An asylum seeker, who is said to have wanted to avenge the deaths of people in Gaza, has carried out a suspected terror attack in Britain, it was claimed last night.
The man, who came to the UK in 2020, told police that he had done it for ‘Palestine’, according to The Telegraph.
Details of the terror attack that can be reported are highly restricted for legal reasons. But the suspect, who is currently in custody, is said to have told authorities after his arrest that he had committed the offence because Israel had killed children in Gaza.
Senior politicians have questioned why information of the attacker’s motivation was not made public amid warnings that pro-Palestine protests this weekend could encourage so-called lone-wolf attacks.
It comes after a gunman in Brussels killed two Swedish football fans last week, with the suspect claiming on social media he was acting on behalf of Islamic State.
Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, on Thursday as the Jewish state continues its fight against Hamas
A man walks among the rubble of a building destroyed by Israeli air strikes in the central Gaza Strip city of Al-Zahra on Friday
Protesters burn placards with the US and Israeli flags on them during a pro-Palestine demonstration in Pakiston on Friday
Police in forensics uniforms look for evidence at the scene of a terror attack in Brussels on October 16
Earlier this week, Ken McCallum, the director-general of MI5 warned that terrorist attacks in Britain could be prompted by fighting between Israel and Hamas.
He said: ‘There is clearly the possibility that profound events in the Middle East will either generate more volume of UK threat and/or changes shape in terms of what is being targeted.’
Since Hamas’s terrorist attack on October 7, just under 1,400 referrals have been made to the Met Police’s online counter-terrorism unit. Of those, over 100 have been investigated to see if there was a breach of the Terrorism Act.
Antisemitism charity CST has said it has recorded 533 anti-Semitic incidents in Britain since the war in Israel started.
There have been numerous pro-Palestine protests in Britain since the Israel kicked back against Hamas following the terrorist group’s devastating sneak attack on October 7, with another planned for London on Saturday.
There have also been unsavoury incidents of people ripping down posters of Israeli children kidnapped by Hamas which had been put up to raise awareness of their plight.
Jonathan Hall KC, who has reviewed terror laws for the Government, has warned that large-scale protests might give some people the feeling they are allowed to commit these terror acts in response.
He told the Telegraph: ‘I don’t want to alarm and the last march that took place seemed to take place without too much criminality.
‘Of course I am worried. I am worried really about the lone actors who will effectively feel they get permission from big group demonstrations.
‘If people start saying this is the sort of thing we can afford and we should do, I am worried about the cork coming out of the bottle and some lone individual saying: ‘Right, now it’s time to act’.’
Sir Iain Duncan Smith told the paper that the public ‘have a right to know’ if an alleged terror attack has been linked to the conflict.
He said: ‘It would be helpful to know these things are happening. I understand the sensitivities. The issue is whether people have a right to know whether things are going on on their streets.
‘It needs to be carefully done but we need a greater level of clarity about whether we have a problem about extremists on our streets.’
A young man walks through rubble of a building destroyed by an Israeli air strike in al-Zahra in Gaza on Friday
Drone footage shows multiple buildings destroyed by Israeli air strikes in Al-Zahra on Friday
Tanks and other armoured vehicles belonging to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) gather close to the border with Gaza ahead of a mooted ground invasion
IDF soldiers gather with their weapons for a speech from their country’s defence minister Yoav Gallant close to the frontline
It comes as Israel continues its air strikes in Gaza which have killed thousands of people in the 14 days since Hamas’s sneak attack.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed in the war – mostly civilians slain during the Hamas incursion.
More than 4,100 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry run by Hamas. That includes a disputed number of people who died in a hospital explosion earlier this week.
Belgium justice minister resigns over ‘monumental error’
Belgium’s justice minister resigned on Friday over what he described as a ‘monumental error’ after it was discovered that Tunisia was seeking the extradition last year of an Islamic extremist who shot dead two Swedes and wounded a third this week.
Vincent Van Quickenborne said he and his services had been searching for details to understand how Abdesalem Lassoued had disappeared off the map two years ago after being denied asylum and ordered by Belgian authorities to be deported to Tunisia.
On Monday night, Lassoued gunned down two Swedish men and wounded a third with a semi-automatic rifle in Brussels. The attack forced the lockdown of more than 35,000 people in a football stadium where they had gathered to watch Belgium play Sweden.
In a video posted online he claimed to have been inspired by the so-called Islamic State group. Police shot him dead on Tuesday morning in a cafe in the Belgian capital.
Van Quickenborne told reporters on Friday evening: ‘This morning at nine o’clock, I remarked the following elements: on August 15 2022, there was an extradition demand by Tunisia for this man.
‘This demand was transmitted on September 1, as it should have been, by the justice expert at the Brussels prosecutor’s office. The magistrate in charge did not follow up on this extradition demand and the dossier was not acted upon.
‘It’s an individual error. A monumental error. An unacceptable error. An error with dramatic consequences.’
Van Quickenborne announced that he had submitted his resignation to Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
The premier said he took note of Van Quickenborne’s resignation and offered ‘respect for his courage’. The prime minister called a meeting of senior ministers and senior security officials for Saturday to shed more light on the failure.
Speaking to lawmakers about Israel’s long-term plans for Gaza, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant laid out a three-stage plan that seemed to suggest that Israel did not intend to reoccupy the territory it left in 2005.
First, Israeli airstrikes and ‘manoeuvring’ – a presumed reference to a ground attack – would aim to root out Hamas.
Next will come a lower intensity fight to defeat remaining pockets of resistance.
And, finally, a new ‘security regime’ will be created in Gaza along with ‘the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip,’ Gallant said.
The humanitarian crisis has worsened for Gaza’s civilians every day since Israel halted entry of supplies two weeks ago, depleting fuel, food, water and medicine.
Two days after Israel announced a deal to allow Egypt to send in aid, the border remained closed Friday as Egypt repaired the Rafah crossing, damaged by Israeli strikes.
Over a million people have been displaced in Gaza. Many heeded Israel’s orders to evacuate the northern part of the sealed-off enclave on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.
But Israel has continued to bomb areas in southern Gaza where Palestinians had been told to seek safety.
Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called areas in the south ‘safe zones’ earlier this week, Israeli military spokesman Nir Dinar said Friday: ‘There are no safe zones.’
Some Palestinians who had fled from the north appeared to be going back because of bombings and difficult living conditions in the south, said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the U.N. human rights office.
Gaza’s overwhelmed hospitals were rationing their dwindling resources.
Generators in Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, were operating at the lowest setting to conserve fuel while providing power to vital departments such as intensive care, hospital director Mohammed Abu Selmia said. Others worked in darkness.
‘I don’t know how long (the fuel) will last. Every day we evaluate the situation,’ he said.
The lack of medical supplies and water are making it difficult to treat the mass of victims from the Israeli strikes, he said.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it had received a threat from the Israeli military to bomb Al-Quds Hospital.
It said Israel has demanded the immediate evacuation of the Gaza City hospital, which has more than 400 patients and thousands of displaced civilians who sought refuge on its grounds, it said.
Israel has evacuated its own communities near Gaza and Lebanon, putting residents up in hotels elsewhere in the country.
The Defence Ministry announced evacuation plans Friday for Kiryat Shmona, a town of more than 20,000 residents near the Lebanese border.
Three Israelis including a 5-year-old girl were wounded in a rocket attack there Thursday, according to Israeli health services.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which has a massive arsenal of long-range rockets, has traded fire with Israel along the border on a near-daily basis and hinted it might join the war if Israel seeks to annihilate Hamas. Iran supports both armed groups.
The threat of terror attacks is thrown into sharp relief after a gunman claiming to be inspired by Islamic State killed two Swedish football fans in Brussels on Monday, October 16.
Abdesalem Lassoued gunned down two Swedish men and wounded a third with a semiautomatic rifle on Monday night
Pictured: Belgian police at the scene following an intensive manhunt for an ISIS fanatic who shot dead two Swedish football fans in Brussels with an automatic rifle in a terrorist attack
Video shows Abdesalem Lassoued dressed in a fluorescent orange jacket and carrying a gun driving through the streets of Brussels on Tuesday
The FBI and Justice Department have launched investigations into the attack. The FBI stated it ‘takes the investigation of hate crimes extremely seriously’
The boy and his mother. He has one older sibling who was not harmed in the Saturday attack
‘This is a heavy day that we hoped would never come. As they say, the smallest coffins are the heaviest,’ Ahmed Rehab, executive director of CAIR-Chicago, said in a statement
The attack was carried out by Tunisian immigrant Abdesalem Lassoued, who used an assault rifle and a motorised scooter to target the innocent civilians before their country faced off against Belgium.
The Belgian government is facing stern questions over how the terrorist was allowed to be in the country after it was discovered Tunisia was seeking his extradition last year.
The fanatic claimed on social media after the shooting to have been inspired by Islamic State. He was killed by Belgian police at a cafe in Brussels hours later.
Belgian prosecutors said nothing suggests Monday’s attack was linked to what is happening in Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The mother of the suspected terrorist, told Tunisian television channel Hannibal her son had mentioned the Koran burnings in Sweden in phone calls.
It is alleged he also spoke about carrying out ‘jihad’ and asked his father if he wanted his son to die as a martyr, according to Sveriges Radio.
They reported that Abdesalem said her son was ‘never the same’ after the Koran burnings and that she and her husband were ‘shocked and sad’ about what happened.
Several people fled into an apartment building after hearing the gunshots, but Lassoued followed them and opened fire again in the entrance hall in an attack he said was to avenge the killing of a six-year-old US-Palestinian boy.
The child in question, Wadea Al-Fayoume, was stabbed to death at his home by his family’s landlord. His mother, Hanaan Shahin, 32, was stabbed 26 times and remains in hospital.
The attack was so vicious the 12-inch kitchen knife remained embedded in the child’s body until the autopsy.
The attacker, Joseph Czuba, was a friendly neighbor who built a treehouse for the little boy, but became obsessed with the coverage of the Hamas terror attack of October 7 and ‘flipped’, a local activist told CNN.