London attack: CCTV video shows terrorists laughing while planning atrocity at Ilford gym

Khuram Butt, Rachid Redoune and Youssef Zaghba held midnight meeting days before rampage

Lizzie Dearden,May Bulman
Thursday 08 June 2017 10:56

Footage has emerged of the London Bridge attackers laughing, joking and hugging as they plotted their rampage five days before the atrocity.

In CCTV footage obtained by The Times, the three men can be seen together outside a gym in Ilford, east London, five days before their murderous attack that killed eight and injured dozens.

Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, gathered shortly after midnight on 29 May at the Ummah Fitness Centre.

​Redouane, wearing an Adidas tracksuit top, leaves his mobile phone on a pile of building materials before the trio disappear for around 10 minutes.

He retrieves his phone when they return, suggesting the plotters may have been wary of potential surveillance, and the pair can be seen chatting for a few minutes.

Appearing relaxed and smiling, Zaghba embraces Butt and Redouane shakes his hand before going their separate ways.

A man enters the Ummah Fitness Centre in Ilford where the three London attackers met days before the atrocity

Butt, the suspected ringleader, is wearing traditional Islamic clothing and returns inside the gym as his accomplices head out into the night.

Ummah Fitness Centre, which operates a gender-segregated timetable and remains open until 3am for fasting Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan, said it was “shocked and saddened” by the London Bridge attack.

“There is never any justification for indiscriminately killing civilians,” said a statement posted on its door.

“We have hundreds of people training at UFC gym each week. We are a welcoming and open part of the community.

"While Mr Butt did occasionally train here at UFC gym we do not know him well nor did we see anything of concern, we will of course help the police in any way we can.

“In these challenging times it is important we all stand united. We must avoid scapegoating any part of the community.”

The gym, whose name refers to the Muslim community, could not be reached to confirm reports that Butt ran its mixed martial arts classes.

Fresh arrests were made Ilford overnight, seeing armed police detain two men on a street and a third arrested during searches of a home.

Two of the men, aged 27 and 29, were arrested on suspicion of the preparation of terrorist acts, while a 33-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply controlled drugs.

All three men have been taken into custody at a south London police station as searches continue at the house and an unidentified “business address” in Ilford, believed to be the Ummah Fitness Centre.

It is reportedly run by Sajeel Shahid, who has been named as a senior member of Anjem Choudary’s banned extremist network Al-Muhajiroun by FBI agents.

An extremist-turned supergrass said Shahid and his brother helped set up terror training camps in Pakistan and safe houses for British jihadis.

Among the graduates was the ringleader of the 7/7 attacks, Mohammed Siddique Khan, while Shahid was also named in the trial of seven plotters who attempted to bomb the Bluewater Centre and Ministry of Sound.

Butt was also a member of the Al-Muhajiroun network, appearing alongside Choudary at a 2013 demonstration supporting the killing of Lee Rigby and praying to an Islamist flag alongside senior members in a television documentary.

Jesse Morton, a former al-Qaeda recruiter who became an FBI aide after being jailed, described Butt as the “administrator” for renamed factions of Al-Muhajiroun on an online chat platform used by extremists.

He noticed Butt “expanding his influence” inside the extremist network in 2015 and named him in an intelligence report.

London Bridge terrorists: What we know so far

The father-of-two, who gave his name to acquaintances as Abz Zeitan, was cautioned by police in January after assaulting an imam over his work with a counter-extremist group and had been kicked out of a mosque in Barking.

Scotland Yard confirmed Butt was “known to the police and MI5,” adding: “However, there was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritised accordingly.”

The way the trio met remains unclear, but a European intelligence official told the New York Times Zaghba was introduced to Butt by an Italian faction of Al-Muhajiroun.

Zaghba, an Italian citizen of Moroccan descent, lived in Ilford while working in a Pakistani restaurant.

But he continued to visit his mother in Bologna, attempting to travel from the Italian city to Syria in Mach last year, and telling police who stopped him he “wanted to be a terrorist”.

Italian police said their “conscience” was clear after uploading information on Zaghba to a Europe-wide intelligence sharing system, but a Schengen Information System alert reportedly suggested he was wanted over criminality rather than extremism.

Zaghba’s mother believed he was radicalised in London after moving to the UK in 2015, saying: “He spent his time with the wrong kind of people.“

He and Redouane appear to have been friends, reportedly being seen together at a café next to a betting shop in Newham.

Police raided a flat above the row of shops this week but residents told The Independent the people they were looking for had moved on.

Images provided by Met Police of murderers (left to right) Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba

Both Butt, whose family were from Pakistan, and Redouane lived in nearby Barking, where both had young children.

Redouane, who claimed to be from both Morocco and Libya, had been denied asylum in the UK in 2009 but moved back to London after gaining an EU residency card by marrying a woman in Ireland.

His estranged wife, Charisse O'Leary, said the pair split six months ago but neighbours said Redouane continued to visit their young daughter at her home.

“While she was at work he used to come here with friends,” a neighbour told The Sun.

“I think they used the flat to plan the attack…on Saturday he was here with Khumar Butt.”

Police said Redouane, who worked as a pastry chef, was not known to security services but also used the surname Elkhdar and Rachid al-Magrabi.

There were reports he had fought against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces at the start of the Libyan civil war in 2011, where he potentially could have come into contact with Manchester attacker Salman Abedi and his family.

Investigators are not treating the two atrocities as linked but Theresa May has warned of the risk of copycat attacks, saying: “Terrorism breeds terrorism.”

Isis has claimed responsibility for the attacks in London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster, having released detailed instructions on how to carry out massacres using vehicles and knives.

An issue of the group’s Rumiyah propaganda magazine published on Thursday hailed Butt, Redouane and Zaghba as “Islamic State soldiers”, giving them the war names of Abu Sadiq al-Britani, Abu Mujahid al-Britani, and Abu Yusuf al-Britani.

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