London terrorist "flagged by Italian intelligence"



One of the three terrorists, slain by British police during a deadly attack in London last Saturday and having double Italian and Moroccan citizenship, had been flagged as a potential threat by Italian security services, Italian media reported Tuesday.

Youssef Zaghba, aged 22, had been identified as the third assailant in the van and knife rampage on London Bridge and Borough Market last Saturday in which seven people were killed and 48 others were injured.

Scotland Yard earlier confirmed the Moroccan-Italian national lived in the London district of Barking with the other two terrorists, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

Zaghba had been detained in March 2016 at Marconi Airport in the northern Italian city of Bologna when about to board a flight to Istanbul, according to Ansa.

Italian border police became suspicious because he was traveling on a one-way ticket and carried only a small knapsack, a passport and no money.

Investigators later found propaganda videos from the so-called Islamic State (IS) terrorist group on his cell phone, according to La Repubblica newspaper.

This led police to search the premises of Zaghba's Italian mother, who lives in the Bologna area.

The woman explained to police that her son asked her for money for a ticket to Rome, and that she knew nothing of his plans to travel to Turkey.

Prosecutors ordered the suspect's phone and passport seized, detained him on suspicion of being a foreign fighter on his way to join IS ranks in Syria, and charged him with international terrorism.

However, a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence that he might be a terrorist, and ordered him released. He then moved to London, media reported.

Italian intelligence authorities placed him on watch list, and flagged him to British and Moroccan authorities, according to Corriere della Sera, the Italian daily.

Zoghba was born in the Moroccan city of Fez in January 1995. His parents -- Moroccan father, Italian mother -- lived together in the North African country for a time.

When they separated, the mother returned to Italy, where her son visited her several times, Corriere della Sera wrote.

He was working at a London restaurant and was still in contact with his mother.