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London terror: Ire over Pak-origin attacker, third terrorist is named

Scotland Yard has identified the third of the men involved in the London Bridge terror attack as Youssef Zaghba, an Italian of Moroccan origin.

world Updated: Jun 06, 2017 21:34 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
File photo of Youssef Zaghba, an Italian of Moroccan origin, who has been identified by Scotland Yard as the third man involved in the London Bridge terror attack last week.
File photo of Youssef Zaghba, an Italian of Moroccan origin, who has been identified by Scotland Yard as the third man involved in the London Bridge terror attack last week.(Metropolitan Police)

Scotland Yard on Tuesday named the third attacker in the London Bridge terror assault – Youssef Zaghba, an Italian of Moroccan origin – as questions were raised how no action was taken against another attacker, Pakistan-born Khuram Butt, despite his open espousal of extremist views. 

The police had on Monday night named Butt and Rachi Redouane as two of the three attackers who were responsible for killing seven people and injuring nearly 50 others at London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday night.

Zaghba, 22, was not a subject of interest for the police or the MI5 intelligence agency, officials said.

But police and intelligence officials came under intense scrutiny after it was revealed Butt had appeared in a Channel 4 documentary on British jihadis last year, and was known for his extreme views. 

A Scotland Yard statement said: “Detectives would like to hear from anyone who has any information about these (three) men that may assist them with the investigation. They are particularly keen to hear about places they may have frequented and their movements in the days and hours before the attacks.” 

A 27-year-old man was arrested in Barking on Tuesday, while 12 people arrested earlier were released without charge. Raids were continuing at some addresses as the United Kingdom observed a minute’s silence at 11am in memory of those killed.

It emerged that Butt, born to Pakistani immigrants reportedly from Jhelum, was a supporter of the banned Islamist group al-Muhajiroun. Last month, he was spotted urging people in east London not to participate in the June 8 general election. Butt also worked at the Westminster underground tube station and in a restaurant.

A supporter of Arsenal football club, whose shirt he was wearing during the attack, Butt was known to the police and MI5, which had opened an investigation into him in 2015, according to a report in The Guardian. 

But inquiries established no intelligence or evidence to suggest any terrorist activity or that an attack was being planned, assistant police commissioner Mark Rowley said. “I have seen nothing yet that a poor decision was made,” he added.

Butt’s friends and neighbours spoke about their interactions with him, and reports said his family’s hotel in Pakistan had been searched.

In recent years, Butt’s fundamentalist approach to religion repeatedly caused concern among people who knew him. He associated with al-Muhajiroun, the banned group whose leader Anjem Choudary has been linked to the recruitment of more than 100 British terrorism suspects, The Guardian reported.

Butt was also reportedly banned from a mosque for his views and attempts to hand out flyers asking members of the community not to vote in the election. But some neighbours in Barking s said he seemed “a sociable, friendly guy”.