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Hotel owned by family of London attacker Khuram Butt raided in Pakistan

The British officials suspected Butt had been radicalised in the UK rather than in Pakistan, but they were carrying out searches of relatives’ houses as a precaution.

world Updated: Jun 06, 2017 21:34 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Islamabad/London
London terror attack,London attack,Khuram Butt
Police officers work on Borough High Street, close to Borough Market, in London on June 6 as the police investigations continue following the June 3 terror attack.(AFP Photo)

Pakistani security agencies on Tuesday raided a hotel owned by a relative of a Pakistani-origin militant responsible for carrying out the deadly terror attack in London that killed seven people, according to officials and media reports.

Khuram Butt, 27, along with two other militants plowed a van into pedestrians on the iconic London Bridge and then started stabbing revellers in nearby Borough market last Saturday, killing seven people.

The UK police on Monday identified two of the attackers- Pakistani-origin Butt and Moroccan-Libyan Rachid Redouane.

The third man suspected of carrying out Saturday’s deadly attack in central London was an Italian-Morrocan who was arrested last year on suspicion of trying to reach Syria.

Italy’s main newspapers named the suspect as Youssef Zaghba, 22, the son of an Italian mother, from Bologna, and a Moroccan father, who had passports from both countries.

This morning, dozens of plain clothes officers in Pakistan searched a hotel on the Grand Trunk Road in Punjab province’s Jhelum area. The hotel belonged to one of Butt’s relatives.

The officers - believed to be from Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence agency (ISI)- were seen outside the premises thought to belong to Nasir Butt, a well-known businessman in the area, The Telegraph reported.

One official at the scene said that the British officials had said that they suspected Butt had been radicalised in the UK rather than in Pakistan, but that they were carrying out searches of relatives’ houses as a precaution.

“Our British counterparts told us they don’t think he was radicalised here, and we think it is probably more likely that he was trained in Syria. But we are searching the homes of any relatives connected to him and we are tracing all telephone calls made by family members,” the Pakistani official said.

Sources in Islamabad said that no arrest was made but the place was thoroughly searched by police officials, Counter- Terrorism Department and intelligence agencies.

Butt is believed to have been born in the Jhelum area. His father, Saif, is believed to have owned a furniture shop in Jhelum before emigrating to the UK in 1988 with his family.

Jhelum lies in a part of Pakistan where many members of the British-Pakistani community originally hail from. The nearby city of Mirpur, in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, is known as “Little England” due to its large British Pakistani community.

Meanwhile, The brother of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi has been released by the UK police.

Ismail Abedi, 23, was arrested in Chorlton on May 23, a day after the terror attack on Manchester Arena which killed 22 people, including seven children.

Ten men remain in custody for questioning, while a total of eight people have now been released without charge, Greater Manchester Police said.

Salman Abedi, 22, whose family are believed to be of Libyan origin, died after detonating an improvised explosive device as people began leaving a show by US singer Ariana Grande.

His father, Ramadan Abedi, was arrested in Tripoli on May 24, along with Salman’s brother Hashim, who Libyan security forces said was “aware of all the details” of the attack.

First Published: Jun 06, 2017 17:48 IST