London attacks: British police name two of three assailants

Rachid Redouane (30) lived in Rathmines, Dublin, for a period and married in Ireland

One of the men behind the Isis-inspired attack in London this weekend, and who lived in Ireland, has been named by the London Metropolitan Police.

Rachid Redouane (30) with an address in Barking, east London, had lived in Ireland and is believed to have married here.

He has at least one child with his British wife. She is among those under arrest in London at present as part of the investigations into Saturday night’s killings.

Redouane claimed at different times to be from Morocco and Libya and was not known to the security services in Ireland or the UK.


He was one of three men behind the stabbing attack in London on Saturday night in which seven people were killed and 41 injured.

The assailants, whose actions have been claimed by the so-called Islamic State, were shot dead within eight minutes of the first emergency called having been received by the police in London.

When they were seen wearing explosives vests, which later proved to be hoax, the police adopted a shoot-to-kill strategy.

In the follow-up operation and profiling of the attackers, the police in London discovered documentation that showed Redouane, who also used the name Rachid Elkhdar, have lived in Ireland.

It is understood he lived in Rathmines, Dublin, for a period.

Dates of travel

However, sources indicated that he had been living with his wife in London for some time and that it had been at least 18 months since he lived in Ireland.

A photograph of him and information about him, including the dates his travel records suggested he had lived in Dublin, were sent to the Garda on Sunday morning, just hours after the attack in London.

London Police have also named one of the other three attackers; Khuram Shazad Butt, also from Barking in east London. Butt (27) was born in Pakistan but was a British citizen.

The London Met said that while Butt was known to the police and MI5 there was “no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned”. Redouane was not known to either the police in the UK or the Garda.

“Work is ongoing to understand more about them, their connections and whether they were assisted or supported by anyone else. We cannot say more about them at this stage,” said British police.

“Detectives would like to hear from anyone who has any information about these men that may assist them with the investigation. They are particularly keen to hear about places they may have frequented and their movements in the days and hours before the attack.

“The investigation into this horrific attack is fast-moving and complex as we piece together a fuller picture of what occurred.

“So far officers have arrested 12 people – seven women and five men – and searched six properties, four on Sunday and a further two properties today. One of the arrested men and one of the women were subsequently released.”

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan chaired security talks at Garda Headquarters for about three hours this afternoon. Arising from these talks the threat of an international terrorist attack in Ireland remains unchanged.

The Garda has determined that while an Islamist extremist strike is possible in the Republic, it is unlikely.

Garda security talks

Redouane’s links to Ireland was discussed at today’s Garda HQ security talks.

However, such meetings are standard following international terrorist attacks and involve a reassessment of the threat level to Ireland.

Redouane had never come to the attention of the Garda while in Ireland. He was not among a group of suspected extremists being monitored in the Republic, mostly Dublin.

And sources said he had also not come to the Garda’s attention for any other criminal matter.

The force is trying to piece together Redouane’s movements in Ireland.

His marriage to a woman for Britain will be examined to determine whether it may have been a marriage of convenience, at least for him.

Gardaí are also trying to determine whether he became radicalised in Ireland, though there is no evidence to substantiate that.

He and his two accomplices alighted from a van on London Bridge last Saturday night armed with long bladed knives.

They began stabbing revellers at random, killing seven. But the police responded swiftly in getting armed teams to what was moving and chaotic scene at the time.

The Garda said it was “providing every assistance” to its colleagues in the London Metropolitan Police in relation to the terror attack.

“We will process all requests from the UK authorities in relation to enquiries into individuals, identities or any other matter,” it said.

News that one of the attackers have lived and married in Ireland has led to renewed focus to Ireland’s preparedness to deal with extremism.

Senior Garda sources have said that there was no intelligence to suggest that an attack was imminent in the Republic.

However a number of extremist suspects have been arrested in Ireland engaged in criminal activities seeking to support Isis abroad, including fundraising for their fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Moreover a small, but significant, number of people have travelled from Ireland to fight with Isis in Syria and Iraq before returning to the Republic.

The Garda staff associations, which represent members of the force, have said they do not feel frontline gardaí have had enough, or indeed any, training to deal with a terror attack if it happened.

Terrorist incident

In recent weeks, rank and file gardaí said they wanted specialist anti-terror training several times per year because they would be the first to the scene of any terrorist incident in Ireland.

The Garda Representative Association said low-cost terrorism, such as the attacks that saw trucks driven into crowds in Nice, London and Stockholm, could occur in the Republic.

And if such an Islamist extremist incident occurred, unarmed uniform gardaí would be the first line of response yet they had no training to deal with such incidents.

With lone-wolf low-cost attacks requiring little planning or financing, it was vital the Garda was more prepared than at present to deal the aftermath of such an incident, the associations believe.

The GRA has repeatedly pointed out that rank and file officers in all other European countries had been given anti-terrorism training by their police forces.

Diverting crowds

Rank-and-file gardaí want such training to include managing the scene of a major incident in a public place and how to best divert crowds from risk or evacuating large areas quickly and safely.

While the armed Emergency Response Unit and Regional Support Units are trained and equipped to deal with armed incidents, including terrorism, the GRA believes it is important that regular gardaí on the beat know exactly what to do to keep the public safe in the event of a terrorist incident.

The GRA has said there would be no time to wait for specialist units if an attack occurred. They also say that the counterterrorism expertise of the Special Detective Unit and policing in the Border region would be of little use to gardaí who needed to react on the scene of an attack in a crowded public place.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times