British authorities were warned about the third suspect identified in the London Bridge attack after a suspicious March 2016 incident at Bologna Airport, said the Italian chief prosecutor who investigated the eventual terrorist.
Giuseppe Amato told the Guardian he’d kept close tabs and overseen a counterterrorism official’s report sent to London on Youssef Zaghba — who with two fellow assailants was shot dead by police — after the Moroccan-Italian man tried to fly to Syria via Istanbul to join ISIS.
“I’m not blaming anybody,” Amato said. “I don’t know the details of the investigation in London. I can just say the Italians did everything they could. We monitored him while he was here and our officers had alerted the British authorities.”
“We did our best. We could just monitor and surveil him and send a note to British authorities, that’s all we could do. And we did it,” he added.
Zaghba, 22, returned to Italy from London sporadically over a cumulative 10 days, Amato said, during which Italian authorites “never let him out of our sight.”
Cops had tailed Zaghba whenever he visited Italy, confirmed his mom, Valeria Collina. She claimed she’d told police after the airport stop not to let Zaghba fly to Istanbul.
“I think they’ve done incredible work,” she told reporters, according to the Guardian. “They knew well how worried I was and aware of what was going on.”
Zaghba had told authorities, “I’m going to be a terrorist” when they stopped him at the northern Italian airport after he seemed “agitated” and carried no luggage, Politico reported Wednesday.
Italian intelligence services reportedly notified MI6, the British foreign intel service, and MI5, the nation’s domestic counterterrorism agency, in what Italian officials described as routine communication. Zaghba’s name was also added to the European Union’s Schengen Information System database.
A woman is comforted by her friend as she breaks down in tears during a minute of silence near the scene of Saturday’s terrorist attack.
(Carl Court/Getty Images)
UK authorities have come under fire for their failure to thwart the terrorist assault that killed eight and injured at least four dozen more on Saturday. London’s Metropolitan Police Service on Tuesday said Zaghba “was not a police or MI5 subject of interest.”
Pakistani-British suspect Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, had also been known to authorities — prompting at least two calls to police from a concerned neighbor and former friend.
He had also brazenly appeared in the 2016 TV documentary “The Jihadis Next Door,” which followed a group of London extremists over two years.
Rachid Redouane, a 30-year-old who claimed both Moroccan and Libyan nationality, did not appear to have been on authorities’ radar.
Frenchman Xavier Thomas, 45, appeared to be the man pulled from the Thames River on Tuesday.
(LONDON METROPLITAN POLICE/ HANDOUT/EPA)
Butt, Redouane and Zaghba launched their rampage Saturday night when they plowed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and then jumped out to stab bystanders at nearby Borough Market. Police shot the terrorist trio dead.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday confirmed a third French citizen had been found dead from the London massacre, raising the overall death toll to eight.
Macron, who didn’t identify the victim, lamented the “heavy toll these attacks have taken on us,” Agence France-Presse reported.
British authorities, meanwhile, reportedly said they had recovered a body from the River Thames and notified the family of 45-year-old Xavier Thomas, who had been missing since the attack.
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