London - Police on Tuesday identified the third attacker in the weekend terror assault in London amid mounting anger, two days before an election, over how the jihadist killers had apparently escaped surveillance.

With flags at half-mast, the nation fell silent at 11:00am (1000 GMT) to remember the seven killed and dozens injured on Saturday night - a mourning ritual now grimly familiar after two previous terror attacks in less than three months.

Police identified the third attacker as Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Italian of Moroccan descent, a day after naming his accomplices as Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, a Pakistan-born Briton, and Rachid Redouane, 30, a self-described Moroccan-Libyan dual national. Police also said they had made an overnight raid in east London and arrested a 27-year-old man early Tuesday. Twelve people arrested earlier have since been released.

Butt "was known to the police and MI5" but there was no intelligence to suggest the attack was being planned, the Metropolitan Police said.

Zaghba was "not a police or MI5 subject of interest," it added, an assertion that seemed to conflict with accounts in the Italian media.

In what it said was an unprecedented move, the Muslim Council of Britain said more than 130 imams and other religious leaders had refused to perform the funeral prayer for the attackers.

Criticism immediately flared about how Butt was able to carry out the attack.

He had notably featured in a Channel 4 TV documentary entitled "The Jihadis Next Door" and, according to the British media, numerous people alarmed by his views had gone to the authorities.

And according to Italian media reports, Zaghba's status as a potential militant had been notified to the British and Moroccan secret services.

The London attack follows the May 22 suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena by Salman Abedi - killing 22 people, including children - who was also known to British intelligence services. "Why didn't they stop TV jihadi?" The Sun asked on its front page, while the Daily Mirror demanded: "So how the hell did he slip through?" The conservative Daily Telegraph added: "It is astonishing that people who pose such a danger to life and limb should be able to parade their foul ideology on TV with no consequences."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson acknowledged the security services had to provide answers.

"People are going to look at the front pages today and they are going to say, 'How on earth could we have let this guy or possibly more through the net? What happened? How can he possibly be on a Channel 4 programme and then committing atrocities like this?'," Johnson said on Sky News.

British Prime Minister Theresa May looks on course to increase her parliamentary majority in Thursday's election, an opinion poll showed on Tuesday, shortly after another survey suggested the race with the opposition Labour Party was neck and neck.

Polling firm Opinium said the lead of May's Conservative Party over Labour had widened to seven points, up by a percentage point from its previous poll published on Saturday.

The new poll was the first by a major firm that was conducted in its entirety after a deadly attack in London by militants on June 3. The field work ran from June 4-6.

It put support for the Conservatives at 43 percent, unchanged from Saturday's poll, while Labour fell one point to 36 percent.

 

 

"That is a question that will need to be answered by MI5, by the police, as the investigation goes on," he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Tuesday she had raised "the question of terrorism" when she visited Saudi Arabia in April.

Asked whether the subject of the financing of terrorism was brought up when she met Saudi Arabia's leaders early in April, May said: "We talked to Saudi Arabia on a whole number of issues around the question of terrorism." "Saudi Arabia is a country itself which has experienced terrorist attacks and many lives have been lost as a result of that. We have an important link with Saudi Arabia because, actually, action taken by Saudi Arabia has saved lives here in this country."

"We as a government have ensured that we have strengthened our ability to deal with terrorist finance through the changes we have put through in the criminal finances act."

Prime Minister Theresa May, her language more tenuous, told Sky News: "I absolutely recognise people's concerns."

"MI5 and the police have already said they would be reviewing how they dealt with Manchester and I would expect them to do exactly the same in relation to London Bridge," she said.

After a brief pause, election campaigning resumed on Monday, with security dominating the agenda ahead of Thursday's vote. May has vowed to crack down on extremist content online, saying: "We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are."

But the premier was also facing mounting criticism for her record on security in the six years she served as Britain's interior minister before becoming prime minister last year.

Between 2009 and 2016, the number of police officers fell by almost 20,000, or around 14 percent, according to the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to hire thousands of officers for neighbourhood duties, arguing that a grassroots approach would curb crime and radicalisation.

Analysts say the security debate favours Corbyn, who already seems to have been gaining ground ahead of Thursday's vote.

May called the snap general election on April 18, little more than two years into a five-year parliament, hoping that a commanding majority would give her a stronger hand in the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

According to a poll published Tuesday by the group Survation, May's lead over Labour has shrivelled to just over a single point - 41.6 percent to 40.4 percent.

In Saturday's attack, three men, wearing fake suicide vests, mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge in a van before slashing and stabbing revellers in Borough Market, a bustling district of late-night bars and restaurants.

Praise has been heaped upon the police for their swift response and bravery. An armed unit killed the trio with 50 shots within eight minutes of the alarm being raised.

First responders were prominent in TV footage of the minute's silence, which showed police, firefighters and ambulance workers lined in mourning at stations and other public places.

Amaq, an outlet affiliated with the Islamic State group, said the attacks were carried out by "a detachment of fighters from Islamic State".

But London Mayor Sadiq Khan, describing himself as "a proud and patriotic British Muslim," slapped down those who invoked Islam to justify acts of murder.

A Canadian and a Frenchman were among the dead and citizens of other nations were among the 48 injured, including Australia, Bulgaria, France, Greece and New Zealand. Eighteen are still in critical condition, according to health authorities.