British police name third London Bridge attacker as Youssef Zaghba
The fallout from the attack eclipsed all other subjects in the political campaign ahead of Thursday’s general election, with both the ruling Conservatives and opposition Labour Party battling to defend their records on security.
Police said Zaghba had not been a subject of interest for them or for the MI5 domestic intelligence agency.
Earlier, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera had reported that Zaghba had been stopped at an Italian airport because authorities believed he was on his way to Syria, and that Italian officials had warned British counterparts about him.
In Britain’s third Islamist attack in as many months, the three men rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday evening before running into the bustling Borough Market area, where they slit throats and stabbed people.
Police had named the other two attackers as Khuram Butt, 27, a British national born in Pakistan, and Rachid Redouane, 30, who had claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan. Butt was previously known to security agencies and had appeared in a British TV documentary called “The Jihadis Next Door”.
As these details have emerged, Prime Minister Theresa May has faced questions about her record overseeing cuts to police numbers when she was interior minister.
The latest opinion poll on voting intentions, by Survation for ITV, had the Conservatives’ lead over Labour narrowing to just one point from six points in the same poll a week earlier.
However, the consensus among pollsters remains that May’s party, who have been in government since 2010, will win a majority.
“ATTACK ON THE FREE WORLD”
Saturday’s rampage followed a suicide bombing that killed 22 adults and children at a pop concert in Manchester two weeks ago, and an attack in March when five people died after a car was driven into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge.
All three of the London Bridge attackers were shot dead at the scene by officers within eight minutes of police receiving the first emergency call.
The first among the dead to be named were Christine Archibald, a Canadian and Britons James McMullan and Kirsty Boden. The 48 injured included people from Britain, France, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, in what May called “an attack on the free world”.
“As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life,” said Boden’s family in a statement on Tuesday. She was a nurse.
A nationwide minute of silence was held at 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) to honour all the victims.
Before the recent attacks, Brexit and domestic issues such as the state of the health service and the cost of care for the elderly had dominated the election campaign.
When May called the election in April, her Conservatives led in opinion polls by 20 points or more.
But an announcement – made before the Manchester and London Bridge attacks – that they planned to make some of the elderly pay more for their care saw that lead start to shrink, to between one and 12 points now.
The polls have continued to narrow since the attacks took place.
Security has become the number one issue and both main parties issued statements on Tuesday portraying their own positions on policing and intelligence as the most robust. –Reuters