Saturday 16 February 2019

Radicalised Irish woman claims she travelled Ireland with London Bridge attacker and says there are up to 150 Islamic extremists living here

Khuram Butt (inset) was the leader of the terror attack on London Bridge, which claimed the lives of eight innocent people
Khuram Butt (inset) was the leader of the terror attack on London Bridge, which claimed the lives of eight innocent people
Metropolitan Police undated handout photo of Khuram Shazad Butt. Photo: Metropolitan Police /PA
Paul Williams

Paul Williams

AN IRISH woman who admits to having been radicalised after she converted to Islam claims that there are up to 150 Islamic extremists living in Ireland.

The woman has also alleged that on several occasions she was visited in Ireland by Khuram Butt - the leader of the terror attack on London Bridge which claimed the lives of eight innocent people.

‘AAliyah’ (not her real name) says that they travelled around the country together meeting other extremists in places like Cavan, Limerick and Clonmel.

The connections between Ireland and Islamist terrorism are investigated in a new documentary, Ireland’s Jihadis, which will air on Virgin Media One on Wednesday night.

The programme focuses on the dramatic claims made by the Irish woman, who converted to Islam when she moved to live in the UK - claiming to have been influenced by the 9/11 attacks.

Aaliyah claims that she met Butt through her then Muslim boyfriend, a Pakistani-born UK citizen called Raza who is suspected of operating a number of internet fraud rackets targeting Irish companies to raise funds for ISIS.

Last year an Irish Independent investigation revealed that Raza is wanted in connection with an attempt in September 2016 to defraud a Dublin company of €2.8m.

Raza and Aaliyah moved back and forth from the UK and lived at an address in Santry between 2015 and 2016, where he registered a number of bogus front companies for the purpose of the scam and listed her as a director using her Irish name.

It was during this period that she claims Khuram Butt stayed with them on numerous occasions - although the officer in charge of the State’s counter-terrorism agency tells the programme that gardaí are satisfied he never visited the country.

Aaliyah claims that she travelled around the country with Butt, meeting with other extremists: “When we went back to Ireland and we would come over and back and he (Butt) would come over to visit us the relationship with him developed. They wouldn’t have treated me any different, like as an outsider.

Khuram Shazad Butt on left, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba
Khuram Shazad Butt on left, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba

“I would have altogether met Khuram Butt, about thirty or forty times I’d say. We went to Limerick. We went to Cavan together as well. We would have went down to Clonmel. He would have wanted to go to visit people.

“They would have spoken about their views and stuff like that in places in Limerick, especially in Limerick. They had a close circle of friends there. In Clonmel as well they would have had a close group of friends.”

Aaliyah also claims that Butt, Raza and others they met would laugh whilst watching TV news reports of Isis terrorist attacks.

“They used to find it funny when they would hear something on the news, or something, that was after happening. They used to find it funny. They used to talk about stuff like it was computer games.

“They never made it sound like it was something that really was going to happen. I thought in the beginning that he (Butt) was just someone that’s talking you know? He was just an angry person and that’s how he was expressing his emotions.”

During the frenzied attack on a balmy night in June last year, which left a further 48 people seriously injured, a van ploughed through pedestrians walking on the bridge.

Then Butt and his two accomplices - Rachid Redouane and Yousef Zaghba - then ran through the nearby Borough Market randomly stabbing people out socialising in the local restaurants and bars.

The three attackers were shot dead by armed police eight minutes after the terrifying incident began.

The follow-up investigation uncovered evidence which for the first time established a direct link between Isis-inspired terrorism in the UK and Ireland when it was discovered that one of the attackers Rachid Redouane, had been living in Ireland where he had been granted residency status.

Redouane, a Moroccan-born pastry chef, had been denied asylum in the UK multiple times and had been arrested in 2009 boarding a ferry to Belfast using a false passport and name.

Despite his record Redouane moved to Ireland in 2012 where he married his English partner, and was granted residency status, which meant he could live in the UK.

  •  ‘Ireland’s Jihadis’ will air on Virgin Media One at 10pm on Wednesday night.

Irish Independent

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