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British police identify all three London attackers

© France 24 screengrab

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-06-06

London’s Metropolitan Police have now identified all three men who killed seven people on a rampage late Saturday in a busy area of London as Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba.

Police said Monday that Butt, 27, a British citizen who was born in Pakistan, was known to both police and MI5 but that there had been no evidence to suggest that an attack was being planned.

The Guardian reported that Butt had begun taking a "fundamentalist approach" to religion in recent years, sparking concern among those who knew him, and featured in a Channel 4 documentary about UK jihadis that was broadcast last year.

Redouane, a pastry chef of Moroccan and Libyan descent, had been living in Dublin until recently, according to Irish police. 

British police on Tuesday named the third attacker as Youssef Zaghba, 22, an Italian national of Moroccan descent. Bologna prosecutor Giuseppe Amato said Britain was warned about Zaghba in March 2016 after he was detained at the city's airport trying to board a plane for Turkey and thought to be en route to Syria. UK police had said earlier that Zaghba was not a "subject of interest" to the intelligence services.

The three men targeted an area of London that is full of bars and restaurants, first ramming a white van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then rampaging through Borough Market with knives, slashing and stabbing at the Saturday night crowd shortly after 10pm.

At least 48 people were injured, more than a dozen of them critically.

The attackers, who wore fake suicide vests, were shot to death by police within minutes of the first call to emergency services. The Islamic State (IS) group has since claimed responsibility but it is not known the extent of any links the men have to the terrorist group.

Both Butt and Redouane lived in Barking, an ethnically diverse part of east London where police carried out several raids on Sunday and Monday.

All 10 people still being held as part of the investigation were released without charge on Monday.

‘Unprecedented’

The IS group has claimed responsibility for three attacks in Britain since March, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick described the recent wave of violence as "unprecedented in my working life".

"We in this country have faced a terrorist threat throughout my life - it changed and morphed and we will change and adapt to what appears to be a new reality for us," she said.

Prime Minister Theresa May warned that the country faced a new threat from copycat attacks. She said Britain must do "more, much more" to combat what she called the perverted ideology of radical Islam.

The country's major political parties temporarily suspended campaigning with only days to go before Thursday's general election. May said the vote would take place as scheduled because "violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process".

The political rhetoric ratcheted up again on Monday, with May saying opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to handle security and Brexit. Corbyn in turn called for May to resign because of her role in cutting police staffing during her tenure as home secretary.

Most of the London Underground stations reopened Monday in the neighbourhood where the attack took place, allowing normal life to resume in the area after more than 24 hours of lockdown.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP, AFP)

Date created : 2017-06-05

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