British police identify two London attack suspects

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017
Last Update: 08:28
British police have named two of three attack suspects who murdered and wounded people on and near London Bridge. All twelve people arrested since the killings have been released.London police on Monday identified the alleged attackers as Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, a British citizen born in Pakistan, and Rachid Redouane, who claimed both Libyan and Moroccan nationality.

Redouane was reportedly 30 years old, but he also went by the name Rachid Elkhdar, whose age was listed as 25. Butt had previously been investigated by authorities.

British police have named two of three attack suspects who murdered and wounded people on and near London Bridge. All twelve people arrested since the killings have been released.

London police on Monday identified the alleged attackers as Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, a British citizen born in Pakistan, and Rachid Redouane, who claimed both Libyan and Moroccan nationality.

Redouane was reportedly 30 years old, but he also went by the name Rachid Elkhdar, whose age was listed as 25. Butt had previously been investigated by authorities.

"I would urge anyone with information about these men, their movements in the days and hours before the attack and the places they frequented to come forward," national counter-terrorism police chief Mark Rowley said in the statement.  Seven people were killed and dozens wounded in Saturday´s attack. Thirty six people were still being treated in London hospitals on Monday.

Ten of the people arrested as part of police investigations have been released wtihout charge, police said on Monday. Two others arrested had been released previously.

"At any one time MI5 and police are conducting around 500 active investigations, involving 3,000 subjects of interest," he said. "Additionally, there are around 20,000 individuals who are former subjects of interest, whose risk remains subject to review by MI5 and its partners."

The Metropolitan Police also said in a statement that specialist officers were working with families and the coroner to identify those who died in the attack.

Election within days

The latest attack comes against the backdrop of parliamentary elections later in the week. Prime Minister Theresa May has come under fire from her chief political opponent and some in the media for cuts she made to the police force during her time as home secretary.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn voiced support for those calling on May resign because of her role in reducing police staffing, but he said the best remedy was to vote her out.

"There΄s an election on Thursday, that΄s the chance," he said, citing an "appalling" cut in police staffing levels. "We΄re calling for a restoration of police numbers, and there΄s a call being made for her to go, because of what she΄s done on the police numbers."

May shot back, saying, Corbyn wasn΄t fit to safeguard Britain΄s security at a time of heightened threat.

"We have given increased powers to the police to be able to deal with terrorists - powers which Jeremy Corbyn has boasted he has always opposed," she said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is a member of the opposition Labour Party said on Monday: "It΄s just a fact that, over the last seven years, we as a city have lost 600 million pounds ($774 million or 688 million euros) from our budgets. We have had to close police stations, sell police buildings, and we΄ve lost thousands of police staff,"

A vigil was held near Tower Bridge on Monday evening.

Plots foiled

Police chief Rowley said Britain΄s security services had foiled 18 plots since 2013, including five in the past two months.

Butt and Redouane were from the multi-ethnic Barking neighborhood of east London, where police raids began shortly after the attacks Saturday night.

The authorities are still  working to identity the third attacker. All three suspects were shot dead in a hail of gunfire by police within minutes of the attack, which began when they drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge.

The assault continued when the men, each armed with a knife, jumped out of the van and went on a stabbing spree in nearby bars and restaurants. Seven people were killed and dozens injured.

΄No intelligence of attack plans΄

Butt was previously known to police and the domestic spy agency, MI5.

"However, there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritized accordingly," police said.

The authorities did not say how Butt had come to the attention of law enforcement but local media now report that in 2016 Butt appeared in a Channel 4 documentary entitled "The Jihadis Next Door" about British extremists.

Redouane was not known to the police.

bik/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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