Reuters – A knife attacker slashed a man at an east London metro station, reportedly screaming “this is for Syria… blood will be spilled”, in what police described as a terrorist incident, prompting the government to urge Britons on Sunday not to be intimidated by the attack.
A pool of blood near the ticket barriers at the Leytonstone Underground station, about six miles (10 km) east of central London, could be seen in footage posted on Twitter that also showed the suspect confronting police officers on Saturday evening.
Police said initial reports indicated the man, believed to be aged 29, had also threatened other bystanders. One 56-year-old man suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries. Two other people had minor injuries, police said.
“We are treating this as a terrorist incident,” Richard Walton, who leads the Counter Terrorism Command at London’s Metropolitan Police, said in a statement. The man was arrested after police discharged a Taser which stuns suspects.
An eyewitness quoted by The Guardian and other British newspapers said the attacker appeared to claim that he was retaliating for Western air strikes on Islamist militants in Syria. Police declined to comment on those reports and it was not immediately possible to verify them independently.
British war planes joined the strikes on targets in Syria for the first time on Thursday, a few hours after parliament had approved the involvement.
Senior government minister Iain Duncan Smith said whatever the circumstances, Britons must not let the Leytonstone incident affect their behaviour.
“We cannot let these sort of people, terrorists et cetera, actually dominate our space,” he told the BBC. “The way we defeat them at the end of the day is with our values, our freedom of expression, our freedom of belief … our ability to take our children, our families out at Christmas. None of that must be curtailed.”