HMP Whitemoor. Google photo

Prison Stabbings Investigated as Terrorist Attack

An attack on prison staff in the U.K. by two inmates with bladed weapons is being treated as a terror attack, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.

Four officers and a nurse were injured on January 9 at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire. At approximately 09:10hrs, two prisoners – one of whom has been named by national media as Brusthom Ziamani, who was found guilty of terrorism offenses in 2015 – are believed to have approached and attacked a prison officer.

The prison officer received injuries to his head and neck and it is believed the attackers used improvised bladed weapons during the assault. Both attackers were also wearing belts with various items crudely attached. The two prisoners were subsequently detained by other prison staff, some of whom also suffered injuries.

The injured nurse and officers were taken to hospital following the incident. All five have since been released from hospital.

During his trial, Ziamani was said to have been inspired by the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby and used the internet to research cadet bases. The trial also revealed Ziamani converted to Islam in 2014 and, months later, was arrested in possession of a 12-inch-long knife and a hammer. He was jailed for 22 years, a sentence later reduced on appeal.

Various media reports suggest the second attacker was converted to Islam while in prison, after being jailed for violent crime.

Due to the circumstances relating to this incident, it was deemed appropriate for the investigation to be carried out by officers from the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing (CTP), confirmed on January 10 that the matter is being treated as a terrorist attack and the investigation continues at pace.

The incident itself was quickly contained and both the prisoners suspected to have been involved in the attack remain in prison. No arrests have been made at this time and the investigation continues to be led by detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, with support from colleagues in the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit CTP.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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