Escaped prisoner Daniel Khalife’s military experience may ‘make his apprehension harder’, police have warned.
The Metropolitan police have confirmed 150 counter-terrorism officers are searching for Khalife, who escaped from Wandsworth prison yesterday.
It is believed the 22-year-old, who was awaiting trial relating to terrorism and Official Secrets Act offences, strapped himself to the underside of a delivery van.
But the force admitted the lack of sightings is a ‘testament to the ingenuity of Khalife’.
The Met’s counter-terrorism commander, Dominic Murphy, told reporters it was ‘unusual’ that there had been no confirmed sightings, before praising the UK for having ‘some of the best military in the world’.
He also said he was keeping an ‘open mind’ as to whether Khalife had received support from somebody to escape prison and whether or not he had managed to leave the country.
Commander Dominic Murphy said: ‘Since yesterday, over 150 officers and staff have been working around the clock on apprehending Khalife.
‘We have issued a nationwide alert that has resulted in increased security at our ports and borders, however currently there have not been any confirmed sightings.
‘I recognise and am fully aware of the impact these measures are having on the public. We are working to ensure as minimal disruption as possible.’
Police have also revealed the exact route of the food delivery van, confirming it turned onto Heathfield Road, and left onto Magdalen road after leaving the prison gates.
The van then turned left onto Trinity Road (A214) up to the Wandsworth Roundabout. It took the first exit onto Swandon Way (A217).
It then turned left onto Old York Road (past Wandsworth Town station) then left onto Fairfield Street , right onto Wandsworth High Street (A3) staying straight ahead onto West Hill and then on to Upper Richmond Road (A205).
Police have been seen stopping vehicles along the M20 earlier today to conduct extra searches.
The force is focusing its search in the London area, as well as the Kingston area, where Khalife is known to have connections.
Khalife is described as 6ft 2ins tall and was last seen wearing a prison-issue chef’s uniform of a white T-shirt, red and white chequered trousers and brown steel toe cap boots.
He was accused of preparing an act of terrorism and collecting information useful to an enemy, and was allegedly working for a hostile state. He denied the three charges against him and was set to go to trial in November.
His escape has been slammed as ’embarrassing’ for prison bosses, while residents this morning told Metro how they are fearful he may still be nearby.
The Metropolitan Police have said he poses a ‘low risk’ to the public but people have been urged not to approach him and to call 999 instead.
Mr Murphy said Khalife ‘could be anywhere in the country at the moment and we are mindful of the risk of him potentially leaving the country’.
The Prison Service is working with the Metropolitan Police to ‘urgently investigate’ how he escaped, and an investigation into why a former soldier accused of terrorism was not held in a prison with the highest security level is ‘under way’.
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