Reading terror suspect named as Libyan national Khairi Saadallah
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.
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.’
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.
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.’