Amid an atmosphere of heightened security seen in western capitals and cities these days, a London Underground station witnessed a stabbing which police are treating as a terrorist incident.
The anti-terrorism unit of the police confirmed that the attack that took place at Leytonstone station has all the signs of a terrorist act and was carried out by an individual aged 29 years. Scotland Yard Police added that a 56 year old man was seriously injured but his injuries are not life threatening. Another person was also injured.
Once notified of the attack, Police attended the scene of the attack at the station and arrested the suspect after shooting him with a Taser gun. Eyewitnesses said that the attacker shouted “This is for Syria” to which an onlooker replied “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv” – London slang for “you are not a Muslim”.
Richard Walton, the head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15), said that he considers the attack to be a terrorist one based on the “information provided by eyewitnesses and what the investigation revealed later”.
Commenting on the security measures taken by the capital to ensure the safety of passengers on the London Underground, a spokeswoman for Transport for London (TfL) told Asharq Al-Awsat that TfL is “working closely with the British Transport Police (BTP) which has stationed more than 700 police officers across London Underground”. She added that there “is coordination with the Metropolitan Police”. Scotland Yard refused to comment on the nature of this coordination or the number of officers who are monitoring the Underground for security reasons.
Leytonstone station is situated on the Central line which runs through the British capital from east to west. Police cordoned off the station to collect forensic evidence and take photographs of the crime scene.
Hours after the incident, Muslim and non-Muslim Londoners alike reacted by launching the hashtag “#YouAintNoMuslimBruv” on the social networking site Twitter. Residents of Waltham Forest, the area in which Leytonstone station is situated, wrote the same hashtag on a large board outside the station where activity returned to normal yesterday morning.