A full-scale manhunt is underway in the UK after a former soldier charged with terrorism escaped from a London jail by strapping himself to the bottom of a van while disguised as a chef – his escape going unnoticed for almost an hour .
Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, is believed to have disappeared from Wandsworth prison around 7am on Wednesday – the alarm was not sounded until just before 8am. according to The Times of London.
He had been working a morning shift in the prison kitchen and was wearing a chef’s uniform consisting of a white T-shirt and red plaid pants when he tied himself with straps to the floor of a departing grocery delivery truck. said the police.
The manhunt quickly alerted Britain’s ports and airports, including London Heathrow – Britain’s busiest airport – where travelers faced delays due to extra security checks amid fears Khalife was attempting to flee.
Khalife was accused of planting three fake canister bombs at a military base and leaking sensitive information to Iran.
He was charged with breaching the United Kingdom’s Official Secrets Act for collecting information “that might be useful to a person committing or preparing a terrorist attack”.
The soldier was released from military service in May after his arrest. Khalife has denied any wrongdoing. His trial is scheduled for November.
Police warned the public not to approach Khalife, although London Police Counter-Terrorism Commander Commander Dominic Murphy said there was no information to suggest the fugitive posed a danger to the public.
“We have a team of officers who are conducting extensive and urgent investigations to locate and arrest Khalife as quickly as possible,” Murphy said.
Justice Secretary Alex Chalk addressed the House of Commons on Thursday and vowed that Khalife would be “caught in due course”.
However, he called for an immediate investigation into the London prison logs and the decision not to hold Khalife in a maximum security prison.
“No stone must be left unturned to get to the bottom of what happened,” Chalk told Parliament.
With post wires