London attacker stopped en route to Syria, flagged as suspect

Pauline Gross
June 9, 2017

British police said Zaghba had not been a subject of interest for them or the domestic intelligence agency MI5 before he and two others launched their attack. Their carnage left seven people dead and 48 injured.

All three were shot and killed Saturday night as they rampaged through central London on the London Bridge and into Borough Market.

The other two attackers were named Monday as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane.

Two people in Barking, east London, had also raised concerns about Butt, BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani said.

They weren't able to arrest Zaghba, who was traveling on an Italian passport, because having extremist material on a phone isn't against the law in Italy.

Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera said Zaghba was born in Fez in January 1995 to a Moroccan father and Italian mother.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss details of the case.

Zaghba was reportedly stopped at Bologna airport in March past year while trying to take a flight to Istanbul, before potentially travelling on to Syria.

Two more victims have been been named - Australian nurse Kirsty Boden, 28, and French national Alexandre Pigeard, 27, died in Saturday night's attack. Zaghba's Italian citizenship prevented such an expulsion, Italian daily Repubblica reported.

His maternal uncle, Nasir Dar, told AFP in Pakistan that Butt's family moved to London when he was around four years old.

While the political debate raged, the investigation into Saturday's attack continued, with police searching an address in Ilford, east London, in the early hours of Tuesday.

The man whose identity was not revealed by the police is a 27-year-old man arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Youssef Zaghba Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane the three London Bridge attackers
Youssef Zaghba Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane the three London Bridge attackers

Releasing the name and photograph of the third attacker, said that the police have arrested 12 others in connection to the attack.

The third attacker believed to have been involved in the attack on London Bridge has been identified as Youssef Zaghba by Metropolitan Police on Monday.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) group has said its "fighters" carried out the attack. In particular, there are questions over whether investigators had the resources to look into complaints such as those leveled by Butt's neighbors about his attempts to radicalize children and whether crucial opportunities were missed.

British police and MI5 set up in 2013 an early warning system, known as Project Danube, to help them spot when low-priority suspects might be re-engaging in violent extremism.

"A person going to Turkey with a backpack aroused some suspicion, also because he told the agent who checked him that he wanted to go and be a terrorist, then he corrected himself", Bologna prosecutor Giuseppe Amato told broadcaster Radio24.

Butt, who is thought to have also gone by the name Abu Zaitun, was known to neighbours by the nickname "Abs/z" and was allegedly an associate of radical hate preacher Anjem Choudary. Transport for London confirmed he worked for London Underground in customer services before leaving last October.

- The reason armed police were so quick to react to the attack was a mobile field unit of armed officers happened to be positioned nearby.

Just two days before the United Kingdom election, Prime Minister Theresa May has faced a barrage of criticism for cutting 20,000 officers from police forces in her time as home secretary.

Asked if he backed calls for May's resignation just days before the country's General Election, main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told ITV, "indeed I would".

Manager of the Boro Bistro, Vincent Le Berre told the Brittany news outlet Le Telegramme how his colleague was attacked in a bar near Borough Market.

Zaghba was reportedly working in a London restaurant and had not been seen in Italy since 2016.

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Other reports by GizPress

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