Recently identified London attacker Youssef Zaghba was stopped at an Italian airport in 2016 trying to travel to Syria, multiple British media outlets report.
Italian authorities also found Islamic State propaganda on Zaghba’s phone at the time but were unable to prosecute him. Zaghba was reportedly an Italian citizen of Moroccan descent working in London as a waiter. Italian security services reportedly gave British and Moroccan intelligence a heads up about Zaghba after his release.
U.K. Metropolitan police, however, indicated in their statement that Zaghba was not a “subject of interest” before the attack. Zaghba was shot dead Saturday along with his accomplices Khurram Butt and Rachid Redouane, after mowing down pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbing bystanders. Seven civilians were killed in the attack and dozens more were injured.
Zaghba is not the only London attacker with multiple red flags in his background. Butt was featured in a 2015 documentary titled “the Jihadi’s next door” and was known to U.K. authorities. Despite his appearance in the documentary, Butt was a trainee within the London metro system and was only asked to leave after his poor attendance record.
Zaghba is not the first Jihadi released by Italian authorities to carry out an attack. Berlin terrorist Anis Amri was released from Italian prison in 2015. Italian officials tried to deport him, but were unable to because the Tunisian government refused to verify his identity. Eventually, Amri made his way to Germany, assumed a false identity, and then applied for asylum.
Amri eventually hijacked a Polish steel truck in December and plowed into a busy Berlin Christmas market. He killed 12 and injured 48 in the name of the ISIS. In a bizarre twist of events he made his way back to Italy where he was shot dead by two Milan police officers who in a routine security sweep two days later.
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