On Saturday, the Met said intelligence activity and some confirmed sightings in the area overnight, including calls from members of the public, had now focused the search on the west London area.
The Metropolitan Police are offering a £20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest as investigators investigate a sighting of the 21-year-old ex-soldier near Wandsworth Roundabout on Wednesday, the day he escaped from prison.
Police urged Khalife to hand himself in to police, warning that officers were “on the trail” of the terror suspect.
It is believed the 21-year-old former soldier escaped – while wearing a chef’s uniform – by strapping himself to the underside of a food delivery van. A witness later reported seeing him crawl out from under the van and drive towards Wandsworth Town Center on Wednesday morning.
Here’s everything we know about Khalife, his escape and the search for him.
Who is Daniel Abed Khalife?
Khalife is a former soldier who was previously stationed at the Ministry of Defense Beacon Barracks in Stafford.
An unnamed close relative told the Times that Khalife was a “very, very intelligent, easy-going and friendly boy” who had changed in the past year.
The relative urged Khalife to “stop this and give up on himself, even though I understand that he is afraid.”
The barracks houses the Royal Corps of Signals’ 1st Signal Brigade, the Defense Electronics Agency, the RAF Joint Helicopter Command’s Tactical Supply Wing and No. 22 Group Air Force cadets.
According to the Telegraph, Khalife described his role on social media as a computer specialist with skills in information technology and systems administration.
He is believed to have grown up in Kingston upon Thames, south west London. His mother and twin sister lived there in an apartment near Richmond Park until a few years ago, The Telegraph reported.
He was held at HMP Wandsworth awaiting trial on charges of planting a fake bomb and gathering information that could be useful to terrorists or enemies of the United Kingdom.
He is reportedly accused of gathering intelligence for Iran.
He is accused of obtaining or attempting to elicit information likely to be useful to a terrorist on August 2, 2021, and of breaching the Official Secrets Act by obtaining information between May 1, 2019 and January 6, 2022 has collected that could be useful to an enemy.
The ex-soldier is also accused of a crime in connection with the alleged fake bomb.
It is alleged that on January 2 this year he placed “three canisters with wires” on a desk at his Ministry of Defense accommodation, sparking fears among others of an explosion.
He was discharged from the army on May 22 after being accused of criminal offenses.
Khalife appeared at the Old Bailey via videolink from HMP Wandsworth in late July when he denied the allegations.
During his appearance, it was said that Khalife had extracted soldier data from the Defense Ministry’s personnel files that would be “useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.”
Khalife’s trial date was set for November 13 at Woolwich Crown Court.
In the meantime, he was held at HMP Wandsworth – a south London prison that is one of the largest in the UK with a capacity of 1,371.
It is a Category B prison, meaning it has the second highest security level.
Khalife was reportedly previously held at HMP Belmarsh Category A prison in Thamesmead before being transferred to Wandsworth.
how did he escape
Khalife was reportedly working in the prison kitchen when he escaped in his chef’s uniform at 7:50 a.m. on Wednesday.
He is said to have left the prison premises by strapping himself to the bottom of a food delivery truck.
The Bidfood delivery van Khalife is believed to have been strapped to the bottom of left HMP Wandsworth at 7.32am on Wednesday. He was declared missing at 7:50 a.m.
Police were then notified at 8.15am and the van was stopped at 8.37am on Upper Richmond Road, near the junction with Carlton Road.
Straps were found on the underside of the truck and officers suspected Khalife was holding on to the underside of the vehicle to escape.
Khalife was last seen in a white t-shirt, red and white checked trousers and brown steel-toed boots.
What has happened since then?
A nationwide search for Khalife is underway, involving more than 150 Met officers and counter-terrorism staff. The Met said it had received more than 100 calls from the public.
Police searched Richmond Park in southwest London on Thursday evening and into Friday.
On Saturday the Met said the search for nighttime sightings had now moved to the Chiswick area.
Scotland Yard says he has links to Kingston, southwest London, and northwest England, but the hunt for him extends across the UK.
Police believe he is most likely still in the London area, although they are not ruling out the possibility he may have traveled abroad.
Ports and airports have been put on alert. They were asked to implement additional security measures, causing delays across the UK, including at Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airport and the Port of Dover.
Photos from Thursday morning showed huge queues of trucks on the approach to Dover.
Police are keen to hear information from anyone who might help in the search for Khalife – even if it does not relate to a live sighting.
Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Met’s Counter-Terrorist Squad, confirmed all police forces and UK border points had been notified.
The head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, Commander Dominic Murphy, said there was “no reason to believe that Khalife poses a threat to the general public” but urged people not to approach him and to call 999 to call if they spot him.
First confirmed sighting
On Friday, police released details of the first confirmed sighting of Khalife, which occurred near Wandsworth roundabout, less than a mile from the jail, on Wednesday morning.
A witness saw a man matching Khalife’s description crawl out from under the van, under which he was believed to be strapped. He was then seen entering Wandsworth town center.
Commander Murphy described the development as potentially “very significant” and offered £20,000 for information leading to Khalife’s capture.
Mr Murphy said police were closing in on Khalife, adding: “The sighting near Wandsworth roundabout could be very significant and this is one of many useful lines of investigation officers are looking into.”
Khalife is believed to be wearing a black baseball cap, black T-shirt and dark pants and is carrying a small bag or suitcase, the Met said Saturday.
“Extremely Concerning”: Escape Spark Probe
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley suggested on Friday that police investigate whether Khalife’s escape was aided by anyone or people from prison.
He described the incident as “clearly pre-planned” and “extremely worrying”.
Asked if the Met was looking into the possibility that it was an “inside job,” Sir Mark said, “That’s a question.” Did anyone help him in prison? Other prisoners, guards? Was he helped by people outside the walls, or was it all just his own creation?”
Labor has demanded an explanation from the government as to how the escape happened.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “We are working with the Metropolitan Police to re-arrest this prisoner and are urgently investigating how he escaped.”
A government minister confirmed on Thursday that an inquiry had been launched into how Khalife escaped and why he was not being held at a higher security facility.
Wandsworth Prison’s performance was deemed to be of “serious concern” and watchdogs had issued a series of warnings about the prison last year before Khalife’s escape.
Spread over five wings, the Victorian prison houses around 1,600 accused appearing in London courts and offenders awaiting release.
Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor said “in an ideal world” the prison would be closed, but “there are just enough prisons” for all the inmates.
Mr Taylor told Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge on Sky News: “When you find a prison like Wandsworth it really needs to be closed. “Ultimately it’s not a suitable prison.”
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/who-is-daniel-abed-khalife-prison-escape-search-police-wandsworth-b1105453.html Who is Daniel Abed Khalife? Everything we know about the terror suspect who escaped from prison