Italian authorities are saying that they had warned British authorities about terrorist Youssef Zaghba, who was one of the attackers on the London Bridge last week.
The Italian-Morrocan was living and working in England. He had become radicalized and had gone to Syria. When returning through Italy, he was caught with ISIS propaganda videos in his back. He then declared to customs agents that “I am going to be a terrorist”.
Yet, he was still allowed into Europe.
His mother also recently told media that he had contacted her and said goodbye last week.
His mother, Valeria told Italian newspaper L’Espresso: “He called me on the phone last Thursday, in the early afternoon. I could tell from his voice it was a goodbye call.”
The Daily Mail reports:
Alarmingly, Zaghba was caught on his way to the war-torn country last year, according to Italian media.
He was stopped at Bologna airport last year with a one-way ticket to Istanbul, carrying just a backpack, a passport and a mobile phone with ISIS propaganda films on it.
He told authorities: ‘I am going to be a terrorist.’
Officials in Italy say they tipped off British authorities about Zaghba but he was apparently able to enter Britain and get a job in a London restaurant.
An Italian intelligence source said that Zaghba had since been acquitted of terrorism charges but was on a ‘persons at risk’ list – similar to a UK ‘watch list’, according to Corriere Della Sera.
Italy’s counter-terrorism base in Rome immediatley contacted MI5, according to a source, but UK authorities have not found any dossiers regarding Zaghba or seen his name on any ‘watch lists’.
Reports in Italy suggest the 22-year-old had since got a ‘seasonal job’ in a London restaurant and continued to speak to his mother back home.
His aunt, Franca Lambertini, who lives in a house adjacent to Valeria, said: ‘He was a very good boy, but now I can’t say that anymore.
‘I saw him few months ago, four or five, and he seemed normal. He went to London to find a job with a father’s relatives, or at least this was what he said.
‘She [Valeria] came back from Morocco two years ago, she wasn’t happy anymore but she didn’t tell me why.
‘She used to wear a niqab, but now she only wears a veil. I always asked her “why?” but she said she liked it and she felt comfortable with it”.
The Met Police have insisted Zaghba was not a ‘subject of interest’, but the claims in Italy will raise further questions of security services over why the three attackers weren’t under closer surveillance.
It is thought Italian officials uploaded his name onto a Europe wide database rather than contact British authorities directly.