The scene of the attack. The body of the terrorist (circled in red) is visible on the top left (News_UK Twitter account, February 2, 2020).
- According to initial information, there are similarities between the current stabbing attack and the attack on London Bridge. In both cases, the perpetrators were Muslims with a jihadist ideology. Both had spent time in prison, served only part of their sentences, and were subsequently released under police surveillance. Although it was a stabbing attack, both terrorists wore dummy explosive belts, apparently as a threat and a deterrent.
- The current attack in south London demonstrates once again that there is a potential of jihadist supporters in Britain who carry out ISIS-inspired attacks (mainly stabbing and ramming attacks) from time to time (see appendix). In other Western European countries such as France, for example, there is a similar potential, which has not yet been realized (since the beginning of 2019, Britain has been the only scene of ISIS-inspired attacks in Western countries). However, in the ITIC’s assessment, such a potential is liable to be realized in the future also outside Britain.
The stabbing attack in London
Overview (updated to February 3, 2020)
Right: The scene of the attack. The body of the terrorist (circled in red) is visible on the top left (News_UK Twitter account, February 2, 2020). Left: The body of the stabber (Diary Of An OTD Girl Twitter account, February 2, 2020).
The body of the stabber. The knife that he used is next to him
(News_UK Twitter account, February 2, 2020)
- The stabbing attack took place at noon on Streatham High Road, in south London. The terrorist, who was wearing a dummy explosive belt, pulled out a knife and began stabbing passersby. According to policemen who were there, he called out “Allah Akbar.” The terrorist was shot and killed by police. Two passersby (a man and a woman) were wounded, one of them seriously. Another woman was apparently wounded by glass fragments as a result of shots fired by the police.
- Sudesh Amman was released after serving half of his sentence, like many terrorist offenders in London (including the terrorist offender who carried out a stabbing attack on London Bridge about two months ago). The British government announced on February 3, 2020, that it would work to change the law, noting that terrorist convicts would have to serve at least two-thirds of their sentences if the parole committee’s approval is obtained. This is in order not to automatically release terrorist convicts after they have served half of their sentence without any examination or supervision (Time, February 3, 2020).
ISIS’s claim of responsibility for the attack
- ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack the next day (February 3, 2020). The claim of responsibility states that the person who carried out the attack in London “was one of the fighters of the Islamic State. He carried out the attack in response to calls [by ISIS] to attack the citizens of the countries of the [International] Coalition [against ISIS].”
ISIS’s claim of responsibility
(Telegram, February 3, 2020)
- In response to the attack, an ISIS-affiliated media outlet known as Quraysh Media published a poster showing the terrorist who carried out the previous stabbing attack on London Bridge, along with the caption: “Part of revenge because your government intervened in the Islamic State war” (Telegram, February 3, 2020).
Poster showing the terrorist who carried out the stabbing attack in London Bridge
(Telegram, February 3, 2020)
Brief profile of Sudesh Amman, the perpetrator of the stabbing attack in London
- The perpetrator of the stabbing attack was Sudesh Amman, 20. He was arrested in 2018 and charged with 13 terror offenses for possession of terrorist documents and dissemination of terrorist publications. He was sentenced to three years in prison. He was recently released after serving half of his sentence. Since his release, he has been under police surveillance.
The stabber, Sudesh Amman, during his imprisonment in 2018
(Al-Bayan, February 3, 2020)
- In December 2017, Sudesh Amman posted a photo of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (ISIS’s leader who was killed during a US raid in Syria). He sent his brother a message saying that “the Islamic State is here to stay” (a well-known mantra of ISIS). He also described Yazidi women as slaves and said that the Quran permits raping them. In another message, he encouraged his girlfriend to kill her “kuffar” (infidel) parents. In addition, police say he shared an article in Al-Qaeda’s online magazine with his family (BBC; Reuters, February 3, 2020).
- On November 7, 2018, the British Daily Mail published details of his arrest. According to the article, Sudesh Amman began to commit terrorist offenses at the age of 17. An examination of his personal computers and cellphone revealed that he used his family’s WhatsApp group to share an article in an Al-Qaeda magazine with his five siblings and members of his extended family in Sri Lanka. The article encouraged lone wolf terrorist attacks inspired by the pipe bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey in September 2016. When he was arrested, police found training material in his possession on knife fighting techniques, and manuals for making IEDs (including a book entitled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom”). According to the prosecution, Sudesh shared the instructions for making IEDs with another person (Daily Mail, 7 November 2018).
Attacks carried out in London in recent years
- The current attack comes after several other terrorist attacks, mainly stabbing and ramming attacks, carried out in London in recent years and inspired by ISIS (which claimed responsibility for them):
- On November 29, 2019, a stabbing attack was carried out on London Bridge by a terrorist who had been released from prison under surveillance. Two passersby were killed and three others were wounded.
- On September 15, 2017, an IED exploded on a passenger train at Parsons Green train station in west London. A total of 29 people were wounded, some suffering from burns, and others were wounded in the pandemonium as they tried to flee.
- June 3, 2017, Ramming and stabbing attack on London Bridge carried out by three terrorists who drove onto the sidewalk, ramming pedestrians. The vehicle then stopped in the nearby Borough Market entertainment area, where the terrorists began stabbing passersby. Seven passersby were killed and 48 were wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
- On March 22, 2017, a terrorist driving a car (which he had rented several days before the attack) rammed passersby on Westminster Bridge in London. He then got out of the car and stabbed a policeman to death at the entrance to the Palace of Westminster. The stabber was shot and killed by police. A total of 40 people were wounded, seven of them critically.
- On December 5, 2015, a terrorist attacked a passenger at the Leytonstone Underground station in east London. The attacker slit his throat with a knife while shouting “This is for Syria” and “Blood will be spilled here” and threatened to attack other passengers. Police on the platform arrested the attacker. The passenger was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Another passenger suffered minor injuries.
 The terrorist who carried out the stabbing attack on London Bridge (November 29, 2019) also wore a dummy explosive belt. ↑
 On September 17-19, 2016, three IEDs exploded in New York and New Jersey, injuring 31 people. On the morning of September 17, a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park in New Jersey. Later that day, a pressure cooker bomb exploded in the New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and a second pressure cooker bomb was discovered four blocks away. On September 18-19, IEDs were discovered at the Elizabeth train station in New Jersey. Ahmad Khan Rahimi, who was suspected of carrying out the attacks, was apprehended on September 19, 2019. Rahimi did not belong to any organized terrorist network but, according to estimates, his actions were influenced by Al-Qaeda’s radical Islamic ideology (Wikipedia). ↑