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Chaos at airports amid police manhunt for terror suspect who escaped prison

Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, went missing from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday morning  (Metropolitan Police/PA)
Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, went missing from HMP Wandsworth on Wednesday morning (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Airports across the UK including Heathrow have stepped up security measures as police hunt for a terror suspect who has escaped Wandsworth Prison in London.

Former British Army soldier Daniel Abed Khalife, 21, who was on remand for counter terrorism and Offical Secrets Act charges, escaped on Wednesday morning by clinging to a food deliver van, according to reports.

While Metropolitan Police believe he most likely remains in the London area, counter terrorism commander Dominic Murphy said he “could be at large anywhere in the UK”.

Heathrow Airport said it is operating “as normal” on Wednesday but “additional security checks” are being carried out and wait times for departing passengers may be longer than usual.

“Passengers are advised to arrive no earlier than usually recommended and to the check the status of their flight before travelling to the airport,” the airport said on social media site X.

However photos from the west London airport show long queues of people reportedly waiting hours at immigration control in hot conditions.

Vidit Nanda wrote on X: “The claim that Heathrow is ‘operating as normal’ is false. Immigration queues at T3 are enormous. People have been waiting for several hours with no counters or effective aircon in sight.”

Rachel Evans wrote: “Queues, and I mean hundreds of people, in very hot conditions, just waiting around with no water, no air con!”

Delays have also been reported at Glasgow, Manchester and Gatwick airports amid additional security checks.

Glasgow Airport told the Mirror that “temporary security measures” had been put in place by UK Border Force.

Passengers at Manchester Airport faced delays of about 30 minutes at security as extra passport checks are carried out.

A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said: “Our security teams work hard to ensure the safety and security of all at Manchester Airport and carry out important checks set by the UK Government.”

The Port of Dover also reported delays on Wednesday.

“Due to a police matter, there are currently enhanced checks on outbound traffic at the Port of Dover and other portals within the UK,” it said in a statement.

“Please be advised this is currently resulting in some delays at the port. However, our standard travel guidance remains unchanged and we will keep passengers updated if they can expect any alteration to their journey.”

Metropolitan Police said an alert was issued by the Counter Terrorism Command earlier on Wednesday in relation to Khalife through established operational briefing channels to relevant UK police and law enforcement agencies, including those at UK ports and borders.