Khalife remains in police custody this morning (Sunday, September 10) after the 21-year-old was arrested in the London suburb of Northolt after four days on the run. The former soldier was captured after a mass land and air search at 10.41am on Saturday after being pulled off a push bike by a plain-clothed counter-terrorism officer.
Metropolitan Police said Khalife, who escaped HMP Wandsworth four days ago, was arrested on suspicion of being unlawfully at large and being an escaped prisoner. He was apprehended on a canal towpath in west London, around eight miles from where he was last seen by a member of the public, and is now in police custody, the force said.
Officers conducted an “intelligence-led search at a residential premises” in the Richmond area and, although Khalife was not found there, the force received a number of calls from the public with sightings of the suspect nearby.
Security sources reportedly told The Mail on Sunday that the fugitive was apprehended after spies from the UK’s new intelligence nerve centre – made up of agents from MI5, MI6, and specialist police – bugged the phones of people they believed were linked to the escaped convict and raided a safe house.
Police are now reportedly stepping-up their hunt for possible accomplices – both for those who may have helped Khalife escape from Prison on Wednesday morning by clinging to the underside of a lorry, and those who may have helped him evade capture while at large.
Two guards at Wandsworth Prison have been suspended following his dramatic escape, reports the Mail on Sunday.
The Met’s counter-terrorism boss Commander Dominic Murphy told reporters on Saturday: “In terms of the investigation, it really gathered momentum yesterday afternoon, with a number of calls from the public, but really took a different course last night, when we did an intelligence-led search in the Richmond area in the early hours of this morning.
“Whilst we didn’t find him at that search, while we were at that search, we had a number of calls from the public over the next hour or two, giving us various sightings of him.”
Mr Murphy said Khalife was “fully co-operative” as he was handcuffed, with some media reports claiming he was “laughing” as he was arrested. He added police have not had a claim for the £20,000 reward yet.
Detectives believe the former soldier escaped from HMP Wandsworth by strapping himself to the bottom of a delivery lorry after leaving the prison kitchen in a cook’s uniform. It is unclear whether he will be returned to the category B prison or a higher-security location.
Khalife was awaiting trial after allegedly planting a fake bomb at an RAF base and gathering information that might be useful to terrorists or enemies of the UK.
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