London police capture escaped terror suspect after intense manhunt

London's Metropolitan Police announced Saturday they have captured escaped terrorism suspect Daniel Khalife, who had been the subject of an intense manhunt the city. Photo courtesy Metropolitan Police

Sept. 9 (UPI) -- British terrorism suspect and former soldier Daniel Khalife was apprehended by London police Saturday after his escape from prison this week triggered an intense manhunt.

Khalife, who was awaiting a terrorism trial, was captured in the Chiswick area of West London just before 11 a.m., Metropolitan Police said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The 21-year-old "is currently in police custody," authorities said, adding, "We thank the public and media for their support with info & appeals."

Prosecutors charged Khalife with violations of the Official Secrets Act and the Terrorism Act, as well as with planting a fake explosive device. They accused him of working on behalf of a hostile foreign state while working at the British Ministry of Defense's station in Stafford, England.

Authorities said Khalife escaped from Wandsworth Prison in London on Wednesday while working in its kitchen and slipping through security by dressing as a chef and hanging on to the bottom of a food truck.

Police launched a large-scale manhunt, describing Khalife as dangerous and warning he was using the skills learned as a soldier to evade not only capture but even being seen.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed Khalife's capture while attending the G20 Summit in New Delhi.

"I'm very pleased with the news and my thanks to the police officers for their fantastic work over the past couple of days, but also to the public who came forward with an enormous number of leads to help the police in their inquiries." he told reporters.

"Great work by the Met Police," added Home Office minister Chris Philp in a social media post. "Well done for a rapid and effective piece of work to catch this fugitive. An example of policing at its best. Congratulations to all Officers involved in this operation."

Police were investigating whether guards at the prison helped Khalife escape.