Belfast Telegraph

London Bridge attack: What do we know about the terrorists?

London Bridge attackers Youssef Zaghba, Rachid Redouane and Khuram Shazad Butt (Met Police/PA)
London Bridge attackers Youssef Zaghba, Rachid Redouane and Khuram Shazad Butt (Met Police/PA)

This is what we know about the terrorists who carried out the London Bridge attack:

:: Khuram Shazad Butt

A 27-year-old Pakistan-born British citizen who was known to police and MI5 and was the subject of a 2015 investigation.

He is alleged to have been an associate of jailed hate preacher Anjem Choudary and appeared in the 2016 Channel 4 Islamic extremist documentary The Jihadis Next Door.

The Jabir Bin Zayid Islamic Centre, where Butt occasionally worshipped, said he was once asked to leave "after interrupting a Friday sermon".

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of anti-extremism group the Ramadhan Foundation, said Butt called him a "Murtad" - traitor in Arabic - when he confronted Choudary about supporting terrorism days after the 2013 murder of Lee Rigby.

Residents at a block of flats in Barking, east London, where several arrests were made on Sunday, said Butt, known locally as "Abs" or "Abz", had lived in the area for around three years.

The father of two young children was a keen gym-goer and weightlifter, neighbours said.

Butt worked out at the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford, where a message on the door said: "While Mr Butt did occasionally train here at UFC gym we do not know him well nor did we see anything of concern, we will of course help the police in any way we can."

Transport for London (TfL) confirmed he worked for London Underground as a trainee customer services assistant for nearly six months until he left in October.

Housewife Erica Gasparri, 42, told The Times she had reported Butt to anti-terror police over fears he was attempting to radicalise schoolchildren, after challenging him in a park near a school.

A friend told the BBC Asian Network he reported Butt to the anti-terror hotline after he began expressing increasingly radical views and justifying terror attacks, but he was never arrested.

Another acquaintance recalled the "wonderful guy" playing football in the park with him and his children.

Police said Butt had appeared on the radar of security services but was in "the lower echelons of our investigative work".

He was reported to counter-terrorism authorities in July last year after a "violent scuffle" with a member of an anti-extremism organisation.

He rowed with the Quilliam Foundation's Dr Usama Hasan at a June event to mark Eid, the end of Ramadan, which turned violent after others intervened, the organisation said.

Neighbour Ken Chigbo claimed Butt, in the same Arsenal shirt he wore during the attack, came to ask him about hiring a van hours before the atrocity.

:: Rachid Redouane

Barking-based Redouane, 30, claimed to be Moroccan-Libyan and also went by the name Rachid Elkhdar, claiming to be six years younger.

The first clue to his background came when authorities found an Irish identity card on the body of one of the suspects.

According to reports he first arrived in Britain in 2006 and lived in Harrow, north-west London.

He reportedly applied for asylum in the UK but the application was rejected in 2009.

It is not clear when he arrived in Ireland or how long he stayed but it is believed he used Irish jurisdiction to get a European Union permit which later allowed him to be in the UK.

Security sources in Ireland confirmed he married a British woman in Dublin in 2012 and lived in Rathmines, Dublin.

The marriage reportedly allowed him to obtain a 4 EU FAM card given to spouses of European Union citizens.

When he wed Charisse Ann O'Leary, 38, on November 7 2012 in the city's Civil Registration Service office, he gave his address as Grosvenor Square in Rathmines.

Redouane left Ireland after the wedding and may have travelled to Morocco before settling in the UK.

He returned to Ireland in 2015, again for an unknown length of time, but Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was not one of a small number of radicals under surveillance.

An Irish security source described the killer as having "extensive immigration history related to the UK".

Redouane, reportedly a former pastry chef, is said to have had a 17-month-old daughter with his wife, although the couple were estranged.

According to reports he visited his child in the hours before the attack.

:: Youssef Zaghba

A 22-year-old Italian national of Moroccan descent was living in east London and reportedly worked in a Pakistani restaurant in Ilford.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper said Fez-born Zaghba's Italian mother lived in the northern city of Bologna, having parted from his father and left their Moroccan home.

In an interview with L'Espresso, Valeria Khadija Collina said she had grown concerned about her son's interest in radical Islam and last heard from him just days before the attack.

"When the son makes a mistake, the parents always think that they are partly involved," she said.

"But I tried my best and I think he was corroded inside. We have always been checking his friendships and verifying that he was not trusting the wrong people, but he had the internet and from there he got everything.

"In the past, even before he tried to get on the flight, he showed me a couple of videos about Syria, but he never talked to me about going to fight.

"For him, Syria was a place he could live following the pure ideology of Islam. He was saying he was following his fantasy learned on the internet.

"I always told him that there were horrible things that they were not showing him, but unfortunately I did not manage to make him change his mind.

"He called me on the phone last Thursday in the early afternoon. Looking back, I realise in his mind that was the last call to say goodbye. He didn't say anything in particular, but I could hear it in his voice."

It was reported that he was stopped by Italian police in March last year at Bologna's airport trying to get to Syria via Turkey, and that this was communicated by Italian intelligence to their UK counterparts.

But Scotland Yard said he was not a police or MI5 "subject of interest", despite Italian media reports.

Zaghba is said to have told Italian authorities "I'm going to be a terrorist", while officers reportedly found Islamic State-related material on his mobile phone when they intercepted him.

But authorities ruled there was insufficient evidence to accuse him of terror-related crimes.

He was placed on a watch list but his phone and passport were returned to him, allowing him to come to the UK.


From Belfast Telegraph