Authorities investigating London subway stabbings as an act of terror

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LONDON – A man who allegedly stabbed two people at a London subway station appears in court Monday after the weekend attack that police described as an act of terror.

British police say the unprovoked knife attack left one man hospitalized with serious injuries. A second one suffered a minor injury that did not require treatment, authorities said.

The suspect, Muhaydin Mire, 29, has been charged with attempted murder.

The attack

The incident occurred Saturday evening when police received calls that a man was stabbing people and threatening others at the Tube station in the suburb of Leytonstone.

There were reports that during the incident, the attacker yelled, “This is for Syria,” said Chioma Dijeh, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police. She said authorities are looking into those reports.

Authorities subdued the attacker with a stun gun at the scene and arrested him.

‘Terrorist incident’

Authorities are investigating the stabbing as an act of terror, said Cmdr. Richard Walton, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command.

As part of the investigation, detectives searched a residential address in east London on Sunday afternoon.

“As a result of information received at the time from people who were at the scene, and subsequent investigations carried out by the Counter Terrorism Command … I am treating this as a terrorist incident,” he said in a statement.

He urged the public to “remain calm but alert and vigilant” in relation to any potential threat. “The threat from terrorism remains at severe, which means that a terrorist attack is highly likely,” he said.

Chaotic aftermath

Shortly after the stabbing, videos posted on social media showed bloody scenes and the chaotic aftermath.

They showed police confronting a man brandishing an object in his hand as officers warned him to drop it down.

The man continued pacing in front of the officers, at one point lunging at them as bystanders took off.

When police finally restrained him with a stun gun and handcuffed him, a voice in the background yelled, “Yes! Stupid idiot!”

A man in the crowd shouts, “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv! You’re no Muslim, bruv! You ain’t no Muslim!”

Social media users embraced the phrase as a hashtag to express defiance toward the attacker and his perceived motivations.

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UK faces terror threat

British fighter planes started flying sorties last week against ISIS targets in Syria, prompting threats by the terror group and stepped-up security.

The strikes were launched after British lawmakers voted to extend their existing military efforts against the Islamist terror group in Iraq into Syria in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Intelligence obtained by European security agencies indicates ISIS is aiming to attack the UK as a follow-up to its attacks in Paris last month, a senior European counterterrorism official said.

Speaking in Parliament last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron referred to seven ISIS plots against the country that had been foiled in the past year.

Attack halts Tube travel

The Tube, also called the London Underground, is the city’s subway system. It has 270 stations on 11 lines that stretch a total of about 400 kilometers (250 miles).

Leytonstone runs through central London and into the northeastern suburbs.

Transport for London, which runs the Underground, shut down a large part of the eastern Central line after the stabbing, but services resumed Sunday.

In 2005, suicide bombers attacked three Underground trains and a double-decker bus in a coordinated strike that left 52 people dead and more than 770 wounded.

A British al Qaeda operative planned the bombings, according to internal al Qaeda documents.

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