Saturday, 10 June 2017


The terrorists who rampaged across London on the night of 3 June were part of a wider extremist network closely monitored by MI5 for decades. The same network was heavily involved in recruiting Britons to fight with jihadist groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Police have confirmed that Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba were the three terrorists shot dead after participating in a brutal van and knife attack in the London Bridge area.

According to press reports, both Butt and Redouane were longstanding members of the proscribed extremist network formerly known as al-Muhajiroun. After 9/11, the group operated under different names such as Shariah4UK, Muslims4Crusades and Islam4UK. Originally founded by Lebanese firebrand, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who was banned from returning the UK after the 7/7 attacks, the network was later run by Bakri’s deputy, Anjem Choudary.

Choudary was convicted in 2016 for supporting and encouraging support for ISIS.

Yet the press has largely ignored the extent to which Choudary’s uncanny freedom to operate in Britain, and to send British Muslims to fight in foreign theatres, was linked to his opaque relationship to Britain’s security services.

Khuram Butt was known to counter-terrorism police and MI5, who investigated him in 2015. The official line is that he was deprioritised as no evidence of attack planning was found.

Anonymous British counter-terrorism sources, however, told CNN that Butt was the subject of a “full package” of investigatory measures, as he was believed to be “one of the most dangerous extremists in the UK”. After September 2014, when ISIS began calling for attacks on the West, British security services grew “increasingly concerned that al-Muhajiroun members who had remained in the UK would carry out terrorist attacks.” The sources said that “One of those they were most concerned about was Butt.”

According to the Telegraph, Redouane fought with the Libyan Islamist militia unit Liwa al-Ummah to topple Muammar Qaddafi. Libyan security and diplomatic sources told the paper this militia sent foreign fighters to Syria after the NATO-backed revolution, many of whom “went on to fight alongside Al-Qaeda extremists in Syria”.

As British foreign policy analyst Mark Curtis reports: “The Liwa al-Ummah was formed by a deputy of Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the former emir of the al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.” Belhaj went on to become a military commander for the NATO-backed National Transition Council in Tripoli to bring down Qadafi in 2011. And in 2012, Liwa al-Ummah fighters in Syria merged with the main rebel force, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) — which received direct military and logistical support from the US and UK militaries, as well as the Gulf states and Turkey.

Metropolitan Police denied that the third attacker, Zaghba, was known to the authorities, describing him as “not a police or MI5 subject of interest.”

An Italian national of Moroccan descent, Zaghba had also come on the radar of Italian intelligence in March 2016. Authorities stopped him at Bologna airport while trying to take a flight to Turkey to reach Syria, and had passed information on his movements to Moroccan authorities, as well as MI5 and MI6 — noting that he had told authorities in Bologna that he wanted to become a terrorist.

Despite being placed on an EU-wide watchlist, he managed to enter Britain without problem

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, June 10th, 2017.]

1 comment:

madad ali said...
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