Manchester bomber radicalised in Britain in 2015
LONDON, June 8, (Agencies): Anti-Muslim crimes in the British capital have increased fivefold since the London Bridge terror attack, Mayor Sadiq Khan said Wednesday, warning that police would take a “zero-tolerance approach”. “Provisional statistics for 6 June show a 40 percent increase in racist incidents, compared to the daily average this year, and a fivefold increase in the number of Islamophobic incidents,” the mayor’s office said in a statement. It said 54 racist incidents were recorded on Tuesday, compared to a daily average of 38 so far in 2017.
Twenty of them were anti-Muslim incidents, well above the 2017 daily average of 3.5. “This is the highest daily level of Islamophobic incidents in 2017 to date,” the statement said, adding it was higher than levels reached after the November 2015 attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed. On his Facebook page, Khan called on Londoners “to pull together, and send a clear message around the world that our city will never be divided by these hideous individuals who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life”.
He also warned that “just as the police will do everything possible to root out extremism from our city, so we will take a zerotolerance approach to hate crime”. London’s Metropolitan Police said it had made 25 arrests for hate crime offences since Saturday, when eight people were killed by three Islamist extremists in the city centre.
Officers had also been in touch with places of worship “to encourage them to report hate crimes and to reassure those who congregate there that the police will take these crimes seriously”, said Dave Stringer, head of the force’s community engagement unit. He said police were seeing year-on-year increases in all areas of hate crime, in part due to a greater willingness of victims to come forward despite overall such crimes being under-reported.
“However, we also know world events can also contribute to a rise in hate crime,” Stringer said. In Saturday evening’s attack, the assailants mowed down people on London Bridge before going on a stabbing spree in nearby Borough Market wearing fake suicide vests. The three attackers, Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, were then killed by police.
Meanwhile, dramatic video footage released Thursday shows the moment when armed British police swooped into a busy market area near London Bridge and shot dead three attackers after they killed eight people and stabbed dozens.
The surveillance camera footage shows the first police car rolling forward as the attackers lunge at a man to stab him late Saturday night. Within minutes, the attackers are shot dead and another police car arrives as people are seen running for their lives. One police officer is seen kicking the body of one of the dead attackers. Some 48 rounds were fired to stop the attack within eight minutes. Meanwhile, 6 men were been arrested for terrorism offenses as voting began in Britain’s national election.
Detectives from London police’s counter terrorism command raided properties in east London on Thursday, detaining three people on suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism offenses. The three, who were not connected to the weekend attack on London Bridge, are being questioned at a south London police station. Separately, police investigating the London Bridge attack made three arrests in Ilford, also in east London, late Wednesday. Police are hunting any possible accomplices in the attack.
Meanwhile, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert in Manchester last month was radicalised in 2015 while living in Britain, his brother has told Libyan counter-terrorism investigators in Tripoli. Salman Abedi’s brother Hashem also said he had bought equipment for the attack in Britain, though he did not know where it would be carried out, Ahmed Bin Salem, a spokesman for Tripoli’s Special Deterrence Force (Rada), told Reuters.
Rada is a counter-terrorism force aligned with the UN-backed government in Tripoli. It detained Salman Abedi’s father, Ramadan, and his younger brother, Hashem, in the days after the attack, and has been questioning them and other members of the family. “Hashem said that he and Salman got the ideology of Daesh (Islamic State) in Manchester in 2015 from the internet and some friends in the UK” said Bin Salem.