London police arrest another suspect in connection with London Bridge attack

Pauline Gross
June 7, 2017

Police searching for a French man who has been missing since the London Bridge attack say they have recovered a body from the River Thames.

The Italian mother of one of the London Bridge attackers said Wednesday her 22-year-old son became radicalized in Britain, falling under the spell of Islamic extremism and confiding to her that he had dreams of moving to Syria.

Former counter-terrorism chief Robert Quick yesterday said cuts to police funding have affected efforts to prevent attacks, including a lack of intelligence from the ground on people voicing support for terrorism.

The trio killed eight and injured 48 in their rampage around London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday night. All three attackers were shot dead at the scene by officers. The Italian intelligence had apparently flagged up to its British counterparts worries about the third attacker, the Moroccan-Italian Youssef Zaghba.

But the focus of attention remains on Butt, who had featured prominently in a 2016 Channel 4 documentary about extremists linked to the jailed preacher Anjem Choudary.

At the time of the attack he was working in a London restaurant and continued to have contacts with his mother in Italy, which he visited past year.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday announced that she is willing to weaken fundamental rights in order to make it easier for authorities to detain suspected militants even when authorities did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute them.

British security and law enforcement officials are investigating Butt as the potential ringleader of the cell, according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing details.

Detectives arrested a 27-year-old man under the Terrorism Act at an address in Barking, east London, shortly after 8am on Tuesday, while search warrants were also executed at addresses in Barking and Ilford.

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He said Zaghba was always tracked by Italian intelligence officers while in the country and that United Kingdom authorities were informed.

Although Khuram B. was known to authorities, police on Monday said, "There was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritized accordingly". All three attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State group. He was known locally as "Abs/z" and was identified by neighbours as the terrorist in a photo.Butt was father to a toddler and baby and a keen gym-goer and weightlifter, neighbours said.

"That's not sustainable. There's no doubt fewer police officers means we are in more danger", Khan said.

Her remarks came following a poll published earlier yesterday by the group Survation which showed Mrs May's lead over the opposition Labour has shrivelled to just over a single point - 41.6 per cent to 40.4 per cent.

The number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by around 20,000 since 2009, according to Home Office figures. Much of the area around London Bridge remained cordoned off as commuters struggled to work in the driving rain.

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It had been set at "critical" in the days after the Manchester concert bombing on May 22 that killed 22 people - reflecting a judgment that an attack might be imminent because accomplices with similar bombs might be on the loose.

It was lowered once intelligence agencies were comfortable this wasn't the case. At present it is still heavily engaged in investigations into the Manchester bombing as well as the London attacks. Paolo Santalucia contributed from Rome.

Other reports by GizPress

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