Two women have been charged with terrorism offences after they were pictured with paraglider images on their backs at a pro-Palestine protest earlier this month.
Heba Alhayek, 29, and Pauline Ankunda, 26, both from South London, were charged on Friday with inviting support for the proscribed terrorist organisation, Hamas. The charges had been authorised by the CPS.
Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Met’s counter-terrorism command, said: “We have worked swiftly and decisively to investigate this matter and that has led to these two women being charged with terrorism offences only a week after issuing our public appeal.
“We know that the public are very concerned about some people using the veil of legitimate protest to carry out criminal or even terrorist activity, and we have shown that we will do everything we can to identify where that happens and that we will seek to bring those who may be responsible to face justice.”
The suspects were arrested after they handed themselves in to a South London police station on Monday of last week. Both women had recognised themselves in the Met’s counter-terrorism appeal pictures taken at the protest in Whitehall, on October 14.
Both women have been released on bail and are due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
The Met still wants to identify a third woman, seen in social media footage with an image of a paraglider on her top at the same protest.
As part of a separate ongoing investigation, officers are also still asking for the public’s help to identify a man seen waving a placard with the words “I fully support Hamas” on it during a protest in Bond Street on October 21.
Commander Murphy said: “My officers are working night and day with our colleagues across the country to investigate suspected terrorism offences committed in the real world and online.
“The public’s support is vital to us and I’m grateful to everyone who has reported information to us already, and I urge anyone who has information about the man and woman we are still seeking to get in touch.
“Equally, should the people in the pictures recognise themselves, then I also urge them to come forward so we can speak to them.”
A spokesman for the Met said: “Anyone who knows who these people are or has information that could help the investigation is asked to please report it in confidence online at gov.uk/ACT or by calling 0800 789 321.”
Pictured top: The woman police are still looking for in connection with terrorism offences at the pro-Palestine protest in Whitehall on October 14 (Picture: The Met)
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