Gar­daí step up at­tack probes af­ter claims

■ Se­cu­rity ser­vice ex­am­ines if any ‘pre-plan­ning’ for Lon­don Bridge at­tack took place in Ire­land

Irish Examiner - - News - Cor­mac O’Ke­effe

The Garda’s se­cu­rity ser­vice is ex­am­in­ing whether any “pre-plan­ning” for the Lon­don at­tacks oc­curred in Ire­land fol­low­ing claims from a for­mer Mus­lim rad­i­cal that two of the three ter­ror­ists had stayed here.

The Ir­ish con­vert, who spoke at a press con­fer­ence or­gan­ised by a prom­i­nent Dublin Imam last Fri­day, also claimed there were 150 ex­trem­ists liv­ing here.

While counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cers stress they do not yet know if, or to what ex­tent, the claims are ac­cu­rate, sources said they were tak­ing them “very se­ri­ously”.

Gar­daí have al­ready iden­ti­fied that one of the ter­ror­ists, Rachid Re­douane, had lived in Ire­land, with known ad­dresses in Dublin.

An Ir­ish woman from Lim­er­ick, re­ferred to as Aaliyah, told the me­dia that a sec­ond Lon­don at­tacker and sus­pected ring­leader, Khu­ram Butt, had also been in Ire­land.

Butt was known to po­lice and MI5 af­ter pub­licly as­so­ci­at­ing him­self with hate preacher An­jem Choudary and other ex­trem­ists in his Is­lamist net­work, al-Muha­jiroun.

Aaliyah, who con­verted when she was 18, as­so­ci­ated with Choudary’s net­work in Bri­tain and was en­gaged to one of its as­so­ciates.

The now 26-year-old told the me­dia that not only had Re­douane been in Ire­land but so too had Butt.

She claimed she saw him in Ire­land “two or three times” and that he, Re­douane, and other ex­trem­ists op­er­ated out of a house in the Santry area of north Dublin and that many of them also lived in prop­er­ties in Lim­er­ick, Clare, and Tip­per­ary.

She claimed Butt was “vis­it­ing peo­ple” in Ire­land and “giv­ing talks” while stay­ing here for a few weeks “on and off”. She claimed the dream of the ex­trem­ists here was “to have an army for ji­had”.

The woman said she was de­rad­i­calised with the as­sis­tance of a Lon­don-based Imam and his wife. Re­cently she ap­proached Dr Umar Al-Qadri, imam of the Is­lamic Cul­tural Cen­tre in Blan­chard­stown, west Dublin.

Garda se­cu­rity of­fi­cers have in­ter­viewed Aaliyah at length and are now in­ves­ti­gat­ing her claims. “Ab­so­lutely, this is a se­ri­ous devel­op­ment, if what she says is true,” said one source.

“In­quiries are be­ing con­ducted to see can we con­firm or dis­miss the claims.”

It is not known how spe­cific Aaliyah has been in terms of ad­dresses, when she was here, names or con­tact de­tails of land­lords, and names of other ex­trem­ists that were present.

“If what she says is true it would change our at­ti­tude to things, but it is early days in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” said a source.

De­tec­tives will try and piece to­gether any con­tact be­tween Re­douane and Butt here and will ex­am­ine the ex­tremely se­ri­ous is­sue of whether any “pre-plan­ning” for the Lon­don at­tacks oc­curred here.

Gar­daí are likely to con­tact the Lon­don Met and ask them to in­ter­view the Lon­don imam about Aaliyah’s story. Mem­bers of Counter Ter­ror­ism In­ter­na­tional will try and lo­cate and in­ter­view any rel­e­vant per­sons here.

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