Jack Taylor/Getty Images(LONDON) — Neighbors have identified one of the London Bridge attack suspects as a man known by the nickname “ABZ” or “Abs” who was featured in a recent documentary on the British Channel 4 from 2016 called The Jihadist Next Door.
Neighbors say he was the attacker who wore the fake suicide vest during the vehicle and stabbing attack that killed seven people in London on Saturday night.
He was a member of Al Muhajiroun, a small group of men led by Anjem Choudary and Siddartha Daar who openly preached for the need for Sharia law.
The group was closely monitored by authorities. Police know the man’s name but have not yet publicly announced it.
According to Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, research director of George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, Choudary’s network of extremist followers has numbered in the hundreds, and many have been charged with terrorism offenses in the U.K. or fought and died in Syria with ISIS.
“So the potential for more of them to mobilize is still there,” said Meleagrou-Hitchens, who has interviewed several members of the group. “Almost all would be known to authorities though … There are hundreds of members but only small fraction will act. Knowing which ones will is hard and not an exact science.”
Another British expert said Al-Muhajiroun has proven time and again that many of those involved with it are truly “dangerous individuals,” justifying the British government’s 2010 ban on Choudary’s group.
“Thwarting plots relies on an element of luck,” said Robin Simcox, a terrorism expert at the Heritage Foundation. “And with 23,000 suspects on the radar, the British Security Services simply don’t have the capacity to track everyone that is a potential terror threat.”
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