Alleged London attacker known as radical Islamist

nsnbc : One of the three men believed to have carried out the deadly attack in central London last weekend was known as radical islamist who was previously filmed unfurling a black flag resembling the one used by the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist organization. Police have not yet released the identity of the third person allegedly involved in carrying out the attack on London Bridge. All three were shot and killed by police.

Khuram Shazad Butt (L) and Rachid Redouane (R)

Khuram Shazad Butt (L) and Rachid Redouane (R)

On Monday police identified one of the alleged attackers as the 27-year-old Pakistan-born Briton Khuram Shazad Butt who was known to authorities prior to the incident. He previously raised the suspicion of a neighbor when he allegedly tried to lure youngsters to join a jihadi campaign. Questions were raised why authorities hadn’t acted earlier and whether he could have been stopped prior to the attack.

Butt had appeared in the documentary “The Jihadis Next Door,” that aired on British television last year. Neighbors identified Butt from the film’s footage Monday, pointing to a scene in which he is shown participating in a provocative prayer session at Regents Park, near London’s biggest mosque helping to display a black flag covered in white Arabic lettering similar to the one used by the Islamic State group, which took responsibility for the attack.

Butt is also seen in the documentary sprawling on the lawn and nodding as he listens to a sermon in which the speaker tells those gathered: “This is not the real life, my dear brothers. This is a passing time for us.” Butt’s apparent religious zeal led his neighbor Erica Gasparri, to contact police about 18 months ago. The 42-year-Gaspari was working at a local school when she noticed Butt, who was also known as Abu Mohamed, meeting with local children and trying to draw them into his radicalism.

“It was wrong what he was doing,” Gasparri said. “He kept talking about the Islamic State. I got very angry.” Salaudeen Jailabdeen, who lived near Butt, said the alleged assailant had once been ejected from a local mosque for interrupting an imam. Another neighbor, Michael Mimbo, said he saw the van used in the attack near his home on Saturday, but didn’t see who was behind the wheel. He said the vehicle was seen going the wrong way down a one-way street and was later seen speeding off, followed closely by a small red car.

However, non of the activities Kuram Shazad Butt was involved in violate British law and British rights organizations warn that “demanding that authorities crack down on people involved in fundamentally legal activities could backfire and have repercussions for the civil and constitutional rights of all political and grassroots activists”.

The second alleged attacker was identified by police as Rachid Redouane, a.k.a. Elkhdar, and claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan. He reportedly used two different birthdates that would make him either 25 or 30, authorities said.

Police have not yet released the identity of the third person involved in carrying out the attack on London Bridge, where the van swerved into pedestrians, and in nearby Borough Market, where the knife-wielding assailants slashed and stabbed anyone in their path. Besides the dead, dozens more were wounded by the men, who wore fake suicide vests to make themselves look even more imposing. All three were ultimately shot and killed by police. Twelve others taken into custody have since been released.

F/AK – nsnbc 06.06.2017

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