Details emerge about London attackers

Updated June 6, 2017 - 9:49 pm

LONDON — Details emerged Tuesday of the three London Bridge attackers: a Pakistan-born failed customer service clerk with links to one of Europe’s most prolific hate preachers, a Moroccan pastry chef whose partner said he once went swimming rather than see his daughter and an Italian man who told authorities he “wanted to be a terrorist.”

At least two of the men were known to British intelligence and law enforcement officials, raising questions about whether anything could have been done to stop the attack, which began Saturday when the men drove a rented van into a crowd and then leaped out to stab people who crossed their paths. Seven were killed and nearly 50 wounded. All three of the attackers were shot dead by police.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was fair to ask how the attackers “slipped through our net.”

Security has become a key issue in the run-up to Thursday’s general election. British security officials said none of the men was considered violent, but they acknowledged the difficulty of predicting whether extremists will turn dangerous. The assault was the third attack in three months in which most of the assailants had been on authorities’ radar at some point.

As the investigation expanded to look at how the men knew one another and whether they were part of a larger conspiracy, Pakistani intelligence authorities swooped Tuesday into the town of Jhelum, where Khurum Butt lived until the time he was 7, when he moved to Britain. His cousin, 18-year-old Bilal Dar, told The Associated Press that Butt’s uncle was taken in for questioning. It was unclear if he was detained.


 

“Our family is hurt by what he did,” Dar said in the town about two hours east of Pakistan’s capital. “This has destroyed our family’s pride.”

Butt, 27, embraced radical Islam during his time in London and was once filmed in a documentary called “The Jihadis Next Door.” In the film, he was seen with a group unfurling a black-and-white flag associated with the Islamic State group. The men were followers of Anjem Choudary, a preacher who was jailed for his support of the Islamic State and who once praised the Sept. 11 attackers.

It is thought that Choudary played a key role in Butt’s radicalization, according to a British government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the ongoing investigation. Choudary’s now-banned al-Muhajiroun group was linked to one of Butt’s alleged connections, Sajeel Shahid, according to the British government official who again spoke on condition of anonymity.

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. He was also accused of training other terror suspects in Britain, though Shahid’s whereabouts were not immediately confirmed late Tuesday.

During his time in Britain, Butt once worked for Transport of London as a customer service clerk but failed his probation after a few months on the job after attendance issues. He also worked at Kentucky Fried Chicken and used a gym in east London. In his spare time, he tried to recruit followers to the Islamic State group — a practice that prompted a neighbor to report him to the police in 2015.

He was one of about 3,000 suspects who were known to British authorities but not part of 500 active investigations.

“The problem occurs when we know someone is moving in extremist circles but we don’t have evidence to indicate that they are plotting an attack,” said the British government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That’s where the question of resources comes into play.”

Police identified the second attacker as 30-year-old Rachid Redouane, also known as Rachid Elkhdar, who claimed to have both Moroccan and Libyan roots and worked as a pastry chef in Ireland, where he had lived in the past five years as well the east London suburb of Dagenham.

He married a British woman named Charisse O’Leary, who posted on Facebook last month that Redouane was negligent in seeing their young daughter and on one planned visit, she said he told her: “I’m going swimming.” The couple is thought to have split. O’Leary was one of 13 people arrested after Saturday’s attacks. Twelve were later released. One man is still being held.

Redouane was never under surveillance by Irish authorities, and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald urged caution in speculating about his movements. Several British media reports on Tuesday, however, said he had been denied political asylum in Britain in 2009 but allowed to work years afterward in Ireland after he married his British wife. British officials could not immediately confirm the reports.

The third attacker was identified as Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Italian national of Moroccan descent who was reportedly working in a London restaurant.

An Italian prosecutor says Zaghba told authorities after being stopped last year at Bologna’s airport that he “wanted to be a terrorist,” but then quickly corrected himself.

There was not enough evidence to arrest or charge Zaghba when authorities questioned him at the Marconi airport on March 15, 2016, Bologna prosecutor Giuseppe Amato said Tuesday. Amato told Italy’s Radio 24 that Zaghba was flagged to British authorities as a “possible suspect.”

Zaghba was stopped while trying to take a flight to Turkey on his way to Syria, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Tuesday.

After that, Amato said, any time Zaghba was in Italy, he was always tracked by Italian intelligence officers.

“We did everything we could have done,” he said. “But there weren’t elements of proof that he was a terrorist. He was someone who was suspicious because of his way of behaving.”

Over the past two years, Italy has expelled 181 people who were suspected of extremist activities but for whom there was insufficient evidence to bring formal charges. Zaghba’s Italian citizenship prevented such an expulsion, Italian daily Repubblica reported.

His mother said her son used to show her videos of Syria and wanted to go “because it was a place where you could live according to a pure Islam.”

Valeria Collina was quoted by Italian weekly news magazine L’Espresso as saying she last spoke to her son Thursday and now realizes it was a goodbye call. She said she tried to keep him away from radical friends, but “he had the internet and from there he got everything.”

Prime Minister Theresa May, who called the snap election in hopes of strengthening her mandate for discussions over Britain’s exit from the European Union, has come under fire for the cuts to police numbers in recent years. A string of opinion polls over the past couple of weeks have pointed to a narrowing in the gap between her Conservative Party and the main opposition Labour Party.

The number of police officers in England and Wales fell by almost 20,000 between 2010 and 2016 — years when May, as home secretary, was in charge of policing.

The country’s official terror threat level remains at “severe,” one notch below the highest.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Protesters Line Streets for President Trump's Arrival in Las Vegas
Hundreds lined the streets in front of Suncoast to protest President Donald Trump's arrival in Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Thunder Mountain monument stands as a tribute to Native American culture
Caretaker Fred Lewis talks about Thunder Mountain monument in central Nevada, made from concrete and found items. The five-acre site is a tribute to Native Peoples of the West. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New CCSD superintendent Jesus F. Jara aims for 1st in the nation
On his third day as Clark County School District superintendent, Jesus F. Jara talks about his vision for the future during a visit to Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Ceremony Recognizes Refugee Students, Graduates
Rosy Mibulano, a graduate of Las Vegas High School who came to America from the Congo in 2015, was recognized in a ceremony for refugee students in Clark County. Like many other students relocated to Las Vegas from countries around the world, Rosy had a challenging high school experience, from learning English to adjusting to American customs and taking care of her family. On top of that, she wants to go to school to become a nurse so she can take care of her mother, who suffers from diabetes. The annual Refugee Recognition Ceremony celebrates the enormous lengths these young adults go through to create a new life for themselves. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Water leak at Mandalay Bay convention center
The convention center area of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas experienced major flooding Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Melinda Cook
Hollywood Memorabilia Up For Grabs at Las Vegas Auction
Elvis Presley's car, Marilyn Monroe's bras, Han Solo's blaster, and Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" suit are just some of the items that are up for auction at Julien's Auctions at Planet Hollywood June 22 and 23. The auction's viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Springs Preserve Exhibit Shows Off "Nature's Ninjas"
"Nature's Ninjas" arrives at the Springs Preserve, in an exhibit and live show featuring critters that come with natural defenses, from armadillos to snakes, poison dart frogs to scorpions and tarantulas (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CrossRoads of Southern Nevada psychiatric urgent care to open in Las Vegas
Jeff Iverson, who operates the nonprofit sober living facility Freedom House, is opening a private addiction treatment center that will operate a detoxification center and transitional living for substance users trying to recover. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Wayne Newton surprises burglars
Wayne Newton and his wife, Kathleen, arrived at their southeast Las Vegas home shortly before midnight on Wednesday to find two burglars inside their house. The burglars fled and were seen heading north through the property. Las Vegas police quickly set up a perimeter and launched an extensive search of the area, but the suspects were able to escape. It was unclear if the burglars got away with anything of value. Several items, under the watchful eyes of the police, were seen on the ground near the home's main driveway. Neither Newton, nor his wife, were injured. The Newtons were not available for comment.
Police Officers Turn Off Body Cameras
In four separate body camera videos from the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting released Wednesday, officers in a strike team are instructed to turn their body cameras off and comply with the request.
Debra Saunders reports from Singapore
Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent talks about the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
How long will North Korea's denuclearization take?
In Singapore, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent Debra Saunders asks President Donald Trump how long North Korea's denuclearization will take. White House video.
LVCVA purchase of gift cards hidden
A former LVCVA executive hid the purchase of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards in records at the agency. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, said the money was for promotional events and did not disclose that it was for gift cards. Lawson also instructed Southwest employees to submit invoices without mentioning the purchases were for the cards. More than $50,000 of the cards cannot be accounted for. The convention authority is publicly funded . Lawson recently resigned.
Kim Jong Un visits Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage visited the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore briefly Monday night, local time. (Video by Philip Chope)
Coca-Cola Bottle Purse Has 9,888 Diamonds
Designer Kathrine Baumann and jeweler Aaron Shum set the Guinness World Record for most diamonds (9,888) set on a handbag. The Coca Cola bottle-shaped purse was on display at the Coca Cola Store on the Strip. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sentosa Island a pleasure resort with a pirate past
The site of Tuesday's U.S.-North Korea summit is known for theme parks and resorts. But before that, it was known as a pirate island. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge Sandra Pomrenze's comment about girl's hair
Nevada Races Full of Women From Both Sides
It's already been a historic election season for women in politics. Record numbers of women are running for political office all over the country - including Nevada. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
East Las Vegas home damaged by fire
Clark County Fire Department crews responded to a house fire in east Las Vegas Thursday morning. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
911 call: Mom tries to get to son shot at Route 91
A woman stuck on the interstate during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, tries to get to her son. 911 call released by Las Vegas police.
Las Vegas 911 caller reports people shot on Oct. 1
A 911 caller on Oct. 1, 2017, reports several people shot at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
911 call from woman under stage in Las Vegas shooting
A 911 call from a woman underneath the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival during the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting.
LVCVA facing scandal over gift cards
LVCVA is facing a growing scandal over airline gift cards. LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned.
Siblings separated in the foster care system get a day together
St. Jude's Ranch for Children and Cowabunga Bay Cares program partnered to bring 75 siblings together for the day to play on the water slides and in the pools at the Henderson water park. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People flee the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Las Vegas police released footage from a camera on Mandalay Bay of the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Aaliyah Inghram awarded medal of courage
Aaliyah Inghram, a 10-year-old girl who was shot while protecting her 18-month-old brother and 4-year-old cousin during a shooting on May 8, awarded medal of courage. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like