Questions surface over how British police overlooked London attackers

Frederick Owens
June 8, 2017

Criticism immediately flared about how Butt was able to carry out the attack, as he had featured in a Channel 4 TV documentary entitled "The Jihadis Next Door" and, according to the British media, numerous people alarmed by his views had gone to the authorities.

"Questions are arising as to how much the police knew about the three attackers", NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from London. Police have not released the identity of the third attacker.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who called the snap election in hopes of strengthening her mandate for discussions over Britain's exit from the European Union, has come under fire for the cuts to police numbers over recent years. In a statement Tuesday, they said that they arrested a 27-year-old man this morning.

The Metropolitan police on Monday (June 6) identified two of the three knife-wielding terrorists, who were shot dead in the London Bridge terror attack on Saturday, as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane.

The jihadist was wearing his Arsenal away shirt when he and two other terrorists went on the rampage at London Bridge leaving seven dead and nearly 50 injured.

The attackers were wearing what appeared to be explosive vests that were later discovered to be fake. He spoke English salted with east London slang and was a fan of the Arsenal soccer team. Authorities are working to identify the third man involved in the attack.

Three attackers rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby on Saturday night before police shot them dead.

At any one time there are around 500 active counter-terrorism investigations concerning 3,000 people of interest.

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Between 2009 and previous year, the number of police officers fell by nearly 20,000, or around 14 per cent, according to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank. The force says formal identification has not yet taken place, but Xavier Thomas' next of kin have been informed. The deceased's family have been informed.

"However, there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned", they said, adding.

Earlier, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera had reported that Zaghba had been stopped at an Italian airport because authorities believed he was on his way to Syria, and that Italian officials had warned British counterparts about him.

"Our work necessarily involves making hard judgements about how to prioritise the resources available to us at a time when the United Kingdom is facing a severe and high tempo terrorist threat", police said.

"A small number of the highest priority investigations involve current attack planning, and these investigations command a significant proportion of our resource", police said.

Butt was a known radical Islamist who was filmed unfurling a black flag resembling the one used by the Islamic State group and raised the suspicion of a neighbor after allegedly trying to lure local youngsters to join his jihadist campaign.

The photos of the two Daesh terrorists, Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane were shared on the Twitter account of the Metropolitan police.

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