Inmate attack on UK prison officer treated as terrorism

There has been a sharp increase in prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offenses in the past few years, sparking growing concerns that other inmates may become radicalized. (File/AFP)
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Updated 10 January 2020

Inmate attack on UK prison officer treated as terrorism

  • Two prisoners wielding improvised bladed weapons slashed the officer’s head and neck in Thursday’s attack
  • Four other prison staff were injured as they stepped in and detained the attackers, and were taken to hospital alongside the original victim

LONDON: A knife attack on a British prison officer by two inmates wearing fake suicide belts is being treated as a terrorist attack, police said Friday.
Two prisoners wielding improvised bladed weapons slashed the officer’s head and neck in Thursday’s attack at the maximum security Whitemoor prison in eastern England.
Four other prison staff were injured as they stepped in and detained the attackers, and were taken to hospital alongside the original victim. All five officers have now been released.
One of the suspects was named by media as Brusthom Ziamani, 24, a follower of radical preacher Anjem Choudary who was convicted in 2015 of plotting to behead a British soldier.
The other suspect was reported to be a Muslim convert jailed for a violent offense.
“The matter is being treated as a terrorist attack and the investigation continues at pace,” said London’s Metropolitan Police, which leads on national counter-terrorism matters.
“The incident itself was quickly contained and dealt with by prison staff.
“From our enquiries thus far, there is nothing to suggest any continuing threat inside or outside of the prison system linked to yesterday’s incident.”
The suspects remain in prison and no arrests have been made, police said.
There has been a sharp increase in prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offenses in the past few years, sparking growing concerns that other inmates may become radicalized.
The government has trained almost 20,000 staff in extremism awareness training, and employs multi-faith chaplaincy teams in all prisons.
It also opened two Separation Centers where individuals considered to pose the biggest risk are kept away from the main prison population.


At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

Updated 01 December 2020

At least two killed as car ploughs into pedestrian zone in German town

  • The driver was arrested and the vehicle was impounded, Trier police tweeted
  • Two people have died, and 15 others had suffered serious injuries

BERLIN: At least two people including a child were killed and up to 15 injured on Tuesday when a speeding car ploughed into a pedestrian area in the western German city of Trier, authorities said.
Witnesses said people screamed in panic and some were thrown into the air by the car as it crashed through the shopping zone.
Police said several people had been killed, having earlier put the death toll at two, with more than 10 injured. The local newspaper, the Trierischer Volksfreund, put the death toll at four, including a child, but police did not confirm that figure.
"We have arrested one person, one vehicle has been secured," police said, adding that a 51-year-old German suspect from the Trier area was being questioned, police said.
Mayor Wolfram Leibe had rushed to the scene.
"We have a driver who ran amok in the city. We have two dead that we are certain of and up to 15 injured, some of them with the most severe injuries," he told public broadcaster SWR.
"I just walked through the city centre and it was just horrible. There is a trainer lying on the ground, and the girl it belongs to is dead," he told a news conference, with tears stopping him from speaking further.
He told broadcaster N-TV that people who saw the incident were "totally traumatised" and the street "looks a bit like after a war".
Leibe said he did not know the motive for the incident, which shocked residents of Germany's oldest town, founded by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago.
The Trierischer Volksfreund quoted an eyewitness as saying a Range Rover was driving at high speed and people had been thrown through the air. It said the car had Trier plates.
It reported that people screamed in panic when the car drove through the street.
Officers were scouring the area in search of evidence, backed by police dressed in flak jackets and carrying rifles. On the streets, Christmas lights twinkled incongruously.
Germany has tightened security on pedestrian zones across the country since a truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market in 2016 that killed 12 people and injured dozens.
In October 2019, a man opened fire on a synagogue in the city of Halle. After failing to get into the building he went on a rampage outside, killing two people.
In February this year a racist gunman killed nine migrants in Hanau near Frankfurt before killing his mother and himself. Only about a week later, a local man ploughed his car into a carnival parade in the town of Volkmarsen, injuring 61.
Germany has tightened measures to fight the coronavirus, with bars and restaurants closed, but shops and schools are still open.
"What happened in Trier is shocking. Our thoughts are with the relatives of the victims, with the numerous injured and with everyone who is currently on duty to care for the victims," Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said on Twitter.