Police knew London Bridge killer
Security services come under scrutiny
POLICE were yesterday facing questions over how one of the London Bridge attackers slipped through the net as British Prime Minister Theresa May came under attack over funding cuts.
One of the attackers – Khuram Shazad Butt – who killed seven people during a rampage through central London had been on the radar of security services.
Yesterday, Italian media named the third attacker as Moroccan-Italian Youssef Zaghba. According to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, Zaghba was stopped in Italy last year trying to go to Syria. London police have not confirmed the name.
Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, said police and security services will have questions to answer about why Butt was not stopped. “People are going to look at the front pages today and say ‘how on Earth could we have let this guy or possibly more through the net? What happened?’” he told Sky News.
The admission that at least one of the London Bridge attackers was known to authorities has fuelled a security debate under way as the country counts down to an unpredictable election tomorrow.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticised the cuts to the police under the Conservative-led government and argued that London could lose frontline police officers if May’s Conservative Party triumphs in the election.
The Labour mayor told the BBC that the responsibility for the bloodshed lies with the attackers but said said that “there’s no doubt that fewer police officers means we are in more danger”. When asked if Britain should rescind the offer of a state visit to US President Donald Trump following Trump’s recent criticisms of Khan, the London mayor told BBC that he had not changed his view that a state visit was inappropriate.
At 11am, the nation held a minute’s silence to remember all of those affected by the terror attack.
The two main candidates for prime minister – the incumbent, May, and the challenger, Jeremy Corbyn – traded barbs on Monday over how security services can better protect the public after three mass-casualty attacks in as many months.
May said authorities would need greater powers to crack down on extremism and Corbyn had blocked such efforts. Corbyn, the left-wing leader of the opposition Labour Party, accused May of starving police and other security services of personnel and funds.
Both agreed the country would have to make changes as security services struggle to confront a threat that is growing in scale and tempo.
The agencies say they have disrupted 18 plots since 2013, including five in recent months.
London’s Metropolitan Police identified the assailants as 27-yearold Butt, a British citizen who was born in Pakistan, and 30-year-old Rachid Redouane, who had claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan.
Both lived in the Barking area of east London, a half-hour’s drive from London Bridge and Borough Market – the adjacent areas where victims were targeted Saturday night.
Butt had been investigated in 2015, was known by neighbours to be an extremist and was featured last year in a documentary on Britain’s Channel 4 called The Jihadis Next Door. But police said their probe into Butt had been shelved.
The Islamic State claimed to have been behind the attack But experts have noted the group did not provide any details to prove its involvement.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.