One of the terrorists in the London Bridge attack that left seven people dead and 21 fighting for their lives appeared in a national TV documentary and was known to security services, it has emerged.
The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that they know the identities of the three attackers, but are not releasing them while investigations are underway.
The 27-year-old extremist from Barking, east London, who has only been named as ‘Abz’ at the request of Metropolitan Police, appeared on the programme about British jihadis last year.
In the documentary, he was filmed alongside notorious hate preachers, praying before an Islamic State (Isis) flag.
The attacker, who, along with two accomplices, was shot dead by police at the scene, was pictured wearing an Arsenal shirt.
This morning Dublin security sources revealed that another of the attackers was carrying an Irish identity card.
Last night, it emerged that ‘Abz’, who is believed to have been born in Pakistan but raised in the UK, worked at a branch of KFC and, later, London Underground.
Some of those who knew him said his extremist views were well known, while others reacted in disbelief.
Erica Gasparri, an Italian mother of three who lived close to him, said she confronted him for trying to “brainwash” her children.
She said: “He was trying to radicalise the children, he would go down to the park and talk to them about Islam. He also came to the houses and gave the kids money and sweets during Ramadan.”
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She added that she reported the information to police, who told her the information had been passed to Scotland Yard.
However, others described him as “polite and normal”, and said they were shocked to learn that he could have carried out the horrific attack.
One neighbour, Ken Chigbo, 26, a market analyst, claimed the terror suspect had recently asked him how to go about hiring a vehicle.
He said: “I was in the process of loading up a van I had rented as we are moving house and he came over for a chat.
“He was lovely, really enthusiastic about my move and was really nice saying he wished me all the best. He said to me, ‘Oh, where did you get your van, Ken? How much is it, is it possible to get in automatic?’ All these specific questions about the van, which obviously now makes sense in my head. At the time I didn’t think anything of it.”
The terrorists brought carnage to the streets of the capital on Saturday night, mowing down pedestrians with a van on London Bridge, in an attack Isis has since claimed responsibility for.
The three men, who brandished foot-long knifes, stabbed a police officer and people dining and drinking around Borough Market after crashing the rented vehicle.
The men, wearing explosive vests that later turned out to be fake, were reportedly shouting: “this is for Allah” as they carried out their rampage.
Twelve people were arrested on Sunday in Barking in connection with the attack, with one reportedly “shot or tasered” during the swoop.
Building worker Seva Litvjakovs, 35, who lives in the block of flats, said he recognised images of ‘Abz’ online because of his football shirt.
“I read news reports and began putting together what had happened. I realised that one of the attackers looked exactly like one of my neighbours,” he said.
“I looked on Twitter and saw one of the terrorists who had been shot by police and he looked 90 per cent like my neighbour. He was even wearing the same Arsenal shirt that I had seen him in at 5pm that evening.”
A former friend of the terrorist has claimed the 27-year-old had been radicalised while watching YouTube videos of American hate preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril.
He said he contacted the authorities after becoming concerned over his friend’s extremist views.