Police close to identifying third London attacker who is ‘from Morocco’


Scotland Yard is close to identifying the third terrorist in the London Bridge attack who is believed to be from Morocco.

The development came as armed police carried out a raid in Ilford in the early hours with detectives continuing to trace associates and friends of the terror gang who committed the atrocity.

Pakistan-born Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, and Rachid Redouane, 30, were named yesterday as two of the attackers who mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and then launched a stabbing rampage in Borough Market killing seven and injuring dozens more.

Counter terror officials were today expected to name the third terrorist who is not a British citizen and has links to a number of foreign countries, including Morocco. 

The development came as it emerged that killer Khuram Butt was allowed to work at two of the busiest stations on the London Underground despite appearing in a TV film on British jihadis and being on the radar of MI5.

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Khuram Butt in TfL uniform (Noble/Draper)

He was based at Westminster and Canada Water stations during his training last year – and was only sacked because of his absences from work.

A former colleague said: “It was well-known that he had appeared in this extremist documentary – but he was asked to leave London Underground not because of that, but due to poor attendance.”

Scotland Yard confirmed yesterday that Butt was known to the security services and investigated by MI5 in 2015 but was downgraded as a priority because there was no evidence he was planning an attack.

TfL confirmed Butt worked on the London Underground for just under six months as a trainee customer services assistant, leaving in October last year.

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Attacker: Khuram Shazad Butt carried out an attack in London Bridge (Met Police)

A picture published in The Daily Mail reportedly shows him at West Kensington station, wearing TfL uniform.

Today there were reports that police in Pakistan had carried out raids on his home and another business there.

With further raids in London expected, all 12 people who were arrested at addresses in Barking on Sunday just hours after the attack have now been released without charge.

Today it was also revealed that Butt’s elder brother Saad was a key member of the Government’s Prevent initiative aimed at combating extremism among young Muslims.

Vigil for London Bridge terror attack

While Khuram was becoming radicalised, Saad received funding from the police as a founding member of the Young Muslim Advisory Group.

Set up in 2008, the group brought together 20 “personal advisors” to work as “critical friends” with then Labour cabinet ministers Ed Balls, Andy Burnham and Hazel Blears on issues facing young Muslims in the wake of the 2005 London bombings. 

Following funding cuts in 2011 it re-launched as a “social enterprise” registered to the Butt family’s home in Manor Park, east London.

There were further claims today that the terror gang carried out a “dry run” before their deadly assault on London Bridge and Borough Market in which seven people were killed and dozens more injured on Saturday night.

The rented Renault van made is seen on CCTV cameras driving from the north to the south of the bridge just a few minutes before the attack. It then turned crosses the rbidge again before turning back to launch its murderous attack.

Police reportedly found what appeared to be Molotov cocktails in the back of the van after it crashed.

Born in Jhelum, Pakistan, in 1990, Khuram Butt came to Britain with his family as asylum seekers when he was two-years-old.

His father Saif died in 2003, an event neighbours credited with setting the teenager on the path to carrying out the worst terror atrocity in London in more than a decade.

He attended at Shaftesbury Primary School in east London, before enrolling at Stratford Academy Forest Gate and later Newham Sixth Form, where he studied business administration.

After leaving school he worked in the office at fried chicken restaurant KFC before taking a job as a customer services assistant on the Tube.

Last year Khuram appeared in a Channel 4 documentary, The Jihadis Next Door, seen praying in front of the black flag of Islam, unfurled in Regent’s Park. 

He handed out sweets to children in a bid to convert them to Islam, and later attempted to frighten youngsters playing football into converting.

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Terrorists: Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane have been named by police (Met Police)

He was deemed a “low priority” by the security services despite his links to a contact of 7/7 ringleader Mohammed Siddique Khan and hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

Butt was the subject of an inquiry in 2015 but slipped down the list of priorities as there was no intelligence he was planning an attack. Police confirmed they had received a call from a member of the public several months ago concerned at his behaviour.

He worked as an attendant at the Ummah Fitness gym in east London run by Sajeel Shahid, a member of Choudary’s network, and the pair were “close friends”, The Times reported. Butt attempted to radicalise young Muslims at the gym, it was claimed.

Today a  statement posted on the gym’s door said: “We at UFC gym are shocked and saddened by the events that occurred at London Bridge and Borough on Saturday night. There is never any justification for indiscriminately killing civilians.

“We have hundreds of people training at UFC gym each week. We are a welcoming and open part of the community.

“While Mr Butt did occasionally train here at UFC gym we do not know him well nor did we see anything of concern, we will of course help the police in any way we can.

“In these challenging times it is important we all stand united. We must avoid scapegoating any part of the community.”

Mohammed Shafiq, the Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, described being verbally abused by Butt on College Green, opposite Parliament, the day after Fusilier Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich in 2013.

He said: “Khuram Butt called me a ‘Murtad’ which means traitor in Arabic and accused me of being a government stooge when I confronted Anjem Choudhury about him supporting terrorism and my public campaign against Lee Rigby’s murder.”

said: “[It was] pure hatred. There was so much anger in him when he was shouting that term at me.

“When it came to the crux he was a very dangerous man. I could sense it in his face.”

Last year, Khuram’s three-year-old niece died on a family visit to Pakistan after being burnt with scalding milk, prompting his sister Haleema to raise money for medical equipment in Jhelum.

One relative told the Mirror how the terrorist had wanted to go to Syria at the time his wife Zahra Rahman lay in hospital recovering from a brain haemorrhage pregnant with their second child.

They said: “He was quite radical and had very extreme thoughts. It was only when the family intervened that he didn’t go.

“Even when she was in hospital he wanted to go to Syria and he was inviting everybody. He was still trying to preach Islam to everyone, including the security guards at the hospital. 

“His wife is a lovely girl, but she doesn’t have any power over him. He never listens to anyone and nobody likes him.”

Rachid Redouane was a control freak who abandoned the mother of his child when she refused to convert to Islam and dressed their one-year-old daughter “like a slut”, it was claimed today.

Redouane, 30, was last night named by police as one of the three jihadis who mowed down pedestrians before launching a knife rampage in Borough Market. 

The Moroccan born pastry chef moved out of the family home several weeks ago but visited his estranged wife Charisse O’Leary, 38, to kiss their 18-month old daughter goodbye just hours before embarking on the massacre. 

Redouane, who lived in a tower block in Dagenham, had used an alias and claimed to come from both Morocco and Libya. He also used the surname Elkhdar. He was reportedly a “clean skin” with no known links to terror groups.

Ms O’Leary, a care worker, is believed to have married Redouane in Casablanca in 2012 and the couple lived in Dublin until late last year when they moved to Barking.

Close friends said she knew nothing of his deadly plans and described her “horror” after having her one daughter “ripped from her arms” by police who raided her flat, in accommodation for vulnerable mothers, on Sunday.

Ms O’Leary was arrested but later released without charge.

She announced on Facebook she was reverting back to her maiden name after the relationship ended with friends saying was due to the “fanatical” way he wanted to raise their daughter Amina.

A close friend told the Standard: “He was trying to make their child dress in Muslim attire and Charisse wasn’t allowing that. 

“He was so controlling to a point that he would call their child names and shout at her not to dress ‘the child like a slut’.

“Charisse is a lovely lady hard working and going through a divorce. 

“She was staying in sheltered accommodation as he wasn’t leaving the property they shared. This comes as a complete shock, she only got pulled in as she was married to the scumbag.

“I didn’t like him and was often criticised for my opinion but she’s very well liked and well known around the area – she’s a hard working, single mother.

“They weren’t together and she would have grassed him up if she knew what was going to happen. 

“She’s a good woman and a bloody good mother who works to provide for her daughter.

“She dotes on her child, she is her main priority over everything and she’d be disgusted by what’s come to light. It’s not fair on her to take any repercussions.”

It emerged the terrorist, who was not known to authorities, paid a secret visit to kiss his daughter goodbye just three hours his hire van ploughed into the first victims on London Bridge at 10.08pm on Saturday.

A neighbour at the sheltered accommodation added: “I saw him as he came back to visit his kid at about 7pm. 

“I was in the lift with him but he stayed staring forwards and didn’t say anything to me.

“Charisse is always very nice and offers tea to everyone. But it’s not nice having my kids in the same block that he used to be in and out of all the time.” 

Another neighbours said: “I saw them taking Charisse away – she had blood running down her face because

she’d obviously been injured in the blast. She was very upset – sobbing and crying out for her baby. 

“It was extremely upsetting to see them being taken in separate cars.”

The third attacker, who is yet to be named, is reportedly from north Africa.

Security and policing plans for events in London are under review after the London Bridge attack. Extra security is likely to be in place around the annual Trooping the Colour event attended by the Queen.

A group of 132 imams has called for all Muslim religious leaders to refuse the rite of funeral prayers to the London and Manchester attackers.

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Source : http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/police-close-to-identifying-third-london-attacker-who-is-from-morocco-a3557891.html

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