London’s Metropolitan Police have captured terrorism suspect Daniel Khalife after his escape from a London-area prison, officials said Saturday.
Police officers apprehended Khalife just before 11 a.m. local time in the Chiswick area, and he is currently in police custody, Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“We thank the public and media for their support,” officials said.
Khalife, 21, was discharged from the army in May under accusations of obtaining information that might be “directly or indirectly useful to an enemy,” as well as making a bomb hoax by placing three canisters with wires on a desk.
He remained in custody while awaiting trial but appeared to have escaped from His Majesty’s Prison Wandsworth shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday. Authorities have suggested that his position in the prison’s kitchen gave him access to a food delivery van, which he strapped himself under as it drove away.
The presence of straps under the van also indicated that Khalife may have “had some inside help from the prison,” The Independent reported. A security official told the outlet that “all the indications are this was an orchestrated job and not an opportunistic escape,” and that “it is almost certain” Khalife had “some help.”
Met Police Chief Sir Mark Rowley previously told British media that Khalife’s escape from a high-security prison was “clearly pre-planned.”
Initial reports did not indicate to whom Khalife allegedly passed information, but the BBC revealed on Thursday that Khalife may have sought information on behalf of Iran. He would have stood trial in November for his crimes.
Police executed a widespread search for Khalife following his escape on Wednesday. By Friday, the search had narrowed to Richmond Park in southwest London, with officers combing the area overnight and into the morning.
The escape prompted calls to close Wandsworth prison, which a watchdog group had rated as a “serious concern” even before the escape.
“When you find a prison like Wandsworth, it really needs closing,” Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor told Politics Hub on Sky News. “Ultimately, it’s not a suitable prison.”
“You need jails because you need to service the courts,” he added. “We’ve actually got a crisis at the moment in prisons just in terms of population places … there are only just enough prisons, places available, at the moment for the number of prisoners who are coming in.”