Cops have captured suspected terrorist Daniel Khalife after tapping the phones of people linked to the fugitive.
The Met Police joined forces with MI5 and M16 to capture former soldier Khalife following his escape from Wandsworth Prison on Wednesday morning.
Intercepted messages led them to a house in Richmond, south-west London – where they missed Khalife by just minutes.
But just hours later, undercover officers dragged Khalife off his bike and tackled him to the ground on a canal towpath in Northolt.
The post reports that the hunt for Khalife was controlled by the government’s new counterintelligence “nerve center” – with counter-terrorism police and spies from MI5, M16 and GCHQ working under one roof.
Two Wandsworth prison guards were reportedly suspended following Khalife’s escape, the newspaper also claimed.
It is believed both guards were assigned to monitor the exit of the Bidfood catering van, which was later revealed to have transported Khalife from the prison.
Khalife’s trail ran to the address in Richmond after the raid – until he was seen in nearby Chiswick.
After the breach, police officers received a wiretap warrant and received information that Khalife was heading to the Grand Union Canal in Greenford.
Khalife was soon caught on the canal towpath by a huge dragnet of specialist plainclothes officers.
Armed police shouted: “Don’t move or we’ll shoot” as they finally snatched the terror suspect from prison.
The ex-soldier laughed at police officers and winked at passersby as he was handcuffed after four days on the run.
The officers hid on a grassy verge behind a wall near a canal towpath before piling in at 10.41am.
They dragged him off a bicycle that was believed to have been stolen, tackled him to the ground, and then pushed him against the underside of a bridge.
This ended one of the largest police searches in recent years, involving 150 anti-terror police officers and an alert at all ports.
Khalife appeared like a normal cyclist, cycling in the sunshine alongside the Grand Union Canal in Northolt, west London – 12 miles from Wandsworth Prison, from which he escaped on Wednesday.
He was wearing a T-shirt, shorts and trainers and also had a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, a bottle of water and a Waitrose cooler bag which appeared to contain food.
It was unclear how he got the items and whether he had help.
Student Ethan Andrews, 20, witnessed the arrest and asked officers if he was the same man he had seen in news reports.
He said: “The guy looked up at me, winked and started laughing. I thought, how arrogant is that?
“I can’t believe he just sat there and looked at me and just winked at me.”
Laughter can be heard in a video taken by Ethan of Khalife sitting on the floor surrounded by officers.
Another witness said Khalife tried to claim his innocence, saying, “It’s not me.” I didn’t do anything.”
An exclusive photo obtained by The Sun on Sunday shows Khalife staring at onlookers as he is led to a van at 11.20am.
The Met’s counter-terrorism chief, Commander Dominic Murphy, said more than 150 of his officers were involved in Khalife’s arrest.
He said the fugitive was “fully cooperative and handcuffed and arrested.”
Khalife, formerly of the Royal Signals, was on the run for 75 hours after strapping himself to the floor of a food delivery van in prison.
At that time, he was wearing the uniform of a prison cook.
Tonight he was in custody on suspicion of illegal escape and being a refugee.
On Friday evening the search was narrowed down to Chiswick, west London, as Khalife was spotted twice – the last on Church Street near the River Thames.
Officers were seen going door-to-door searching gardens, inspecting the trunks of cars and asking residents for their IDs.
More than 100 calls were made to police with tips and possible sightings after Scotland Yard offered a £20,000 reward for information.
An investigation is underway into how Khalife escaped from Category B prison on charges under the Official Secrets Act of attempting to pass information to an enemy state and leaving a fake bomb at his military base.
Sources told The Sun on Sunday that Khalife had bragged to other prisoners that he had attempted to escape about 10 days earlier but had given up after the straps broke.
He then allegedly made the material stronger before erupting on Wednesday.
It was not clear where Khalife was being held last night.
He would probably end up in a Category A prison such as Belmarsh in south-east London.