LONDON: Police on Monday named two of the three men behind a terror attack in London as Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane, saying Butt was known to security services but there had been no evidence of “attack planning”.
Butt was 27 and a British citizen born in Pakistan, while Redouane was 30 and “claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan”, national counter-terrorism police chief Mark Rowley said in a statement.
London attack mastermind known to MI5 but no action taken
Police sources have confirmed that Butt has no connection with any radical groups in Pakistan, was radicalised watching youtube videos of extremists and was known to the security agencies. MI5 and the police are now being urged to explain why no action was taken against Butt and his friends, who were all featured in a documentary for Channel 4.
The Met said: “Khuram Shazad Butt was known to the police and MI5. However, there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritised accordingly. The other named man, Rachid Redouane, was not known. Work is ongoing to understand more about them, their connections and whether they were assisted or supported by anyone else. We cannot say more about them at this stage. ”
Detectives would like to hear from anyone who has any information about these men that may assist them with the investigation. They are particularly keen to hear about places they may have frequented and their movements in the days and hours before the attack.
“The investigation into this horrific attack is fast-moving and complex as we piece together a fuller picture of what occurred. So far officers have arrested 12 people — seven women and five men — and searched six properties, four on Sunday and a further two properties today. One of the arrested men and one of the women were subsequently released.”
The three attackers hired the white Renault van used to ram pedestrians on London Bridge, according to police.
An Arsenal fan
Butt was known to his friends as “Abz”, and neighbours described him as a doting father-of-two and an Arsenal fan. They said he was friendly and polite, saying that he was known for attending barbeques, playing with local children and giving out sweets in the nearby park. A neighbour told Geo News that he didn’t mix much with the local community and was seen often with his kids and wife.
In 2016, the 27-year-old son of Pakistani immigrants appeared in a documentary on Channel 4 about British extremists, in which he was seen praying in Regent’s Park in central London with a group of known extremists.
A former friend said he had contacted the authorities after becoming concerned about Butt’s extremist views. Butt had been radicalised watching extremist videos online, he said, adding: “We spoke about a particular attack that happened and like most radicals, he had a justification for anything and everything, and that day I realised I needed to contact the authorities.”
‘Attack on all communities’
Commander Mak Chishty, of the Metropolitan police, delivered a statement on behalf of the capital’s Muslim community outside the Scotland Yard headquarters.
This terrorist attack is an attack on all communities, including Muslim communities. Every time a terrorist attack takes place, Muslim communities either face or fear a backlash against them. The Muslim community appeals to all sections within their own communities to root out the scourge of terrorism which hides amongst their own people and masquerades as Islam.
“The Muslim community is alarmed and concerned that this attack by three people … would have required planning and yet was not reported. It is the Islamic duty of every Muslim to be loyal to the country in which they live and we are now asking questions – to understand how extremism and hatred has taken hold within some elements of our own communities.
“Terrorism and extremism is hurting Islam. Muslims must do more to stop such attacks from happening again and we want to know how we can play a greater role in the future.”
No evidence Butt was planning an attack
The third murderer has yet to be named by the Metropolitan Police, who said although Butt was on their watch list, there was no evidence he was planning an attack and therefore his file was not deemed a priority.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: “There was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritised accordingly. Work is ongoing to understand more about them, their connections and whether they were assisted or supported by anyone else.”
Meanwhile, over 130 Imams and religious leaders from diverse backgrounds refuse to perform the funeral prayer for London attackers in an unprecedented move.
They have not only refused to perform the traditional Islamic prayer for the terrorist – a ritual that is normally performed for every Muslim regardless of their actions – but also have called on others to do the same.
They said: “Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege. This is because such indefensible actions are completely at odds with the lofty teachings of Islam,” said religious leaders in a statement.