London attacker identified as 52-year-old Khalid Masood

March 23, 2017 1:59 pm

Armed police
secure the area across the road from the Palace of Westminster housing
the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 23, 2017 after
Westminster bridge reopened following its closure by security services
during and after the March 22 terror attack at the British parliament.
(Photo by AFP)

The British police have identified the attacker who struck in the heart of London on Wednesday as 52-year-old Khalid Masood.
“Masood
was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no
prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack,”
London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Thursday.
The
police added that Masood was known by “a number of aliases” and had been
living in the West Midlands. He  was born in Kent in southeast
England.
At least four people were killed and 40 others were
injured in the attack after the assailant plowed a car into pedestrians
and stabbed a police officer, an incident that has been declared a
terrorist incident. The attacker was also shot dead by the police.
One injured man succumbs to his injuries
“Five people remain in a critical condition and two have life-threatening injuries,” London police said in a statement.

Mayor
of London Sadiq Khan speaks during a vigil in Trafalgar Square in
central London on March 23, 2017 in solidarity with the victims of the
March 22 attack at the British parliament and on Westminster Bridge.
(Photo by AFP) One of the injured persons — a 75-year-old man — succumbed to his wounds in hospital on Thursday night.
The
latest death comes as hundreds of people gathered at an iconic square
in the British capital to remember the victims of the attack.
People held flowers and volunteers handed out candles in London’s Trafalgar Square during an evening vigil.
Those
in attendance said the attack had nothing to do with religion. London
Mayor Sadiq Khan, was among several officials who addressed the
gathering.

Armed police officers secure the area near the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 23, 2017. (Photo by AFP)Hours
earlier, the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group claimed responsibility for
the British Parliament attack, that left several people dead, including
the attacker.
A statement published by the Amaq Agency, which is seen as the group’s official press service, said the assailant was a “soldier” of Daesh.
The
statement said the man launched the attack because of Britain’s
participation in the US-led bombing on territories in Syria and Iraq.
The person “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting
citizens of the coalition,” Daesh said.
The wording of the
statement did not however clearly show that if the attack was directly
orchestrated or facilitated by the terror group, but indicated that the
assailant was inspired by Daesh ideology.
It comes after Prime
Minister Theresa May said the attacker was British-born and known to the
country’s domestic intelligence agency, MI5, and had been investigated
before.
“What
I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that some years ago
he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent
extremism,” she told MPs on Thursday, a day after an attack outside the
Parliament in London which also injured some 40 people.
“He was a peripheral figure,” she added. “The case is historic, he was not part of the current intelligence picture.”
She added that “when operational considerations allow, he will be publicly identified.”
In a defiant speech to the Parliament, May said, “We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.”
Lawmakers earlier held a minute’s silence in honor of the victims.
The
assailant plowed a car on Wednesday into pedestrians and stabbed a
police officer, an incident that has been declared a terrorist incident.

In
a still image taken from footage broadcast by the UK Parliamentary
Recording Unit (PRU) on March 23, 2017 shows British Prime Minister
Theresa May speaking in parliament.  (Photo by AFP)Police have arrested eight people during the investigation into the incident.
MI5
Director General Andrew Parker earlier said his agency had fully
mobilized its operational response in support of the police.
“We
stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our police colleagues, grieving at their
loss while also applauding the professional excellence of their
response,” he said in a statement.
Queen expresses ‘deepest sympathy’ 

Queen Elizabeth II (Photo by AFP)Meanwhile,
the British Queen expressed her “deepest sympathy” with the people
affected by the terror attack, calling it an act of “awful violence.”
“My
thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been
affected by yesterday’s awful violence,” she said in a statement issued
on Thursday.

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