Police have made a fresh arrest tied to last week’s attack in central London. With security in the spotlight ahead of elections, the UK’s prime minister has proposed undermining human rights to improve public safety.
Police on Wednesday arrested a 30-year-old man in the east London suburb of Ilford in connection to a deadly terror attack that left seven people dead and dozens more wounded in central London on Saturday.
In a statement, authorities said the suspect was arrested on “suspicion of the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorist acts.”
“Detectives investigating the London Bridge terror attack have carried out a search warrant at an address in east London in the early hours of Wednesday,” police said.
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The announcement comes as police have been pressed to explain their handling of suspected attacker Khuram B., who was known to authorities prior to Saturday’s attack and appeared in the 2016 television documentary “The Jihadis Next Door.”
‘No intelligence to suggest attack’
Although Khuram B. was known to authorities, police on Monday said, “There was no intelligence to suggest that this attack was being planned and the investigation had been prioritized accordingly.”
Earlier this week, authorities identified the assailants of the attack as 27-year-old Pakistan-born British citizen Khuram B., 30-year-old Libyan-Moroccan national Rachid R. and 22-year-old Italian-Moroccan Youssef Z.
The self-styled “Islamic State” (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday. However, authorities have yet to announce whether the attack was coordinated by the militant group’s operatives in Iraq or Syria, or by a UK-based cell.
A spate of terror attacks on British soil has moved security into the spotlight ahead of key parliamentary elections slated for Thursday.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday announced that she is willing to weaken fundamental rights in order to make it easier for authorities to detain suspected militants even when authorities did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute them.
“If our human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change the laws so we can do it,” May said at an election rally.
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Human rights organizations lashed out at May’s proposal, saying it was “reckless and misinformed.”
Amnesty International said it “will not stand by silently when threats are made to ‘rip up human rights laws.’ Human rights are there to protect all in society – that is just pure common sense.”
May also proposed to extend the length of time authorities could detain suspects without charge from 14 days to 28 days, according to an interview published by the British newspaper The Sun.
Security is a hot election topic
In response to May’s tough proposals, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “We will always keep the law under review, but don’t believe would-be terrorists and suicide bombers will be deterred by longer sentences or restricting our rights at home.” He also pledged to hire more police officers.
The issue of security would appear to have closed the one-time large gap between the Conservatives and the Labour party. According to a poll published Tuesday by the group Survation, May’s previous 20-point lead over Labour has withered to barely more than a single point – 41.6 percent to 40.4 percent. Most other polls, however, log a more comfortable lead between 5 and 10 percent.
Editor’s note: In a bid to limit their exposure, Deutsche Welle has decided to withhold terror suspects’ names and obscure their faces.