LONDON — Police conducted multiple raids in East Ham Sunday morning as part of their ongoing investigation into the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks. One of those raids was on a block of flats in Barking, London.
The East London neighbourhood is home to many Muslims and it is common to see women wearing the burka there.
Sky News reported that the Barking Road raid was on the home of one of the attackers — implying that police already know the identity of at least one of the three terrorists. [The names of the attackers will be published in this post as soon as they become available.]
During the Barking Road raid, police reportedly warned a suspect running across a roof to “get back or we’ll shoot.” Video footage also shows armed officers pointing their weapons towards the roof and shouting, “Stand up, show us your hands” at the suspect.
Twelve people were arrested in the raid. Locals told Sky that they recognised a neighbour as the suspect who had been killed by police last night. One suspect, seen in the image above, wore a close-cropped beard and wore an Arsenal away football shirt.
Metropolitan police assistant Mark Rowley said on Sunday during a press conference that eight police officers exchanged gunfire with the assailants as the attacks unfolded.
Rowley told reporters that officers fired an “unprecedented” 50 bullets in response to the attacks, eventually killing the three attackers. A member of the public was also shot as police fired on the attackers. The whole incident lasted about eight minutes.
A neighbour, Ken Chigbo, told Sky he had a strange conversation with one attacker about renting a van recently:
“I’m moving house at the moment. So I had a big van outside. He came up to me and said ‘oh Ken, you’re moving’. He’s usually a very nice friendly guy. But this time it was on a different level of nice. It’s quite strange to put into words. He was asking me where I was moving to etc and then he started asking about the van.
Where did you get your van Ken? How much is it? Is it possible to get it in automatic? All these specific questions about the van, which obviously now makes sense in my head. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it.”
The Guardian also reported that neighbours recognised at least one of the men:
Furqan Navi, who lived in the block raided by police in Barking this morning, said he recognised his neighbour as one of the attackers lying dead in Borough Market after he had been shot by armed police.
“He lived there with his wife and two children, he’d been there for about three years. He seemed pretty friendly but I didn’t know him,” Navi said.
Another neighbour said he had seen the man two days ago. “He seemed a friendly, cool sort of guy. He was friendly and liked playing with kids. He was in his 20s I guess.”
Another neighbour told The Times that he recognised the dead attacker in the Arsenal shirt:
Seva Litvjakovs, a neighbour, said the man was called Mohammed, known locally as Abs. “I spoke with him yesterday, about 5pm,” he said. “He seemed to be tidying up his car, taking stuff out. He was with two other guys. He was wearing his Arsenal shirt. I just said ‘hi’ and asked if he was OK. He said everything was fine. He had a British accent. His beard was longer, bushier [than in a photo he was shown].
“I have always found him very friendly but my missus said he was a bit strange. I heard him once telling off some local kids who were being noisy. He said, ‘We are Muslims we do not behave like that’. Someone said they had seen him on television a while back talking about religion.”
One neighbour said the suspect had been removed from his own mosque for being disruptive:
Salahudee Jayabdeen, 40, said one of the suspected attackers had been forcibly removed from a local mosque called Jabir Bin Zyad after questioning the Imam during a service.
He said he had seen the man in the area for the past year.
“It was about two months ago and he started questioning what the imam was saying. I can’t remember exactly what it was about but was asked to leave. He didn’t want to and was forcibly taken out.”
— Harry Yorke (@HarryYorke1) June 4, 2017
The London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks came days before national elections are set to take place in the UK, and shortly after the British government downgraded the threat level from “critical” to “severe.” Prime Minister May had declared a “critical” threat level following last month’s attacks at Manchester Arena, where a suicide bomber carried out an attack following an Ariana Grande concert.
On Sunday, May’s Conservative Party and the left-wing Labour Party announced they temporarily would stop campaigning for parliamentary elections out of respect for the victims. The far-right UK Independence Party said it would continue campaigning as planned. May said the election would take place on Thursday as scheduled.
Here is the Metropolitan Police’s statement on the arrests this morning.
This story is developing …
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