The Italian mother of London attacker Youssef Zaghba on Tuesday said that she tried to prevent him being radicalised, “but he had internet” and fell in with the wrong crowd in the British capital.
Zaghba, 22, has been identified as the third of the three attackers shot dead by police after their attack in London on Saturday that killed seven people and left dozens injured.
A Moroccan-Italian dual national, it has emerged he had tried to join the Islamic State group in Syria last year and was notified to Britain as a suspect figure after being intercepted by Italian authorities.
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His mother, Valeria Collina, a convert to Islam who is separated from the attacker’s Morocco-based father, told Italian weekly L’Espresso that she thought her son had been radicalised by a combination of online propaganda and contacts in London.
“We always kept an eye on who he was friends with and checked that he was not mixed up with the wrong people,” she told the magazine in her only interview since her son was identified.
Collina said she had been concerned by the milieu in the part of east London where her son lived. The Italian said that her son had shown her videos about Syria before his March 2016 attempt to board a flight for Turkey, apparently with the intention of reaching its conflict-torn neighbour.
“But he never spoke about going to fight there. For him Syria was a place where you could live according to a pure Islam. The way he told it was a fantasy... transmitted to him over the internet.”