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Tipsheet

ISIS Takes Credit For London Bridge Attack

AP Photo/File

ISIS has claimed responsibility for Friday's London Bridge stabbing attack that killed two people and injured three others. Amag, the jihadi organization's news agency, posted a bulletin claiming the attacker, known terrorist Usman Khan, was "responding to calls to target the nationals of Coalition countries.”

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Rukmini Callimachi, a reporter with The New York Times, translated the ISIS bulletin on Twitter, noting the call to target nationals of Coalition countries was first made by former ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in 2014. Al-Adnani was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Sep. 2016. The reporter also notes the difference between an ISIS-directed attack and an ISIS-inspired attack, adding the distinction has been eroded by successful ISIS propaganda that has inspired dozens of jihadists to carry out attacks in multiple countries. Attacks inspired by ISIS include the Nice terrorist attack that killed 87 people in France and the Pulse Nightclub shooting which claimed the lives of 49 people in Orlando. 

Police said Khan had previously been arrested in 2012 on terror-related charges. Khan had ties to the radical Islamic preacher Anjem Choudar in Britain. Khan was convicted as part of a group of al-Qaida-linked terrorists that planned attacks on major sites in London, including Parliament and the U.S. Embassy. Khan was secretly taped planning attacks and discussing his possible martyrdom. 

Police said Khan was automatically released in Dec. 2018 with no review by a parole board. As part of his release, Khan was reportedly required to wear an electronic ankle monitor and meet other conditions to avoid returning to prison. As the Associated Press notes, "the authorities seemed quick to blame 'the system' rather than any one component."

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The British government has launched so-called "de-racialization" programs in an effort to reform jihadis, but the Associated Press reports that it is still unknown whether Khan participated in any such programs. Khan carried out his Friday attack on the London Bridge while attending a program on prisoner rehabilitation

A video of the attack shows heroic bystanders attacking Khan using such items as a fire extinguisher and a narwhal tusk. 

Khan was shot and killed by police after flashing what appeared to be a suicide vest. The vest was determined to be a fake. Callimachi notes that fake suicide vests are a tactic that has been pushed by ISIS, and the terrorist organization has shared tips on how to make them.

Authorities in the Netherlands are still searching for a suspect in another stabbing incident that happened on Friday. A man wounded three children with a knife in The Hague in a busy shopping area near the city's historic center. There is no indication currently that the two incidents were related. “We are at this moment searching for a suspect, no one has been arrested yet,” Dutch police spokeswoman Marije Kuiper told reporters.

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In 2017, the London Bridge was the scene of another deadly terrorist attack. A van was driven into a crowd of pedestrians and ISIS-inspired terrorists ran into a nearby market and began stabbing people. Eight people were killed and 48 others injured, including four unarmed police officers.

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