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London Bridge terrorist could have used Northern Ireland as back door into Britain

Rachid Redouane
Rachid Redouane
Khuram Shazad Butt

By Robin Schiller

One of the London terror attackers may have used Northern Ireland to enter the UK after it emerged he was living in the Republic as recently as October.

Rachid Redouane (30) was a pastry chef who moved to Dublin in 2016 along with his wife Charisse O'Leary (38), who is originally from the UK.

They have an 18-month-old daughter together. Security sources believe the terror attacker lived in an apartment block in Rathmines, Co Dublin with his family over a period of time.

Redouane and Ms O'Leary married in the Republic in 2012, before moving to the UK. They returned to Ireland in 2016 before leaving again last October.

A source added that their marriage appeared genuine, and not for financial gain or to secure residency in this jurisdiction.

Redouane also used the name Rachid Elkhdar, claiming to be six years younger, while authorities say he is of Moroccan and Libyan descent. His accomplice, Khuram Shazad Butt (27), a 27-year-old British citizen born in Pakistan, was known to British intelligence.

The terrorists were officially named by UK authorities last night, while the third perpetrator has yet to be officially named.

In total seven people were killed while a further 48 were injured in the attack, for which terror group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility.

The attackers were shot dead within eight minutes of the first police call-out.

Following the atrocity London Metropolitan Police officers discovered an Irish identity document on Redouane.

This card was issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and is given to non-EU nationals, permitting them to reside in the Republic for a certain period of time.

Concerns have now been raised that Redouane used the border with Northern Ireland as a backdoor to enter the UK before planning and carrying out the terror attack.

He did not come to the attention of gardai in relation to criminal or terrorist-related activities during his time in the Republic, and there is no evidence yet to suggest he was radicalised there.

Charisse O'Leary was arrested as part of the investigation into the London Bridge terror attack.

She had recently changed her profile picture on her social media account to show support with the victims of the Manchester terror attack on May 22.

Despite living here just nine months before Saturday night's terror attack, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has stated that Redouane was not placed under surveillance by garda security and intelligence.

Gardai were last night continuing to carry out background checks on Redouane to determine who he was in contact with while in the Republic. They are also attempting to establish his activities while in the State. An Irish security source described the killer as having "extensive immigration history related to the UK". Meanwhile, all 12 people arrested in relation to the London Bridge attack have been released without charge.

Police raided two addresses in east London on Sunday, in the wake of the van and knife rampage in which seven people were killed and 48 injured.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said Butt was known to the security services, but there was no evidence of "attack planning" by him.

The two killers both lived in Barking, east London, while police are working to identify the third accomplice. Butt was known to the police and MI5, and a member of public had reported him to an anti-terror hotline. He is also alleged to have been an associate of radical hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

The investigation into Butt began in 2015, Mr Rowley said, adding: "However, there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritised accordingly."

Belfast Telegraph


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