British police identify two London attackers

One was a British citizen born in Pakistan and was known to police and Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5. The other claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan, and also went by the name Rachid Elkhdar with a different date of birth.

An undated handout picture released by the British Metropolitan police service in London on June 5, 2017 shows Khuram Shazad Butt, left, and Rachid Redouane from Barking, east London, believed by police to be two of the three attackers in the June 3 terror attack on London Bridge. AFP Photo/ Metropolitan police
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LONDON // British police have named two of the three suspects in the van and knife attack on London Bridge and Borough Market that left seven people dead.

The suspects were named as Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, a British citizen born in Pakistan, who was already known to police and Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5, London’s police force said.

“However, there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritised accordingly,” police said in a statement.

The second attacker was named as 30-year-old Rachid Redouane, who police said claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan, and also went by the name Rachid Elkhdar with a different date of birth.

Both men were from Barking, east London, where police raids began shortly after Saturday night’s attacks which also wounded 48 people. The rampage started on the London Bridge, when the three attackers swerved the vehicle into pedestrians then, armed with knives, rampaged through Borough Market, slashing and stabbing anyone they could find. The three men, who wore fake suicide vests, were shot to death by police and ISIL claimed responsibility.

Investigations into the identity of the third attacker continue, police said. But Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, said one of the three attackers shot dead in the attack was carrying an Irish identity card and had lived in Dublin. Citing police sources, RTE said the man is believed to have been from Morocco and married to a Scottish woman.

Police said 12 people had been arrested - seven women and five men - and six properties searched. One of the arrested men and one of the women were subsequently released.

“Of the 48 people taken to hospital, 36 are currently being cared for in London hospitals with 18 remaining in a critical condition,” according to police.

Londoners went back to work on Monday with a spirit of defiance after the weekend attack, but commuters at the scene of the rampage also spoke of their fears.

Saturday’s atrocity weighed heavily on the minds of people walking across London Bridge and trying to navigate around the cordon screening off Borough Market.

A twisted traffic light at the south end of the bridge which was almost completely knocked over, revealed where the van crashed after hitting pedestrians before its occupants began their stabbing rampage in the market.

“It’s quite chilling,” said Jessica Bony, who could not get to her office due to the police cordon.

“It’s usually quite busy, everybody is walking across the bridge to get to work. They are still trying to get to work, but the atmosphere is very different this morning,” she said. “It’s not a nice feeling.”

Grace McGillick, who works in human resources, said the attack was “really scary” but “now there is no reason to be scared. You have to be defiant about it”.

Echoing that spirit of resilience, images of a man holding a pint while being evacuated from the attack scene among hundreds of other revellers went viral on social media.

Elsewhere in the city, others voiced defiance.

“I’m not afraid. They won’t change my life,” said Oliver Sayers, a 27-year-old consultant.

On Monday, US president Donald Trump renewed his criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, in the second such condemnation in less than 48 hours since the terror attack in the British capital.

Mr Trump accused Mr Khan – London’s first Muslim mayor – of offering a “pathetic excuse” for comments that the US president earlier misconstrued about policing in response to Saturday’s rampage.

Mr Khan had told Londoners there was “no reason to be alarmed” about an increased police presence in the coming days.

Mr Trump has leapt on the London attacks as evidence of the need for hardline security measures in the US, including a “ban” on travellers from Muslim countries.

Mr Trump’s comments caused outrage among British officials, many of whom call London home.

British prime minister Theresa May was among those who came to Mr Khan’s defence.

“I think Sadiq Khan is doing a good job and it’s wrong to say anything else – he’s doing a good job,” she said on Monday.

Mr Khan’s staff said he was too busy to respond to Trump’s tweets.

* Reuters, Associated Press and Agence France-Presse