Gardaí: Terror attack here is unlikely

Gardaí: Terror attack here is unlikely

Youssef Zaghba: Third London attacker shot dead by police.

‘Nothing’ emerges from huge investigation to increase risk

Gardaí have not changed the threat level here following a further assessment, with sources saying that “nothing” has emerged to increase the risk.

The level remains at “moderate”, the second of five stages, which means a terror attack is possible, but not likely.

The development comes as a massive garda probe is underway to investigate the “activities and associates” of Rachid Redouane, who had lived in Ireland and was one of the three London attackers last Saturday.

The Moroccan gained legal entry to the UK on foot of an Irish residency permit, granted after he married a British woman here in November 2012.

In a day of rapid developments, it also emerged:

  • A man, also Moroccan, was arrested in Limerick after it emerged he had a PPS number issued in the name of Redouane obtained apparently through the black market — sparking concerns at the security of identification systems here;
  • Later, a man is in his 30s was arrested in Wexford following a search of an apartment there;
  • Gardaí will “follow up” and talk to a leading imam, Umar Al-Qadri after he indicated that he may have seen a second London attacker, Khuram Butt, here;
  • Repeated warnings from garda staff associations at the lack of preparedness among frontline gardaí in dealing with a terrorist attack;
  • The third attacker, also a Moroccan, was identified yesterday as it emerged he had previously been stopped by Italian authorities travelling to Syria;
  • A “hate crime” attack against Muslims in which rocks smashed windows of a Galway mosque while worshippers, including children, prayed inside.

A Muslim leader contacted by the Irish Examiner yesterday said he had never seen, or heard about, Redouane before, who had an address in Rathmines, south Dublin.

Senior gardaí yesterday criticised what they said was “wrong and speculative” reporting in relation to Redouane, but declined to spell out the mistakes for operational reasons.

Sources did confirm Redouane lived in Ireland and said they had a “good sense” of how long he was here.

Sources also said they were investigating the “addresses, associates, activities and work” of Redouane in Ireland and that they would examine where and how he was radicalised.

“This is a very, very delicate investigation,” said one source.

Further meetings were held yesterday at Garda HQ at which the threat assessment was again examined factoring in recent developments.

Sources stressed “a lot of work” was done on the assessment, which remains at “moderate” and that “nothing has come up to change that”.

A second Garda source said that “no intelligence” had emerged yet in relation to Redouane “apart from regularising himself here to try and get into the UK”.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald said gardaí had in place the “necessary operational measures in terms of intelligence, a well-trained and equipped special intervention capability and other national support services”.

A number of academics have strongly criticised the media’s coverage of the events.

“Alarmist media coverage over the fact that one of the London attackers lived in Ireland is not helping,” said James Fitzgerald of DCU.

“It bears no relation to the level of threat posed to this country by Jihadist terrorism.”

It comes as all three London Bridge terrorists have now been identified.

The third attacker has been named as Youssef Zaghba, 22,, an Italian national of Moroccan descent, who was living in east London.

Reports said he was stopped at Bologna’s airport trying to fly to Turkey in March last year. He was understood to have been en route to Syria.

Zaghba is said to have told Italian authorities “I’m going to be a terrorist”, while officers reportedly found Islamic State-related material on his phone.

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