London attack knifeman had been reported to police for trying to radicalise children
As police carried out two more raids in the wake of the terror attack in London on Saturday, it has emerged that worried neighbours previously reported one of the attackers to the police
One of the London Bridge knifemen had been reported to the anti-terror police over fears he was attempting to radicalise schoolchildren, according to reports.
The suspect was reportedly said to have become radicalised after watching extremist videos on YouTube.
Seven people were killed and 48 injured, 21 of them critically, when three men drove a white van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then rampaged through Borough Market, slashing indiscriminately with 12in blades.
All three of the attackers were shot dead by police within minutes.
As police investigations continued on Monday morning, residents at the Elizabeth Fry flats in King's Road, Barking - where a number of arrests were made on Sunday - it emerged that one of the knifeman's neighbours reported him to police a year ago for attempting to radicalise children in the area.
Neighbours said they recognised the attacker from a photograph and said he was of middle-eastern or Pakistani origin, had children, and had lived in the area for a number of years.
"They were waiting for the children of the neighbourhood. They would give the children chocolate while talking to them. They would pray in the park for hours." - Neighbour
Neighbours also said he was known locally as "Abz" and identified him as the terrorist wearing an Arsenal shirt in a photo showing him crumpled on the ground after being shot by armed police, the Sun reported.
According to The Times, the Barking suspect, in his 20s, had preached to people at his flat, worked on the transport network and worked for a few hours a week at an Islamic fitness centre where he also took part in boxing and taekwondo.
Housewife Erica Gasparri, 42, told The Times she had reported the suspect to police last year after challenging him in a park near a school.
She said: "They were waiting for the children of the neighbourhood. They would give the children chocolate while talking to them. They would pray in the park for hours."
A friend told the BBC Asian Network he had reported him to the anti-terror hotline after he began expressing increasingly radical views and justifying terror attacks, but the friend said he was never arrested.
The Daily Mail reported the suspect had featured in the Channel 4 documentary The Jihadis Next Door, which filmed alleged extremists.
Salaudeen Jailabdeen, 40, who lives in a neighbouring block of flats, said the suspect had once been ejected from a local mosque for interrupting an imam.
But in a statement on its website, the mosque said: "We feel until the police release more information it is not appropriate for us to speak about anyone that may or may not have prayed here."
Police carried out two raids on Monday morning at addresses in east London.
Caldeon Road in Newham was sealed off and a local woman said a family living next door to her were taken away in the early hours of the morning.
She said she was woken up with noise and could hear shouts of "On the floor, on the floor, on the floor" coming from the next door.
"And after, people screaming scared, and boom boom boom," she said, adding that she could hear an explosion and four or five gunshots. The noise was so loud and she and her housemates thought it was taking place in their house.
"We were very scared," she said, adding that glass was smashed at the front of her house. She said she believes the people who live in the house are Muslim, adding that it is a family that includes two sons.
Mohamed Ozhuparambil, who also lives on the street, said he thinks a Bangladeshi family lives at the house raided by police.
He said three men, including a man over 65, and three women, including a teenager, were taken away in a police van. He said he heard a "bomb blasting" sound.
Another resident on the street, Ahmed Jableo, said he heard a "massive bang like a big bomb blast shooting noise".
At the same time, around 4am, police were carrying out another raid, in a property on the A13 in Dagenham,
James Bateman, who lives at the other side of the road, said: "At about 4am, after the large bang, I looked outside the window after being woken up and I saw about a dozen armed police officers going to and from an unmarked van."
He said they were wearing "full gear", adding: "The first bang was nothing like I'd heard before."
Mr Bateman said the bangs that followed were not as loud but sounded "the equivalent" of gunshots.
He said he thought it was more like a business address than a property where people live.
Police also raided flats in Barking, East London on Sunday morning as part of their investigations.
Belfast Telegraph Digital