The man shot dead by police following a stabbing attack in south London was a convicted terrorist who had recently been released from prison and was under surveillance.
Fanatic Sudesh Amman, 20, who was jailed for possessing and distributing terrorist documents in December 2018, had been freed in the past six weeks.
He was released despite a warning that he posed a continued risk, prompting renewed concerns about how convicted terrorists are dealt with in the justice system.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will announce plans on Monday for “fundamental changes to the system for dealing with those convicted of terrorism offences” following the Streatham attack.
He had already promised changes following the London Bridge attack in November when another recently-released terrorist, Usman Khan, stabbed two people to death while wearing a fake suicide vest at a prisoner rehabilitation event in Fishmongers’ Hall.
Details of the Counter Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill were released in December with measures including forcing dangerous terrorists who receive extended determinate sentences to serve the whole time behind bars and scrapping early release from jail for those classed as dangerous and handed extended determinate sentences.
Sam Armstrong, from the Henry Jackson Society – a foreign policy think tank – said Amman was thought to have been staying in a bail hostel in south London.
He said the society had warned in December that Amman was due for release within the next two months and should not be let out of prison.
Amman, who at the time of his sentencing was 18 years old and had an address in Harrow, north-west London, had been jailed for three years and four months.
Two people were stabbed in the attack in Streatham on Sunday afternoon.
Scotland Yard said armed officers were following the suspect on foot as part of a “proactive counter-terrorism surveillance operation” on Streatham High Road.
Thank you to all emergency services responding to the incident in Streatham, which the police have now declared as terrorism-related. My thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 2, 2020
Three victims were taken by ambulance to south London hospitals.
One man, in his 40s, is no longer considered to be in a life-threatening condition following treatment, police said.
A woman, in her 50s, who had non-life threatening injuries has been discharged from hospital.
Police said a second woman in her 20s, who received minor injuries believed to have been caused by glass following the discharge of a police firearm, continues to receive treatment.
A device found strapped to the body of the suspect was a hoax, the Metropolitan Police added in a statement.
It said: “The situation has been contained and officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are now leading an investigation into the incident.
“The incident was quickly declared as a terrorist incident and we believe it to be Islamist-related.”
One witness described seeing the man apparently carrying a weapon with “silver canisters on his chest” being shot in front of a Boots store.
Another said members of the public came to the aid of victims, with one saying she had been stabbed.
People took shelter in nearby shops as the incident unfolded on the busy south London high street.
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party and councillor for the St Leonard’s ward on Lambeth Council, told the PA news agency: “There’s absolute shock and disbelief from residents that are around. There was an immediate sense of panic and fear when it happened.”
He added: “The emergency services seemed to have reacted incredibly quickly, I mean so quickly that you wonder whether they had some advance warning about this because they were here in such great numbers so quickly.”
Neighbours in Harrow told of their shock at what had happened.
Mechanical engineering apprentice Jignesh Khomani, 20, said he was “saddened” by the attack, and described Amman as “a pretty average guy”.
He told the PA news agency: “I just did not expect anything like this would happen. He did not seem like a character who would do something like that.”
A teenager, who said she knew him from the local neighbourhood but did not want to give her name, said Amman used to talk about being a terrorist but she and others thought he was joking.
Police continued investigations overnight, with search warrants being carried out at two addresses in south London and Bishop Stortford.
On Sunday evening, forensics officers could be seen near Superdrug and Boots examining the area for clues.