Po­lice knew Lon­don Bridge killer

Se­cu­rity ser­vices come un­der scru­tiny

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

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.

PIC­TURE: AP

Mayor of Lon­don Sadiq Khan.

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