06/07/2017, 18.33
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An Italian-Moroccan is the third London Bridge attacker

Youssef Zaghba studied computer science at Fez University. He worked as a waiter in London where he met the two other terrorists. He had invited his mother Valeria Collina to England to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Italian authorities had flagged him as a “person of interest” on the Schengen Information System. He wanted to go to Syria to live a "pure" Islam, and aspired for martyrdom. His mother now swears that she will spend the rest of her life teaching the true Islam.

London (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Youssef Zaghba, the third terrorist in the London attack, was in Italy until December 2016.

In March of last year, 22-year-old Italian-Moroccan had only a small rucksack, a passport, a mobile phone, and a one-way ticket when he was stopped at Bologna airport on his way to Istanbul, then Syria.

Italian officials found Islamic State-related photos and materials on his mobile. They accused him of international terrorism, reporting him as a person of interest to international law enforcement agencies.

However, within a week, a court ordered the return of his passport and mobile phone. Afterwards, he moved to London where he found work in a restaurant and began attending Islamic extremist circles.

His mother, Valeria Collina, 68, still lives in Fagnano of Valsamoggia near Bologna. She converted to Islam 26 years ago when she married Youssef's father, Mohammed.

When she refused her husband's second marriage, he repudiated her. On at least one occasion, he beat her so badly that she had to spend 40 days in hospital.

Youssef was born in Fez in January 1995 and has dual nationality. He studied computer science at Fez University. Over the past year he came to Italy three times to see his mother who always cooperated with Italian police and reported her son's movements.

His last trip was in December. He flew from Bologna to Stansted and when he landed at London airport, police ran a security check through the Schengen Information System (SIS). His name came up as a ‘person of interest’, but this was not enough for the authorities to stop him.

A few days ago, Youssef spoke to his mother on the phone saying that he was planning to pick her up in London where she was supposed to travel for the end of Ramadan. His relationship with his sister was difficult; he wanted her to dress the way he wanted.

Youssef's mother now blames the internet for her son’s radicalisation. "He would say to me 'Come on Mum let's go live in Syria. Over there, they have a pure Islam’.” With his new London friends, he aspired to martyrdom.

Valeria Collina says she supports the decisions of imams who do not want to bury her son. She swears that she will devote the rest of her life to teaching true Islam to people.

The other two London Bridge terrorists were Khuram Butt, 27, a Briton of Pakistani origins, and Rachid Redouane, 30, of Moroccan and Libyan origins, both from Barking, a suburban town in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Butt is thought to have led the cell that carried out the attack. He appears in a Channel 4 documentary on Islamic extremism in the United Kingdom unfurling an Islamic State flag at Regent's Park.

In the video aired last year, he is seen with two Islamic preachers known to law enforcement. In the same documentary, Butt is seen talking with police called to the park by some locals.

The twin attack was carried out late Saturday evening in two stages. First, the attackers drove a van on London Bridge hitting pedestrians, and then got out and began stabbing people. Second, they moved to the nearby Borough Market, where they continued their deadly spree before they were shot by police.

The official death toll now stands at seven with 48 wounded, 21 in critical conditions.

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