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Police treat fatal stabbing spree in Britain as terrorist attack

By Allen Cone
Police treat fatal stabbing spree in Britain as terrorist attack
Police cordon off Forbury Gardens in Reading, Britain, on Sunday after three people were killed in a stabbing spree the night before. Photo by Andy Rain/EFE-EPA

June 21 (UPI) -- A stabbing spree that killed three people in a park west of London is being investigated as a terrorist attack, police said Sunday.

A 25-year-old refugee from Libya was arrested on suspicion of murder after the incident that also seriously wounded three other people on Saturday night in Ready, a city 40 miles west of London. Thames Valley Police and Scotland Yard have not named the suspect.

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"From our inquiries so far, officers have found nothing to suggest that there was anyone else involved in this attack and presently we are not looking for anyone else in relation to this incident," Metropolitan police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said at a news conference.

Basil said the Counter-Terrorism Policing South East would be taking over the investigation "although the motivation for this horrific act is far from certain."

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The Telegraph reported the suspect had arrived several years ago as a refugee after Libya's civil war.

The suspect's flat, which is around a mile from the park, remains under a police cordon.

Around 7 p.m. the suspect attacked people in the Forbury Gardens in Reading.

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"The park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends, when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them," Lawrence Wort, 20 and a personal trainer, told The Guardian. "He stabbed three of them, severely in the neck, and under the arms, and then turned and started running toward me, and we turned and started running.

"When he realized that he couldn't catch us, he tried to stab another group sitting down. He got one person in the back of the neck and then when he realized everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park."

Earlier Saturday in the area, a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest took place but police said that the attack had nothing to do with the rally.

In Britain, the terrorism threat level is "substantial." After five attacks in 2017, it was set at "critical," the highest.

"I'm appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way and our thoughts are very much with the family and the friends of the victims today," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview in Downing Street.

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He was updated during a meeting Sunday morning with Home Secretary Priti Patel as well as police and security officials.

"This evening we saw a senseless attack on people simply enjoying a Saturday evening with family and friends," Patel said in a statement. "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."

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