Officers from London’s Metropolitan Police have found and arrested Daniel Khalife, the force announced Saturday, marking the end of a three-day manhunt for the terror suspect who escaped from prison on Wednesday.
Khalife was caught by a counter-terrorism officer who pulled the fugitive from a bicycle in the Chiswick area of west London, where search efforts were refocused earlier in the day, the force said.
Its counter-terrorism chief Commander Dominic Murphy said the former soldier was held on suspicion of being unlawfully at large and being an escaped prisoner, PA Media reported.
“He was actually arrested by a plain clothes officer … and he was riding a pedal cycle, so a pushbike, at the time, was pulled off that pushbike by that officer and arrested at that location,” Murphy told reporters.
“Upon being detained by the officer he was fully co-operative and handcuffed and arrested.”
The 21-year-old terror suspect’s escape from Wandsworth Prison on Wednesday sparked a sprawling search that delayed flights and led to heightened checks at British ports.
He was in prison awaiting trial on terror charges over allegedly planting fake bombs at a military base, PA reported. He denied the three charges against him, the news agency said.
Khalife escaped the prison by strapping himself to the underside of a delivery van while dressed as a chef. By the time police tracked down the truck, two miles east of the prison, Khalife was gone and all that remained of his escape was the strapping officers discovered under the van.
The incident prompted criticism of the prison service and the government, and has led to the launch of an independent investigation.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak thanked police and the British public after Khalife was captured.
“I’m very pleased with the news and my thanks to the police officers for all of their fantastic work over the past couple of days, but also to the public who came forward with an enormous number of leads to help the police in their inquiries,” he told reporters outside the G20 summit in New Delhi.
Sunak said the government would continue its ongoing inquiry into how Khalife managed to escape. “But this is obviously very welcome news,” he said of the arrest.