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Internet responsible for son’s radicalisation, says mother of London attacker

Mother of London attacker Youssef Zaghba claimed that his son came in contact with the wrong crowd in the British capital, she tried to prevent him being violent and radicalised, “but he had the internet”.

The 22-year-old was identified as one of the three attackers shot dead by police after they attacked in London killing seven people and injuring several.

He was a Moroccan-Italian dual national who 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.

His Italian mother, Valeria Collina, a reverted Muslim was separated from her husband, 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 in her only interview since her son was identified. Citing the internet as the cause she said, “He never let himself be led by anyone, neither in Italy, nor in Morocco, where he was studying computing at the University of Fez.”

Collina said that her son had shown her videos about Syria before his attempt to board a flight to Turkey in March 2016, 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.”