Police carry out raids, make several arrests as ‘ringleader’ who wore Arsenal T-shirt in London attack named as ‘Abz’

Arrests came as British media claimed to have identified a 27-year-old man as the ringleader of the terror attacks.

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 June, 2017, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 June, 2017, 4:01pm

British police on Monday made several arrests in two dawn raids following the London attack claimed by the Islamic State group which left seven people dead.

“At around 4.15 on Monday... officers from the Met’s Counter-Terrorism Command investigating the London Bridge terror attack entered two further addresses - one in Newham and another in Barking. A number of people have been detained and are at present being spoken to,” a statement said.

In earlier raids in the ethnically diverse London suburb of Barking, police arrested seven women and five men aged between 19 and 60 at two properties in the hours after Saturday night’s rampage.

A 55-year-old man was later released.

The attackers ran people over with a van on London Bridge, then lunged with knives seemingly at random at crowds gathered around Borough Market, which is full of restaurants and bars.

A vigil for the victims will take place at nearby Tower Bridge on Monday evening.

The arrests came as British media claimed to have identified a 27-year-old man as the ringleader of the terror attacks.

The Daily Mirror reported the man, one of three assailants who were shot dead after mowing down pedestrians with a van on London Bridge and going on a stabbing rampage at a nearby market on Saturday, has been identified by the police only as Abz.

A husband and a father of two young children, Abz lived in Barking and was a former subway and fast-food chain worker known for his radical views, according to the British newspaper. He was twice reported to anti-terror authorities, it said. Abz reportedly came to Britain from Pakistan as a child.

The Sun reported he was a former KFC employee and was pictured lying on the ground after being shot in Borough Market.

He was also reported to have appeared in a Channel 4 programme called ‘The Jihadis Next Door’.

Islamic State has effectively claimed responsibility for the latest attack, which left seven people dead and at least 48 injured.

Police have identified all three attackers but requested British media not report their names citing ongoing investigations.

By Sunday, the police arrested 12 people, aged 19 to 60, and later released one of them. They also searched several locations in connection with the terror attack, the third Britain has seen since March.

British Prime Minister Theresa May suggested the attacks were linked to Islamic extremism and called for tougher measures to contain the ideology.

London police’s Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told a press conference the white Renault van used in the attack was recently rented by one of the attackers, and the three were wearing fake bomb vests.

Eight police officers fearing suicide blasts fired an unprecedented 50 rounds to kill the three. A bystander was wounded in the process.

So far, seven people, including a Canadian and a French national, have been confirmed dead. Of the 58 others taken to hospitals, 21 remain in serious condition.

Agence France-Presse, Kyodo