London Attacks – Stash of ‘Molotov cocktails’ prepared; Cleric ‘influence’ probed

An undated handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police, London, and made available on June 10, of items next to the van used in the London Bridge attacks of June 3 which killed several people and wounded dozens more. (AP)

The assailants behind a terror attack in London last week had also prepared a stash of Molotov cocktails and initially tried to hire a truck rather than a van to mow down pedestrians, British police said on Saturday. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said forensic officers examining the white rental van found “13 wine bottles with rags wrapped around them and believed to be filled with a flammable liquid,” as well as two blowtorches.

The three attackers struck pedestrians with the van and then went on a stabbing spree wearing fake suicide vests last Saturday in the London Bridge area, a popular nightlife district. Eight people were killed before the assailants — Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba — were shot dead by police. Forty-eight people were injured. Police also said Butt had tried to hire a 7.5-tonne lorry hours before carrying out the attack, but was turned down because the payment failed. “Because of the fact his payment method failed he couldn’t get hold of that lorry,” Counter- Terrorism Command chief Dean Haydon told reporters. Haydon went on to say that “it’s feasible when you look at their actions, they were still fairly close to the van, there is a possibility they could have come back to the van. (AFP)

Cleric ‘influence’ probed: Investigators are looking into whether or not the Islamist militants who attacked civilians with a truck and knives in London last Saturday may have been inspired in part by a US cleric, European and US government officials said. The cleric, Ahmad Musa Jebril, who had been living in the Detroit area for some years, is one of several described by authorities as online propagandists who could have influenced the three attackers, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Jebril was first identified on Sunday as a possible inspiration for the London attacks when the British Broadcasting Corporation ran an interview by its Asian Network with a former friend of one of the attackers, whom he said listened to Jebril’s sermons posted on the internet. anti-terrorism hotline to report what he had heard and seen. S

everal attempts by Reuters to find Jebril to obtain comment were unsuccessful. Jebril is a US citizen of Palestinian descent.

Nobody answered several calls to a Dearborn, Michigan telephone number listed for Jebril and it did not accept voice mail messages. A lawyer who represented Jebril in an insurance fraud criminal case has retired and could not be reached for comment. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Attorney’s office in Detroit had no comment on Jebril’s activity.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack by men who drove a truck into pedestrians on London Bridge and then stabbed revelers in nearby pubs, killing seven people and wounding dozens. Police shot dead three attackers. (RTRS)

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