Third London attacker had been detained en route for Syria

Ray Weaver
June 8, 2017

Zaghba, 22, has been identified as the third of the three attackers shot dead by police after their attack in London on Saturday that killed seven people and left dozens injured.

Police had already named Butt and Rachid Redouane, a 30-year-old who claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan, as two of the London Bridge attackers.

Shahid allegedly provided al-Qaida terror training to Mohammed Siddique Khan, one of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people during London's morning rush hour in 2005.

British police ran a security check on Youssef Zaghba - the third London attacker - in January when he passed through London's Stansted Airport, according to two Italian security officials, raising questions about the assertion made by British authorities that he was not a "subject of interest" to United Kingdom security services.

Saturday's attack - the third in three months in which the majority of the suspects had been on the radar of security officials - has prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to call for tougher counterterrorism laws even if it means changing human rights protections.

The Metropolitan Police says an area near the building was cordoned off as officers investigated the vehicles in Vauxhall.

Butt was investigated by officers in 2015 but they found no evidence he was planning an attack and he was "prioritised in the lower echelons of our investigative work", police said.

After the airport stop, Italy's Internal Intelligence Service passed on details to the liaison officer for the U.K.'s foreign security agency - MI6 - in Italy, who also relayed the information to MI5, two Italian security sources said. The 48 injured included people from Britain, France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.

Youssef Zaghba is said to have told Italian police "I'm going to be a terrorist" when he was stopped trying to travel to Syria previous year.

"The police turned up and Anjem, Khuram Butt and two other men were escorted away".

Butt, a 27-year-old British national born in Pakistan, had appeared in a British TV documentary broadcast last year called "The Jihadis Next Door".

The mayor of Valsamoggia, a municipality near Bologna, said Zaghba was the son of an Italian mother, identified by the media as Valeria Collina, and a Moroccan father, Mohamed Zaghba, who had separated.

MI5 say Youssef Zaghba, 22, was not a "police or MI5 subject of interest", the Metropolitan Police said. They said one arrest had been made on Tuesday.

Corriere said Zaghba had been radicalized by Khuram Butt, considered the head of the cell.

Italy's anti-terrorist police unit DIGOS believe he was trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria.

Neighbors described Butt as an avid weightlifter and Transport for London confirmed he worked for London Underground in customer service before leaving last October. Zaghba's Italian citizenship prevented such an expulsion, Italian daily La Repubblica said. The second man, Rachid Redouane, had not aroused any suspicions.

Several people had alerted police to Butt's extremist views and he also appeared a year ago in a documentary, "The Jihadis Next Door", in which he is shown unfurling a black-and-white flag associated with the Islamic State group. And that is a question that will need to be answered by MI5, by the police, as the investigation goes on.

NHS England said 36 people remained in hospital, with 18 in a critical condition.

Police have said that Abedi had also been known to security services but not under investigation at the time of the attack.

He has been criticised for voting against counter-terrorism legislation and expressing reservations about police responding to attacks with "shoot-to-kill" tactics.

Since 2010, when the Conservatives entered government, the number of police officers has fallen from 145,948 to 126,766 in March 2016, according to Home Office figures cited by ITV.

Other reports by Insurance News

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