A serving member of the British Army awaiting trial on terror charges escaped from prison in London on Wednesday, the city’s Metropolitan Police said.
Daniel Abed Khalife went missing from Wandsworth prison, in the southwest of the British capital, shortly before 8 a.m. UK time. He had been awaiting trial for terror offenses and alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act.
Khalife is a soldier accused of planting fake bombs at a military base, according to the PA Media news agency.
“Police are issuing an urgent appeal to the public to help trace a 21-year-old man who has escaped from prison,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
“Khalife was on remand at HMP Wandsworth, awaiting trial in relation to terrorism and Official Secrets Act offences,” it continued. “From our initial enquiries, it is believed he escaped from the prison at approximately 07:50hrs.”
According to the Met statement, Khalife was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, red and white checkered trousers and brown steel toe cap boots.
He is of slim build, has short brown hair and is around 6ft 2ins tall.
Police believe that he most likely remains in the London area at this time, although he may have traveled further afield.
Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “We have a team of officers who are making extensive and urgent enquiries in order to locate and detain Khalife as quickly as possible.”
“I also want to reassure the public that we have no information which indicates, nor any reason to believe, that Khalife poses a threat to the wider public, but our advice if you do see him is not to approach him and call 999 straight away,” Murphy added, referring to the UK’s emergency services phone line.
British airports and ports are also experiencing disruption after counter-terrorism police alerted the country’s airports and ports to Khalife’s escape.
Manchester Airport was facing delays of up to 30 minutes on Wednesday afternoon after introducing extra security checks, according to PA Media.
Meanwhile, Port of Dover Travel posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Due to a police matter, there are currently enhanced checks on outbound traffic at the Port of Dover and other portals within the UK.
“Please be advised this is currently resulting in some delays at the port.”
UK prison escapes are a rare occurrence. Data from the British government shows that there was just one escape across England and Wales in 2021-22, none in the proceeding period, and only a handful in the years prior to that.