IS agent tried to recruit BBC reporter to carry out London Bridge terror attack

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An Islamic State agent tried to recruit an undercover reporter to carry out the London Bridge attack a year before it happened.

Makers of BBC programme Inside Out London said one of its journalists was encouraged by the IS suspect to target London Bridge alone or in a group.

Eight people were killed and dozens of people injured when a van ploughed into pedestrians on the bridge before three terrorists stabbed victims during a rampage through Borough Market on June 3 this year.

The BBC said the details given to their undercover reporter bore striking similarities to the London Bridge attack. 

The same IS suspect also revealed details of terrorist tutorials on the dark web including a step by step guide on how to make a bomb and create a fake suicide vest.

There were also illustrations on how to attack a victim with a knife to cause maximum damage.

The special report on Islamist inspired extremism, airing tonight on BBC One, showed the undercover journalist used Twitter to make contact with jihadist and IS recruiter Junaid Hussain, from Birmingham.

Speaking through an encrypted messaging site, 21-year-old Hussain said he could help train the undercover reporter on how to make bombs from home.

Police officers stationed around the scene of the attack just days after it happened. (Jeremy Selwyn)

When Hussain, from Birmingham, was killed by a US army drone in the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2015, another recruiter made contact with Inside Out’s undercover reporter to continue the conversation. He detailed a plot to assassinate a police officer, including how to obtain firearms and bullets.

Inside Out London’s undercover reporter said: “In July 2016, we discovered that the terrorist organisation was touting on Twitter and Facebook for British Muslims to stage attacks at specific London locations.

A minute’s silence was held for the victims of the attack. (PA)

“We began conversing with one of their recruiters, who then invited us to chat privately on a secret messaging site. The authorities were fully aware of our contact with the terrorist organisation.”

All three London Bridge attackers Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were shot and killed by police at the scene.

It came as a separate poll, conducted by Inside Out, found 90 per cent of the 6,546 surveyed across England believe there will be more terror attacks.

When asked whether they feel more or less safe in public spaces compared with 12 months ago, 29 per cent of those surveyed said they feel less safe, and 10 per cent think that they, a family member or a good friend could be killed or wounded in a terrorist attack.

More than half of those surveyed, 52 per cent, believe the security services should be given more powers to tackle terrorism, even if that means individual privacy suffers.

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