An American man was one of three victims of a terror attack in the U.K. Saturday night, numerous sources reported.
Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, was killed in a stabbing attack being investigated as a terrorist incident in Reading, U.K. Khairi Saadallah, 25, was arrested Saturday and the police are not looking for any other suspects in the incident, according to BBC.
One of the Reading terror attack victims was Joe Ritchie-Bennett from Philadelphia – here on the right. He lived in the UK for 15 years. His husband Ian died in 2014 from cancer. A devastated friend said: “I’m happy for them that they’re back together.” https://t.co/Nv9DvaZBJw pic.twitter.com/veoHXeyZsT
— James Longman (@JamesAALongman) June 22, 2020
“I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attack on 20 June,” Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., said according to the Guardian.
“To our great sorrow, this includes an American citizen. Our thoughts are with all those affected. We condemn the attack absolutely and have offered our assistance to British law enforcement.”
Ritchie-Bennett had grown up in Philadelphia and moved to England for work 15 years ago, his father told American media according to the Guardian.
“I’m appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “I’m appalled and sickened that people should lose their lives in this way. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. Thank you to Thames Valley Police for their bravery in tackling the suspect.”
Neil Basu, the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, announced that the stabbing was declared a terrorist incident following an overnight investigation.
A minute’s silence has been held for the three people who were killed in the terror attack in Reading on Saturday.
The Holt School in Wokingham also paid tribute to teacher James Furlong who was among the victims.
— SkyNews (@SkyNews) June 22, 2020
Saadallah is a Libyan national who came to Britain as a refugee from Libya’s war in 2014, according to the Guardian. He had previously come to the attention of MI5, the U.K. ‘s intelligence and security agency.
A neighbor of Saadallah’s told the Guardian that Saadallah’s relative had faced anti-Muslim bigotry upon his arrival in the U.K., and that he overheard people shouting abuses at him. “They called him a terrorist. I told them they were a bunch of liars… When there was trouble [with anti-Muslim abuse], I wrapped my arms around him and said don’t react, they are the ones in the wrong.”
The neighbor also added that the relative was “disgusted” by the Manchester bomber who killed 22 people at a Ariana Grande concert in 2017, and was a Libyan rescued by the U.K.’s navy from the war in Libya. (RELATED: Videos Show Reaction To Explosion At Ariana Grande Concert [VIDEO])