First images of fake suicide belts worn by London attackers released (PHOTOS)
All three of the suspects wore the leather belts, the London Metropolitan police said in a statement released on Sunday.
Each belt had three disposable water bottles “covered in masking tape attached to the belt,” the statement added.
“I have not seen this tactic in the UK before where terrorists create maximum fear by strapping fake explosives to themselves,” Commander Dean Haydon, who is leading the investigation said, adding that “anyone who saw them on the night would have thought they were genuine.”
It is still difficult to speculate on the motives of the terrorists who wore these fake belts, Haydon said.
“It could be that they had plans to take the attack in to a siege situation or it might be that they saw it as protection from being shot themselves,” Haydon said.
The fake belts make the bravery of the police officers and regular citizens who took on the attackers even more remarkable, the investigators said.
“The belt would have been visible to them and if you are fighting back or aiming a shot at someone wearing the device you would clearly be very aware that you could be caught in an explosion,” he said.
The tree attackers who rammed into pedestrians at high speed on London Bridge on June 3 were earlier identified by the police as Rachid Redouane, Youssef Zaghba, and Khuram Shazad Butt.
After killing three people, injuring many more, and crashing their vehicle, the suspects abandoned the van and rushed to the nearby Borough Market restaurant area, where they began to randomly stab people with ceramic knives. Five more people died from stabbing wounds. In total, eight people were killed and 48 others were injured in the attack.
Butt, 27, presumed to be a ringleader of the group, appeared in a Channel 4 documentary called ‘The Jihadist Next Door.’ In the documentary, Pakistani-born Butt is filmed praying along with a group of other radical Muslims in the middle of London’s Regent’s Park.
The attackers used distinct, pink-coloured, ceramic kitchen knives. Do you recognise them? Did you see the knives being purchased? pic.twitter.com/HehPGIMdtB— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 10, 2017
Despite the documentary, he was later allowed to work at Westminster tube station.
On Sunday, the Telegraph reported that Butt applied for a position with a security firm that provides safety stewards for Wimbledon events and Premier League football clubs.
One of the interviews was reportedly scheduled for the end of June.
Security services and counterterrorism police are now investigating Butt’s motive in trying to get the job, the Telegraph reports.