herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Terrorist with Irish id 'made many trips' after marrying here

Metropolitan Police undated handout photo of Rachid Redouane who has been named as one of the men shot dead by police following the terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. Photo: Metropolitan Police /PA Wire
Metropolitan Police undated handout photo of Rachid Redouane who has been named as one of the men shot dead by police following the terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. Photo: Metropolitan Police /PA Wire
A boy holds a poster at a vigil at Potters Field Park, near the scene of the attack at London Bridge, London. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

One of the London attackers made several return trips to Ireland to pass UK immigration checks and lived here undetected, gardai believe.

Rachid Redouane (30) was a pastry chef who moved to Dublin in 2012 along with his then-wife, who is originally from the UK.

The jihadist - one of three men who took part in the London Bridge attack that has since been claimed by Islamic State (IS) - lived in an apartment block in Rathmines in south Dublin with Charisse O'Leary and their young child on and off for four years.

Sham

Redouane, who authorities say is of Moroccan and Libyan descent, and Ms O'Leary married in Ireland in 2012 before moving to the UK.

They returned to Ireland in 2016 before leaving again in March of last year.

It is believed their marriage was genuine and not a sham, but that it did assist him securing an immigration status in the UK.

"He was living in the UK long before he first came to Ireland and had a lengthy immigration history over there," a security source told the Herald.

"It is proving very complex to gather all of the information to determine exactly how many times he entered and left Ireland, but gardai believe he returned to Ireland on a number of occasions since 2012.

There is no official record yet available that showed how and when Redouane entered Ireland before his marriage in 2012 - the first time he appears on records here.

Redouane also used the name Rachid Elkhdar, claiming to be six years younger.

One of his accomplices, Khuram Butt (27), was known to the British intelligence services.

The pair were officially named by UK authorities last night, while the third terrorist has not yet been officially named.

Seven people were killed, while 48 were injured in the attack on Saturday night.

The jihadists were shot dead within eight minutes of the first police call-out.

Following the atrocity, pol- ice officers discovered an Irish identity document on Redouane.

This card was issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and is given to non-EU nationals, allowing them to reside in Ireland for a period.

Concerns have now been raised that Redouane used Ireland's border with the North as a back-door to enter the UK.

He did not come to the attention of gardai in relation to criminal or terrorist-related activities during his time here, and there is no evidence yet to suggest he was radicalised while living in Ireland.

His ex-wife was one of 12 people arrested as part of the investigation into the London Bridge terror attack, but they were subsequently all released without charge last night.

Victims

Ms O'Leary had recently changed the profile picture on her Facebook account to show support for the victims of the Manchester terror attack on May 22.

She sent messages to her friends saying she hoped they were OK following the suicide bombing.

Gardai were last night carrying out background checks on Redouane to determine who he was in contact with while in Ireland and what his movements were.

Authorities are in the process of establishing whether he obtained EU treaty rights by applying through registered post to the relevant unit of the residence division at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

After it emerged that Red-ouane had Irish documentation, a three-hour meeting took place at Garda HQ.

It was chaired by Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan and attended by senior gardai from the security and intelligence units, Department of Justice officials and Defence Force personnel.

A decision was made that Ireland's terror threat level should remain at moderate, meaning an attack is possible but not likely.

Gardai are also continuing to monitor the movements of a number of suspected jihadists living here.

Separately, Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated that Redouane was not placed under surveillance by garda security and intelligence services.

"There are a small number of people in Ireland who are being monitored and observed in respect of radicalisation and matters relevant to that," Mr Kenny said while on a trade trip in Chicago.

"In this case, these facts are being checked, but my understanding is this individual was not a member of that small group."

Meanwhile, hundreds of people attended a vigil close to London Bridge last night to remember the victims.

It was led by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and attended by Home Secretary Amber Rudd and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

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