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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK police given more time to quiz Libyan suspected of terrorist attack

A Police Officer looks at the floral tributes left for victims of the attack [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 June, 2020

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Khairi Saadallah will remain in custody until 27 June after being arrested near the scene of a stabbing in a park in Reading, in which three people were killed.
British counter-terrorism police have been given until 27 June to question a suspect in an attack which saw three people stabbed to death in a park, officers said.

"Detectives were... granted a warrant of further detention until Saturday June 27, and the man remains in police custody," Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) said in a statement late Monday.

A 25-year-old man, widely identified as Libyan Khairi Saadallah, was arrested near the scene of Saturday's attack in Reading, west of London.

Detective Chief Superintendent Kath Barnes, the head of the CTPSE, said the investigation into the attack was "continuing at pace" and more than 50 witnesses have been spoken to.

Saturday's incident was the third terror-related knife attack in Britain in the past year. 

Saadallah was reported to have been known to the security services but not deemed a threat, and was said to have been recently freed from jail for non-terror offences.

His family in Libya have told of being "shocked and surprised" when they heard of his alleged involvement.

Mohammed Saadallah told Sky News television his brother was a "helpful person" but who had a "mental condition" from his time in the conflict-ravaged nation.

"He goes to the park from time to time," he told the broadcaster from Tripoli. 

"He's a normal person that loves life, he loves Western fashion, clothes, loves Western routine, he likes to enjoy pictures, he likes to go to the sea."

Another woman who declined to be named but said she was his sister, said she was "deeply sorry" for the victims and their families.

But she described Saadallah as "a lovely boy who loves life".

"He likes dancing, singing, smoking, drinking... He's a normal person. The family here are very surprised," she added.

The three victims - history teacher James Furlong, 36, US expat Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, and David Wails, a 49-year-scientist - were all friends.

Thames Valley Police said three people injured in the attack had now left hospital.

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