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Islamic State group claims responsibility for south London attack

Police officers search a site on Streatham High Road in south London on February 3, 2020.
Police officers search a site on Streatham High Road in south London on February 3, 2020. © Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP
4 min

The Islamic State (IS) group said Monday that a man who stabbed two people in a busy south London street the day before was one of its fighters. 

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"The attacker in the Streatham area in south London yesterday is an IS fighter, and he carried out the attack in response to a call to target nationals" of countries belonging to the global anti-IS coalition, the IS group's propaganda arm said in a statement released through the Telegram messaging application.

The claim came as British police on Monday searched two sites, one address in south London and one in Bishop's Stortford, north of the capital near London Stansted Airport.

The assailant has been identified as 20-year-old Sudesh Amman by British media. He was wearing a fake suicide vest at the time of the attack on a busy shopping street in south London Sunday. Amman was shot dead by the police after stabbing and injuring two people.

 Amman was recently freed early from prison after serving part of his sentence for a string of Islamist-related terror offences - namely the possession and distribution of terrorist documents.

He had been arrested in London in May 2018 on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. He was jailed for three years and four months in December 2018 for 13 separate offences. 

As part of what police said was a "proactive counter-terrorism surveillance operation", armed officers were following him on foot following his release.

 Early release from prison
 
                
Sunday's incident came just over two months after a similar incident when armed police shot dead a convicted terrorist on early release near London Bridge in the heart of the city. He had stabbed two people to death after attending a prisoner rehabilitation conference.

In the latest case, the attacker had been staying in a nearby hostel for newly-released prisoners, according to British media.

He stole a knife from a cheap goods store, then attacked a woman, then a man further up the high road, before being gunned down.

Eyewitness video footage showed him writhing on the pavement outside a pharmacy as plain-clothes armed police officers pointed hand-held weapons at him and urged passersby to get to safety.

Amman had a dark vest with silver canisters strapped to his body.

"I'm still shocked," said Karker Tahir, who works in a barber's shop on the winding high street. "He was running and he was shot. Police keep saying to him, 'Don't move'.

"He was alive, on the floor, a few minutes. I can see him moving his head."

Tahir said the police told him and his customers to leave through a back exit in case Amman's vest exploded.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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