Fears London attacker used Ireland to gain access to UK

These are the faces of two of the three terrorists who carried out the London Bridge attacks — one of whom had lived in Ireland.

Fears London attacker used Ireland to gain access to UK

Scotland Yard last night confirmed that Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane were two of the three men who carried out the attack which left seven people dead.

Redouane, who was 30 and claimed both Moroccan and Libyan descent, was found by police who searched his body to be carrying an identity card issued by immigration authorities which gave an address in Rathmines, Dublin, as his place of residence. He also used the name Rachid Elkhdar, claiming to be six years younger.

He is understood to have married English national Charisse Redouane O’Leary in Ireland in 2011, before travelling to Britain. They had a one-year-old child together. Redouane may have worked as a pastry chef here.

Ms O’Leary’s home was raided in the aftermath of the attacks. It appears that the couple had split before or shortly after the birth of their child. The couple are believed to have returned to Ireland for a short time in 2016.

The possibility that Redouane used Ireland as a means to gain easy entry to the UK is being investigated. Gardaí keep 30 to 40 Islamic extremists under surveillance here. However, it is understood that Redouane was not on any watchlist here.

Gardaí have carried out several arrests in recent weeks of individuals suspected of fundraising and organising for Islamic terrorist movements.

In the UK, all 12 people arrested in connection with the London Bridge attack were released without charge last night.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, British home secretary Amber Rudd and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott with members of the public observing a minute’s silence. Picture: Yui Mok/PA
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, British home secretary Amber Rudd and shadow home secretary Diane Abbott with members of the public observing a minute’s silence. Picture: Yui Mok/PA

Muslim leaders here have said they had no knowledge of Redouane and that he had not come to their attention.

Dr Ali Selim of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland said he had never personally him, nor had anyone in the community that he had spoken to.

Imam Yahia Al-Hussein of the Islamic Foundation of Ireland also said he was also surprised by the reports that the terrorist had Irish links and that it had caused “anger and upset” amongst the Irish Muslim community.

Mor than 130 imams religious leaders from diverse backgrounds have refused to perform the funeral prayer for the London attackers in an unprecedented move.

Shaykh Dr Umar Al Qadri, head imman of the Al-Mustafa Islamic Educational and Cultural Centre Ireland, told the Irish Examiner that the perpetrators of the London attacks do not represent Islam, and that Ireland should introduce tougher laws to “put radicals behind bars for a longer period”. He said “there should be legislation to send people like that back where they came from” and that any radicalised person put in prison should be forced to attend “de-radicalisation centres with Muslim scholars, even when they go into prison they must willingly undergo de-radicalisation”.

Dr Al Qadri said he “absolutely supports” incoming Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s plan to introduce a UK-style Cobra Government anti-terrorism unit in Ireland, as “there are extremists in Ireland”.

Stressing radicals do not represent Muslims in this Ireland, he said: “They distort opinions of Muslims from many centuries ago. A real jihad is to work to prevent extremism. We can’t just stay silent.”

The other terrorist has been named as Khuram Shazad Butt, a 27-year old British citizen who was born in Pakistan. Along with Redouane, he lived in Barking, east London.

British police said Butt was known to the security services, but there was no evidence of “attack planning” by him. “While formal identification is yet to take place, detectives believe they know the identity of the attackers. They believe two of the men are Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane, both from Barking, east London. All three men were confronted and shot dead by armed officers within eight minutes of the first call. Inquiries are ongoing to confirm the identity of their accomplice,” he said

Butt was known to the police and MI5, and had been reported him to an anti-terror hotline.

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