London Bridge killers met brothers who were being probed by anti-terror police just weeks before attack
Two of the London Bridge attackers met brothers being investigated by counter-terrorism police just weeks before the atrocity that left eight dead and 48 others injured, it has emerged.
Ringleader Khuram Butt, who was under surveillance by MI5, and Rachid Redouane travelled to Leeds to meet Kurdish siblings Gharib and Sirwan Abdoullahi.
A fortnight before the attacks, Gharib Abdoullahi was at a barbecue at Butt’s home in Barking, East London, where he stuck a skewer in a piece of meat, saying: ‘This is how you gut a kuffar [unbeliever].’
London Bridge terrorists Khuram Shazad Butt, left, and Rachid Redouane, right, travelled to Leeds to meet Kurdish siblings Gharib and Sirwan Abdoullahi (not pictured)
The next day, Butt and Redouane bought knives and bottles of wine, which were turned into Molotov cocktails. The knives and explosives were used during the rampage on June 3, 2017.
Butt and Redouane’s visit to Leeds – and the chilling comments made by Gharib Abdoullahi – emerged at the Old Bailey inquest into the London Bridge deaths.
The Mail on Sunday tracked down the Abdoullahi brothers to separate council flats in a tower block in the Sheepscar area of Leeds, but they were not available for comment.
The graphic above shows the various points in the London Bridge and the surrounding areas which were affected
A family member, who lives nearby, said: ‘Isn’t this a police matter? So why is the media wanting to know about this?’
Through evidence given at the inquest by a senior MI5 officer, identified only as ‘L’, and the testimonies of anti-terrorist police and members of Butt’s own family, it emerged that Butt, 27, Redouane, 30, and a friend called Klevis Kola travelled to Leeds on April 18, 2017, to buy a car.
Butt’s widow, Zahrah Rehman, told the inquest that Butt bought a red Peugeot 1007 MPV from the brothers, using £1,000 he had borrowed from her.
MI5 admitted it was ‘aware’ Butt and Redouane travelled to Leeds on that day to meet the Abdoullahi brothers.
But it is not known exactly what the pair did in the city as surveillance of Butt by MI5 was lowered because it was dealing with more urgent operations.
The inquest also heard that Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit was unaware that Butt and Redouane met the brothers in Leeds, even though the ringleader was under surveillance, and the Kurds were the focus of a counter-terrorism investigation at the time.
The inquest was told that Gharib Abdoullahi was part of a secret WhatsApp group with Butt that was used to circulate extremist messages.
The London Bridge attacks were carried out by Butt, Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, who were all shot dead by police.
The Abdoullahi brothers were later arrested on separate terrorism offences, but were released without charge.
Police and members of the emergency services were pictured attending victims of a terror attack