LONDON — Terror suspect Daniel Khalife has been arrested in northwest London after a four-day search, police have said.
Scotland Yard said the 21-year-old ex-soldier was detained at 10:41 BST after being pulled from a bicycle on a canal towpath in the Northolt area.
He was held about 14 miles from Wandsworth prison, from where he escaped on Wednesday morning.
The Met had been reviewing CCTV footage and using a helicopter to search areas in west and southwest London.
Police thanked the public for contacting them with sightings, and said they’d had over 100 calls. The force said Khalife is currently in police custody.
He is accused of trying to spy for an enemy state, understood to be Iran, obtaining information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, and plotting a fake bomb hoax.
Khalife was at Wandsworth on remand pending a trial in November after being denied bail at a court hearing in January.
His escape began in the kitchens of the prison — where he held a job — after he attached himself to the underside of a food delivery lorry.
Cdr Dominic Murphy, head of Counter Terrorism Command, told reporters Khalife was arrested on suspicion of being unlawfully at large and escaping from lawful custody.
“He was actually arrested by a plain clothes officer… and he was riding a pedal cycle so a pushbike at the time, was pulled off that pushbike by that officer.”
Police said on Friday that Khalife had been spotted emerging from underneath a lorry at Wandsworth Roundabout shortly after he escaped.
They had offered a reward of up to £20,000 for information leading his arrest.
The Met said earlier on Saturday morning it was focusing on “intensive search activity” efforts in and around the Chiswick area of west London, where he had been spotted by members of the public.
Gabriella Lewis, from Chiswick, told BBC News she believed she briefly spoke to Khalife as he sat on a bench in Chiswick House Gardens on Friday morning.
After commenting on the hot weather, she said he claimed he had just come out of the Army. She described him as gentle and sweet, and said he was affectionate towards her dog.
Police originally said Khalife was held in the Chiswick area but later clarified he had been detained several miles away in Northolt, northwest London.
Cdr Murphy said the investigation “really took a different course last night, when we did an intelligence-led search in the Richmond area.
“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.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was “very pleased” Daniel Khalife had been arrested, praising police officers and the public for their efforts in finding him.
Speaking at the G20 summit in Delhi, the PM added: “The justice secretary has initiated an inquiry into the circumstances of his escape and that work will continue.”
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk said that he will leave “no stone unturned” in the investigations into prison security and categorization.
Writing on social media, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said “we need answers about how on earth a prisoner charged with terror and national security offences could have escaped in this way”.
Daniel Abed Khalife joined the Army in 2019 and was based at MoD Stafford — also known as Beacon Barracks — when he disappeared on Jan. 2 after an alleged bomb hoax.
A later court hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard he allegedly planted fake devices “with the intention of inducing in another the belief the item was likely to explode or ignite”.
He was arrested “in or near his car” on Jan. 26 after “active efforts to look for him”, a court heard. He was placed in Wandsworth two days later.
Khalife was due to appear in court on Nov. 13 to face charges including preparing an act of terrorism, and collecting information useful to an enemy — an offense under the Official Secrets Act.
He denied the charges against him at the Old Bailey in July. — BBC