London Bridge attacker was jailed for 'Mumbai-style' strike plan

London Bridge attacker was jailed for 'Mumbai-style' strike plan
A collage of Usman Khan (West Midlands Police). The scene on London Bridge in the aftermath of a reported shooting, in London, Britain.

The Metropolitan Police in London on Saturday identified the man who carried out the knife attack on the historic London Bridge as Usman Khan, a 28-year-old British national of Pakistani origin.

Usman, who was wearing a suspected dud explosive device, stabbed two people to death and injured three others before being shot dead by police in the daytime attack on Friday. The attack began at the Fishmonger's Hall before Usman proceeded to London Bridge.

Usman had been born in London and settled in Staffordshire. "We are now in a position to confirm the identity of the suspect as 28-year-old Usman Khan, who had been residing in the Staffordshire area. As a result, officers are, tonight, carrying out searches at an address in Staffordshire,” Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said in a statement issued past midnight on Saturday. Basu added "This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offences. He was released from prison in December 2018 on licence.”

The Daily Telegraph reported Usman left school with no qualifications after spending part of his late teens in Pakistan, where he lived with his mother when she became ill.

Pakistani newspaper The Dawn provided details of Usman Khan's background on Saturday. The Dawn reported Usman had pleaded guilty in January 2012 to preparing to conduct terror attacks.

Usman was among nine people charged with planning to bomb high-profile targets in London in the run-up to Christmas in 2010. The suspects were described as being part of an "al Qaeda-inspired" group that wanted to carry out bomb attacks and a "Mumbai-style" strike. In November 2008, terrorists from Pakistan carried out coordinated gun and bomb attacks at multiple locations in Mumbai, killing 166 people.

The targets the group planned to hit in 2010 included the residence of then London mayor Boris Johnson, the US embassy and the London Stock Exchange. The group also planned to set up a jihadi training camp in Pakistan.

Usman was sentenced to "detention for public protection with a minimum custodial term of eight years," The Dawn reported. Such a sentence aims to protect the public from offenders, who did not merit a life sentence.

In 2013, the UK's Court of Appeal quashed the sentence of Usman Khan, replacing it with a 16-year fixed jail term, of which he would serve half in jail.

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