British police name two attackers responsible for deadly rampage.
Nation shaken by latest terror in heart of London
LONDON | British police named two of the three men who left a trail of bloodshed with a van and knife in central London and appealed for the public’s help Monday to learn more about their movements in the days leading up to the deadly rampage that killed seven people and left dozens wounded.
Khuram Shazad Butt was a 27-year-old Pakistan-born Briton known to authorities, according to a statement issued by London police. Rachid Redouane — who had claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan, variously gave his age as 30 or 25 and also used Elkhdar as a surname — was not on the radar of police or intelligence agencies until the attack.
Both were shot dead, along with a third attacker who has not been identified, by officers called to the chaotic scene on Saturday night.
London police said Butt was known to authorities, but they had no reason to think he was actively planning to do harm. Neighbors of the two attackers recalled at least one had tried to radicalize young people in the neighborhood, and they had reported him to the authorities.
Ten others who were arrested in the east London neighborhood of Barking where the two named suspects had lived remained in custody.
The attack launched by three men in the London Bridge area Saturday night is shaping the final days of an election campaign, focusing attention on Prime Minister Theresa May’s role in reducing the ranks of police officers. Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he supported those calling for Mrs. May to resign because of her role reducing police staffing during her tenure as home secretary, though he said the best remedy was to vote her out.
“There’s an election on Thursday, [and] that’s the chance,” he said, citing an “appalling” cut in police staffing levels.
“We’re calling for a restoration of police numbers, and there’s a call being made for her to go, because of what she’s done on the police numbers.”
Mrs. May, under fire because of three major attacks in Britain in the last three months, said Mr. Corbyn wasn’t fit to safeguard Britain’s security at a time of heightened threat.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the brazen attack that started on London Bridge, then continued in the streets surrounding Borough Market.
Most of the London Underground stations reopened in the neighborhood where the attack took place, allowing normal life and commerce to resume after more than 24 hours of lockdown. Some residents cooped up inside all day Sunday emerged from their homes for the first time since the attacks.
Dozens were injured, 18 of them critically, in the attack that started on the London Bridge, when three attackers swerved the vehicle into pedestrians, then, armed with knives, rampaged through Borough Market, slashing and stabbing anyone they could find. The three men wore fake suicide vests — to make them even more imposing.
The sister of a missing 32-year-old man said Monday her brother is believed to have died in the attack. Melissa McMullan told Sky News that police said her brother James McMullan’s bank card had been found on one of the bodies.
“While our pain will never diminish, it is important for us all to carry on with our lives in direct opposition to those who wish to destroy us, and remember that hatred is the refuge of small-minded individuals and will only breed more,” she said.
It is not clear how having more police on the beat would have prevented the attack since the men were shot dead within eight minutes, but the issue of police cuts has come back to haunt Mrs. May, who served for six years as home secretary under her predecessor, David Cameron, before she became prime minister last year.
During that time, police numbers have dropped by roughly 20,000 officers, and the number of armed officers has fallen as well.
Mrs. May said Monday that Britain’s counterterrorism operations are fully funded, but London Mayor Sadiq Khan — a Labor figure — said cuts to police have been draconian.
“Over the last seven years, we as a city have lost [$775 million] from our budget,” he said. “We have had to close police stations, sell police buildings, and we’ve lost thousands of police staff.”
The country’s official terror threat level had been set at “critical” in the days after the Manchester concert bombing on May 22 that killed 22 people — reflecting a judgment that an attack might be imminent because accomplices with similar bombs might be on the loose.
It was lowered once intelligence agencies were comfortable that this wasn’t the case. The London attack, carried out by three knife-wielding men in a rented van, is apparently unconnected to the Manchester bombing.
Mrs. May has said the three attacks — including one on Parliament in March — weren’t connected in any operational sense but were linked by what she called the “perverted ideology” of extremist Islam.
Tributes sprang up around London after Saturday’s attack at London Bridge. Police identified Khuram Shazad Butt, a Pakistaniborn Briton, and Rachid Redouane as two of the three attackers. Ten others have been arrested in connection with the crime.