A terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest stabbed two people on a London street yesterday, just days after his release from prison and while under surveillance by police who shot him dead.
Sudesh Amman (20) had been automatically released from jail halfway through a sentence of three years and four months for possessing a bomb-making manual.
Government sources last night admitted there had been concerns about his behaviour but they had been powerless to keep him behind bars.
Ministers are braced to face immediate demands for all terrorists who have been released early to be recalled, amid growing fears over public safety following two attacks by terrorists on parole within just over two months.
Up to 180 convicted Islamist terrorists have been released early from jail in the past two decades, analysis shows, and news reports had warned Amman was due for release in the wake of November's London Bridge attack.
Amman was shot dead by plainclothes officers, who had been following him, within eight seconds of stabbing a woman in the back. His second victim was last night fighting for his life in hospital. It is understood Amman was wearing an electronic monitoring tag.
In the wake of the London Bridge attack, the Government promised tougher monitoring for serious terrorists.
However, the attack will raise questions about how a terrorist apparently under 24-hour surveillance was able to attack innocent people in the middle of the day on a busy street.
Government sources confirmed Amman had been released from prison towards the end of January under very strict licence terms.
A source said: "He was also under surveillance and that is what allowed the police to do their job so quickly. It meant that it could have been worse than it was had he not been under this surveillance." The source added: "There were concerns about this individual when he was in prison - around his language - but there were no powers available to any of the authorities to keep him behind bars."
The knife-obsessed college student was jailed in December 2018 after sharing an al-Qa'ida magazine in a family WhatsApp group. He had reached the automatic halfway release point, including time served on remand.
Residents at the bail hostel where Amman had been staying, a kilometre from the scene of the attack, said he had tried to take his own life two weeks ago and had been asking for medication.
It is thought Amman may have realised he was being watched because he stole a 25cm kitchen knife costing €5 from a shop about 2pm yesterday. Within seconds, he stabbed a woman in the back.
As he ran up the street he stabbed a man, believed to be in his 30s, in the side.
Witnesses described how the second victim lay on the pavement with blood pouring from the wound as he waited for around 30 minutes for paramedics to arrive.
At least two officers who had been following Amman, dressed in hoodies and jeans and with balaclavas covering their faces, gave chase on foot after he attacked his first victim.
It is thought a third officer on a motorcycle who had been part of the surveillance team may have been the first to open fire.
As he fell to the ground after being shot three times, Amman reached for a fake suicide vest that he had strapped around his waist.
Authorities confirmed that Amman had died at the scene.
A police spokeswoman said that it was "quickly declared as a terrorist incident and we believe it to be Islamist-related". (© Daily Telegraph, London)