LONDON (AP) — A missing terror suspect does not pose a threat to U.K. security, Britain's security chief insisted Monday as opposition lawmakers voiced incredulity over how the man was able to escape surveillance by switching into women's clothes at a London mosque.
The Metropolitan Police says it's still trying to find Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, 27, one of about nine people subject to a restrictive form of government surveillance when he disappeared on Friday. Authorities say security camera footage showed the Somali-born suspect slipping away from the mosque in a niqab, an all-encompassing garment worn by conservative Muslim women.
Home Secretary Theresa May told lawmakers that security services don't believe Mohamed poses a direct threat to public safety. Mohamed was being tracked under the government's Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures, a stringent form of surveillance imposed on people suspected of terror ties. May said those measures were put in place to prevent Mohamed from travelling overseas to support terrorism.
It's still not clear how he managed to escape the program's GPS tagging.
May's Labour Party opposition counterpart, Yvette Cooper, wasn't mollified, noting media reports that the suspect had attended terror training camps. She told lawmakers that Mohamed was the second man in ten months who has escaped the anti-terror program — "one in a black cab and another in disguise."
May conceded that Mohamed's disappearance was "a serious issue" and promised a review of the case.