/Reading terror suspect named as Libyan national Khairi Saadallah

Reading terror suspect named as Libyan national Khairi Saadallah

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The suspected knifeman behind the Reading attack which killed three people is understood to be named Khairi Saadallah.

Three people were also left seriously injured in the incident, which happened in Forbury Gardens, in the centre of Reading, at around 7pm on June 20. Officers from Thames Valley Police have now confirmed they are treating the case as a terrorist incident.

Saadallah, 25, is a Libyan asylum seeker, the Press Association reports. A security source told the agency that mental health is being considered a ‘major factor’ in the incident.

He was arrested at the scene after a lone policeman rugby-tackled him to the ground and now remains in police custody.

epa08499954 A police cordon close to the scene where three people were stabbed in Forbury Gardens in Reading, Britain, 21 June 2020. British Police have now declared the incident, where three people were stabbed, a terrorist attack. EPA/ANDY RAIN
The area is still closed off to the public (Picture: EPA)

Armed police officers at a block of flats off the Basingstoke Rd in Reading after an incident at Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday June 20, 2020. At least two people are being treated for knife wounds in hospital, while a source said there had been three fatalities - but this has not been confirmed by emergency services. See PA story POLICE Reading . Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Armed police raided a block of flats close to the scene on Saturday evening (Picture: PA)

Investigators have already said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attack. Last night around 20 armed officers swarmed a four-storey block of flats about a mile from the park, while a helicopter could be seen circling overhead.

Residents of the area described seeing one officer carrying a disc cutter. It is not yet clear what officers were looking for at the premises, or how the suspect is linked to the address, but police presence remains at the site.

Earlier today Chief Constable John Campbell, of Thames Valley Police, asked the public to ‘avoid speculation’ about the attack as he appealed for any video footage to be shared with police only.

He continued: ‘Incidents of this nature are very rare, though I know that will be of little comfort to those involved and understand the concern that this incident will have caused amongst our local community.

‘We will be working closely with our partners over the coming days and weeks to support the Reading community during this time, as well as with Counter-Terror Police South East (CTPSE) as they progress their investigation.’

READING, ENGLAND - JUNE 21: Police officers stand outside the entrances to flats 52, 53 and 54 of a block of flats on the Basingstoke Road on June 21, 2020 in Reading, England. A lone attacker targeted groups of people socialising in Forbury Gardens stabbing them in the neck in what police are treating as a terror incident. Three people have died and three more who were injured are in a serious condition. Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTSPE) raided a block of flats in the city last night. A 25-year-old male Libyan National is in police custody. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Police officers stand outside the entrances to flats 52, 53 and 54 on a block of flats on Basingstoke Road (Picture: Getty Images)

epa08500194 A police cordon close to the scene where three people were stabbed in Forbury Gardens in Reading, Britain, 21 June 2020. British Police have now declared the stabbing incident where three people were killed and other three seriously injured, a terrorist attack. EPA/ANDY RAIN
Three people have died and three remain in hospital in a serious condition (Picture: EPA)

The victims of the attack were described by witnesses as a group of middle-aged men who had been ‘sitting drinking beer’ in the park. The suspect is then said to have approached them and stabbed them ‘in the neck and under the arms’.

Five ambulance crews and two air ambulance services were among the emergency services called to the scene treat the casualties, South Central Ambulance Service said.

thumbnail for post ID 12884306Second Reading attack victim named as friend of teacher who also died

In an interview in Downing Street, Boris Johnson said he was ‘appalled and sickened’ that people should lose their lives in this way. He said his thoughts were ‘very much with the family and the friends of the victims today’.

Last night Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement: ‘This evening we saw a senseless attack on people simply enjoying a Saturday evening with family and friends.

‘My heart, prayers and thoughts are with all of those affected and to the people of Reading who will be deeply shocked and concerned by this terrible incident. I am in contact with the police and will ensure they have all the support they need. I would like to thank Thames Valley Police and the emergency services for their response.’

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