British soldier awaiting trial on terror-related charges escapes from London prison

Undated handout photo issued by the Metropolitan Police of Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, who went missing from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, shortly before 8am, where he was being held awaiting trial for terror offences and alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act. He has denied all the charges against him. (Metropolitan Police via AP)

LONDON (AP) — An urgent manhunt has been launched for a British soldier awaiting trial on terror-related charges, who escaped from a prison in southwest London, the country's counterterror police said Wednesday.

Police said Daniel Abed Khalife, who has been accused of planting fake bombs at a military base and of violating Britain's Official Secrets Act, went missing from Wandsworth Prison early Wednesday.

“We have a team of officers who are making extensive and urgent enquiries in order to locate and detain Khalife as quickly as possible," said Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Metropolitan Police's counterterrorism command.

Murphy told Sky News that Khalife was dressed in a kitchen uniform of white T-shirt and red checkered trousers at the time of his escape, adding that there is no evidence he is still wearing that outfit. No official explanation of how Khalife escaped was provided.

Murphy said there is no information to suggest that Khalife poses a threat to the wider public but urged anyone who may see him to not approach him.

Police have alerted ports and airports about Khalife’s escape.

Khalife, 21, has denied all the charges against him.