London terror plot foiled after suspect’s family tip off police

Safya Khan-Ruf - 02 05 17

Terror suspect Khalid Mohamed Omar Ali was arrested in Westminster with a backpack containing knives on 27 April, after his family tipped off police.

No-one was injured in the incident, which may have been preparation for an attack outside Downing Street. Theresa May was not at Downing Street at the time because she was campaigning for the General Election on 8 June.

Police said in a statement: “The man … was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism. Knives have been recovered from him.”

Sources told HOPE not Hate that the family of the 27 year-old man was worried about his behaviour and reported him to the police. Security services also told staff in Parliament that police had been tipped off by Ali’s family, according to Sky news.

Ali was carrying a rucksack containing at least three knives when he was detained “following a stop and search as part of an ongoing operation,” police said. They added he was being held in custody in a south London police station.

Pictures on social media show heavily armed officers surrounding the suspect and according to Reuters, the stop was “not random, it was targeted”.

“He had been travelling on the London Underground and we understand he had exited the Tube at St James’s Park station before walking in the direction of Whitehall and No 10,” a police source told The Telegraph. “At some stage an alert went out to all the teams in the area and the order was made to pick him up,” the source said.

Courtesy of Steph Gray/Flickr

In an unconnected operation on Thursday night, a woman was shot and four people were detained by the police during a house raid in Willesden. The Metropolitan Police said the operation was part of an “ongoing counter terrorism investigation”.

Harry Peasnell, who says he regularly has meetings in Westminster, told The Guardian that the police were “quick on the scene” and that he was not worried like he was during the terror attack in the area just weeks ago. “Last time all the buildings were on lock down and no one was allowed to leave,” he said.

London has been on high alert with heightened security around Westminster after Khalid Masood’s attack on 22 March, which killed five people, including PC Keith Palmer.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said outside Scotland Yard on 27 April,After that attack [by Masood], we increased the number of officers on duty patrolling at key locations – and that continues as we police against the backdrop of a severe terrorist threat… We will continue to work with all communities to defeat terrorists together – we will not allow common criminals to spread discord and fear.”

Update: the US has issued a new terror alert for its citizens traveling to Europe this summer, in light of recent terror attacks in Britain, France and Sweden.


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