Khuram Butt: London Bridge terrorist posted cryptic WhatsApp message before deadly attack

More details emerge over fellow attacker Rachid Redouane as investigation continues

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The Independent Online

One of the London Bridge attackers posted a message on WhatsApp claiming that “with hardship, comes ease”, it has been revealed as investigations continued into how the trio of suspected Isis supporters planned the atrocity.

Khuram Butt’s WhatsApp profile picture included verses of the Quran reading, “speak justice, speak kindly, speak politely, speak fairly, speak gently, speak graciously, speak not in vain”, the Mirror reported.

Butt, a father-of-two who formerly worked on the Tube and at KFC, last used the encrypted messaging service shortly before 7pm on Wednesday, three days before he was shot dead by police in the bloody rampage.

On his profile, he wrote a message on 10 May that read: “ALLAH says (Quran 94:6) - Indeed, with hardship, comes ease.”

Butt, who was known as Abz by unsuspecting neighbours, was known to MI5, had appeared in a documentary on British Islamists and had been reported to police over extremist comments.

Despite the concerns, he was able to work on the London Underground at stations including Westminster, Canada Water and West Kensington last year, but reportedly failed his probation period over poor attendance.

Encrypted messaging apps are being scrutinised by security services after several terrorists across Europe used them to communicate with Isis fighters and announce their attacks.

Khalid Masood, who carried out the Westminster attack, sent a WhatsApp message minutes before ramming his car into pedestrians claiming that he was waging jihad in revenge against Western military action in the Middle East, The Independent revealed.

Police are probing the links between Butt, fellow attacker Rachid Redouane and a third man who has not yet been identified, with known extremists in London.

New searches are underway at a property linked to the perpetrators in Ilford, following raids on their homes and those of relatives in Barking and East Ham.

Redouane, who claimed he was from Morocco and Libya, married his British wife in Ireland in 2012 and moved from Dublin to London with their baby daughter.

It is not clear when he arrived in Ireland or how long he stayed but it is believed he used Irish jurisdiction to get a European Union permit allowing him to be in the UK.

Redouane returned to Ireland again in 2015, again for an unknown length of time, but Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was not one of a small number of radicals under surveillance.

An Irish security source described the killer as having “extensive immigration history related to the UK”.

He also used the name Rachid Elkhdar, and claimed to be six years younger than his real age of 30.

Friends of his wife told the Daily Mail they became estranged when she refused to convert to Islam and Redouane attempted to impose his extremist beliefs, including banning the young child from watching television in case it “made her gay” or going to dance classes.

His wife complained on social media over Redouane’s infrequent visits to their daughter, but neighbours said he returned to their home in Barking at around 7pm on Saturday – three hours before launching the attack in London Bridge.

The trio rammed a hired van into pedestrians before rampaging through pubs and bars surrounding Borough Market, stabbing passers-by.

They killed seven victims and injured dozens more before being shot dead by armed police within eight minutes of the first 999 call.

Isis claimed responsibility for the atrocity, as well as the Manchester bombing and Westminster attack, saying it had been carried out by a “unit of Islamic State fighters”.

The group has called for supporters to launch intensified terror attacks around the world during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, as it seeks to maintain momentum while suffering heavy losses in Syria and Iraq.