
A source said Amman was released early because there was nothing the authorities could do under existing laws to keep him behind bars.
He was put under the most stringent licencing terms and that’s why the police were on the scene so quickly today.
There was an angry reaction in the UK as news broke that Amman was a convicted terrorist.
PM Boris Johnson’s office released a statement saying the government would “announce further plans for fundamental changes to the system for dealing with those convicted of terrorism offences”.
Broadcaster Piers Morgan responded: “Too late for the people stabbed today. Why are these known jihadis out on our streets Boris Johnson?
“This is happening on YOUR watch.”
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 2, 2020
Scotland Yard is yet to confirm that Amman was known to counter-terror authorities, yet the speed of their response suggest that he may have been on a watch-list.
Witness Kiranjeet Singh, 38, told the Sun Online Amman stole a 10inch knife from his brother’s bargain shop before leaving a trail of injured people in his wake.
He stabbed a terrified woman in the back before she ran away screaming in pain, another witness said, before slashing a young man in the chest with a “huge knife”.
Panicked people urged the wounded man to “stay with us” as he lay gravely injured on the ground.
Armed cops raced to take down the knife-wielding man – thought to be wearing something resembling a suicide vest – and shot him three times just after 2pm.
Security sources have said it is being treated as an “Islamist” attack – after tentative cops were seen approaching his body.
#INCIDENT A man has been shot by armed officers in #Streatham. At this stage it is believed a number of people have been stabbed. The circumstances are being assessed; the incident has been declared as terrorist-related. Please follow @metpoliceuk for updates
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) February 2, 2020
*UPDATED STATEMENT* on our response to this afternoon’s incident in #Streatham.
We treated three patients for injuries at the scene, and took all three people to hospital. pic.twitter.com/oDCIO3sh6i
— London Ambulance Service (@Ldn_Ambulance) February 2, 2020
A Metropolitan Police statement said: “A man has been shot by armed officers in #Streatham. At this stage it is believed a number of people have been stabbed.
“The circumstances are being assessed; the incident has been declared as terrorist-related.”
Cops shouted for people to “get back” as they cleared the area of shoppers and bystanders immediately after the shooting.
One horrified witness who watched the sickening scenes unfold told The Sun: “I was outside having a cigarette near Argos and Iceland when I saw a woman in hysterics running up the street screaming ‘he stabbed me in the back’.
“As that was happening I looked up and saw another commotion and a man run away with a huge knife.
“There was a guy on the floor covered in blood with a huge gash down his side.
“He was in a really bad way and people were circled round him shouting ‘stay with us’. His clothes were soaked in blood.
“Then I heard the gunshots. There was one first. Then a pause for a while and two or three more.
“The guy was just running around with a huge knife randomly stabbing people so police had to stop him.
“The police seemed to arrive pretty quickly but I was standing outside for at least 25 minutes before the first ambulance arrived. It was too slow.
“They went straight to the guy on the floor to help him then what looked like specialist police doctors or something came and helped too.”
Following the shocking attack the US Embassy told people to stay away from the Streatham area.
SUSPECT ‘KNOWN TO POLICE’
It has been suggested the armed man was known to cops, after dozens of armed police and undercover officers flooded the south London high street minutes after his rampage began.
Streatham MP Bell Ribero-Addy, told Sky News: “The police have been very clear that this was an isolated incident.”
“For them to have responded that quickly they must’ve been aware of something, so that shows that they are doing good work in terms of investigating individuals.”
Co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, 48, who heard the gunshots, told Sun Online: “I am absolutely shocked and devastated.
“I am in disbelief that this could happen in Streatham. “This is one of the most diverse, inclusive and tolerant communities in London.
“To have the police day so quickly that this is a terror related incident leaves a lot of questions about how this happened.
“A huge thank you to the police and emergency services who reacted so quickly, the fact they did so and the numbers that arrived raises questions for us I think.
“Did they know something? Was there some intelligence?”
It comes two months after a horrifying terror attack at London Bridge by a convicted terrorist, which saw two people die.
Images from today show an armed police officer standing next to a black BMW stopped in the middle of the street.
He could be seen pointing a gun at a man lying on the floor outside a Boots – with a knife discarded nearby.
And in another picture of the scene a number of injured people being treated on the pavement can be seen behind a cop moving bystanders away.
Gulled Bulhan, a 19-year-old student from Streatham, said: “I was crossing the road when I saw a man with a machete and silver canisters on his chest being chased by what I assume was an undercover police officer – as they were in civilian clothing.”
A video taken just after the man was shot showed armed cops suddenly dashing away from the body, after noticing he appeared to have a suicide vest strapped on.
Emma Taylor, 31, from Streatham Hill, told the Sun Online: “I was walking up the high street after going for brunch with some friends and we saw a woman screaming outside a small hardware shop next to Iceland.
“As we approached her she was in serious distress and she shouted ‘he’s just grabbed a knife from my shop and stabbed a lady’”.
“She stopped us from going any further and that’s when we saw the woman, just five metres in front us, being attended to by paramedics.
“She kept trying to get up, she was in pure shock. Before we saw all this, I remember unmarked police cars whizzing past us.
“There was armed police everywhere – it was like something out of a film.
“The woman, who owns the hardware shop, kept repeating ‘he stabbed her in the back’.”
“There was helicopters and all sorts and as we walked off the woman seemed to be OK.
“Had it been 20 odd seconds earlier we would have been right on top of it all.”
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We have a number of resources attending an incident in Streatham High Road.”
One person tweeted: “Be careful out today in London, just seen about two dozen armed police, a man shot and two stab victims receiving urgent medical care.”
A witness, Dave Chawner, posted: “I had to stay with someone who’d just been #stabbed in #Streatham for 30 minutes before a single ambulance arrived. I hope he made it.”
And another said: “What the hell is going on in Streatham?!? Helicopters circling above and sirens outside. Twitter saying a man has been shot dead.
“It’s a Sunday afternoon and families are everywhere. Very scary.”
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