Three days on the run came to an end this Saturday when former military man Daniel Abed Khalife was located in a west London neighborhood and detained by Scotland Yard agents.
The young British man, 21 years old and of Lebanese heritage, who faces charges of espionage and terrorist activities, escaped from London's Wandsworth prison, apparently hiding in the bottom of a food delivery truck.
More than 150 officers from the national anti-terrorist brigade have participated in the search and capture operation for the fugitive, which was concentrated in the metropolitan area of London and activated the alarm on the British borders. The day before, the Police offered rewards of about 12,000 euros for information likely to lead to his arrest, which intensified citizen collaboration.
Khalife is in preventive detention awaiting trial for alleged crimes of compiling information of interest to a hostile State and placing a false bomb in military installations. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in preliminary court sessions.
The fugitive was working in the prison kitchen when he fled. He apparently escaped wearing a chef's uniform, although he was later recognized wearing street clothes. The search was concentrated from the beginning in southwest London, both due to the route that the truck followed until the police stopped it an hour after the serious incident and due to the clues provided by members of the public.
The suspected terrorist was identified in Chiswick, about six miles from Wandsworth, on Friday night. The next morning a plainclothes policeman caught him pedaling a bicycle along the track at the Paddington fork of the Grand Union canal, northwest of the city. The arrest area is several kilometers from the districts where the former British soldier with an Iranian mother grew up and studied high school. He stood out as an athlete in school and in his military training he was able to learn camouflage and resistance techniques.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak celebrated the capture of the fugitive in statements made at the G-20 summit. In turn, the Secretary of State for the Interior, Chris Philp, congratulated the Scotland Yard troops for the "quick and effective work" carried out since the alarm went off in the middle of the week.
The political opposition is asking for explanations for the chain of apparent errors and mistakes surrounding the case. "How is it possible that a prisoner accused of national security terrorism crimes could escape in such a way?" demanded the Labor Interior spokesperson, Yvette Cooper, on the social network.