London, May 12 (IANS) A suspected terrorist toured potential targets in Britain, including Buckingham Palace and the Shard, while using fake IDs and posing as an Afghan refugee, it was reported on Thursday.
Hakim Nasiri, 24, was described as a “human bomb” when arrested in Italy this week and accused of being in an Islamic State cell.
Photographs posted on a Facebook page that, according to RT online, Italian police believe belongs to Nasiri show him posing near hotels in London’s Docklands, Canary Wharf and the Premier Inn outside Westfield in Stratford.
Other photos show Nasiri on a commuter train in southeast London, outside Buckingham Palace and the Shard. He also posted pictures of jihadist symbols and weapons on social media.
The pictures have raised suspicions that Nasiri was conspiring to carry out an attack.
Other images, found on his phone, show the man brandishing an M16 assault rifle in what is thought to be a British supermarket.
“The phone images of Nasiri holding a machine gun were probably taken in the back room of a supermarket in England,” Vincenzo Molinese, a colonel in the Bari carabinieri, told the Daily Mail.
British security sources said the rifle may be decommissioned or even a fake.
Nasiri used more than one identity when passing through Britain passport checks, claiming to be a restaurant manager from Birmingham and also a student in the city, they said.
Italian police had been monitoring Nasiri’s alleged terror gang since December, when its members were detained after filming a shopping centre in Bari.
When police unlocked phones in the men’s possession they found footage of terrorist training camps and instructions on suicide attacks.
The gang had been tracked visiting seven cities in nine days, paying budget air fares in cash. All five suspects had been granted refugee status in Italy.