EU Free Movement Gave London Bridge Jihadist Backdoor to Britain After Failed Asylum Bid

Redouane Zaghba
Metropolitan Police

Two of the three London Bridge terrorists are believed to have used European Union migration rights to enter Britain, despite one of them having previously had an asylum application rejected.

East London-based Rachid Redouane (above left), 30, who claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan, was refused asylum in Britain at an unspecified date, according to RTÉ News, but was able to settle in the country after marrying in Ireland and winning a ‘4 EU FAM’ residence card.

4 EU FAM cards grant residence rights in the European Economic Area – the EU plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein – to spouses of EU/EEA nationals with origins outside the bloc.

Fellow jihadist Youssef Zaghba (above right), 22, was able to travel to Britain on an Italian identity card under EU Free Movement rules, which do not allow for any limits or effective vetting with respect to intra-union migration.

Italian newspapers reported that Zaghba, born in Fez, Morocco, was stopped at Bologna airport in 2016 whilst attempting to travel to Syria via Istanbul, and that Italian authorities informed their British counterparts of his movements.

It was later reported, however, that the British security services have not found “any evidence” the Italians shared intelligence on Zaghba with them. Italian officials told The Guardian newspaper they may have simply uploaded the information to a European database – leaving open the possibility that MI5 failed to pick it up.

No European connection has yet been reported for suspected ringleader Khuram Shazad Butt, also known as Abu Zaitun, who is said to have been allowed into Britain as a Pakistani child asylum seeker, along with his parents.

Butt was previously known to the authorities, even appearing a Channel 4 documentary about British-based Islamists titled  ‘The Jihadis Next Door‘ in 2016.

Henry Bolton OBE, a former British Army intelligence officer, police detective, and Head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Borders Unit has previously warned that “the EU’s Freedom of Movement principle has exacerbated cross-border crime [by allowing] criminal individuals to move unhindered between different jurisdictions without any monitoring and to exploit the obstacles of communication that occur between different organisational structures.”

Free Movement also leaves open the possibility of EU-born Islamists being able to travel to Britain with little interference from the authorities. Brussels bomber Mohamed Abrini, for example, was able to travel to Birmingham to raise funds for his extremist activities prior to his attacks.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.