A 52-year-old British-born man with a violent criminal record has been identified as the assailant who killed four people and wounded 40 others during a terror attack Wednesday in London.
Khalid Masood, who was reportedly born as Adrian Elms in Dartford and lived in the West Midlands, was named as the attacker by the London Metropolitan Police.
Masood was shot dead by a police officer outside the UK Parliament after stabbing another officer to death. He also drove his SUV through a crowd of pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge en route to Parliament, killing three people and injuring dozens.
Masood has a criminal background that stretches back into the early 1980s, though he wasn’t being investigated by U.K. intelligence prior to the attack.
A photo believed to be of Masood was posted to Twitter, and it appeared to show two knives on the ground surrounding him on a stretcher.
A statement sent out in Arabic on Twitter called Masood a “soldier” of the “Islamic State.”
Translated into English, the statement, alleged to be from the terror group ISIS, said:
The attack yesterday in front of the British Parliament in #لندن a soldier of the Islamic State and perform the operation in response to calls to target Allied nationals.
Here’s what you need to know about Masood:
1. Masood Stayed at a Hotel in Brighton Before He Plowed Through Pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge & Then Rammed His SUV Into a Parliament Gate Before Stabbing a Police Officer
The night before committing the terror act, Masood stayed at Brighton’s Preston Park Hotel, Sky reported.
The hotel manager described Masood as being “very friendly,” saying the suspect was laughing and joking with staff. Just minutes before committing the attack, Masood reportedly used the messaging app WhatsApp.
Witnesses of Masood’s acts described a chaotic scene at the Westminster Bridge and at the UK Parliament building.
Authorities say that the attack began when Masood drove his car over Westminster Bridge, hitting pedestrians and three police officers. A report said that a group of French students were on the bridge at the time of incident and three of them were hit by Masood’s car.
The car crashed near Parliament and Masood exited the vehicle with a knife in hand and tried to enter Parliament. Masood approached an officer after leaving the vehicle, stabbing and killing him. As a result of his actions, Masood was shot and killed by another officer.
2. Masood Had Been Investigated By British Authorities for ‘Extremism’ In the Past & Neighbors Called Him ‘Vampire’
British Prime Minister Theresa May said that Masood was known to British intelligence MI5 prior to the attack. In a speech to members of Parliament on March 23, she said that he was “once investigated over concerns about violent extremism.”
He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic. He was not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent, or of the plot.
Neighbors dubbed Masood “vampire” because they said he was known to “have regularly gone out at night, dressed in black clothing,” UK Mirror reported.
The Scotland Yard released a statement that said Masood’s criminal record goes back as far as 1983 when he was arrested and convicted for criminal damage. He was also found guilty of numerous violent crimes, including assaults and possession of offensive weapons charges, though nothing directly related to terrorism. His last conviction was in December 2003.
In 2000, Masood blamed racism for when he slashed the face of a business owner in 2000 after drinking, Daily Mail reports.
According to The Guardian, police and security officers in the U.K. keep tabs on around 3,000 citizens, many of whom are Islamists that have been regarded as “potentially capable of domestic terrorism.” Of the 3,000 that are on intelligence’s radar, approximately 500 of them are the subject of active investigations. Masood wasn’t even on the list of 3,000 people because he was said to pose such little threat, The Guardian wrote.
Metropolitan Police head of counter-terrorism Mark Rowley said to media that Masood was indeed encouraged to perform the attact.
It is still our belief, which continues to be borne out by our investigation, that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism.
3. Masood Was Reportedly An English Teacher & Bodybuilder That Was Married With 3 Kids
Masood was believed to be have been living most recently in the West Midlands, about 115 miles northeast of where the March 22 attack took place.
Reports say that despite his criminal background, Masood taught English in Saudi Arabia for years before coming back to England. He never taught at any state school in England, the Daily Mail wrote.
In 2000, Masood lived in the East Sussex Village of Northiam with his first wife and children. Masood was jailed in East Sussex for some time when he stabbed a man in the face in 2003, and that’s apparently when he converted to Islam.
When he was released from prison, he reportedly married Muslim Farzana Malik.
In addition to being a teacher, Masood reportedly enjoyed spending time in the gym as a bodybuilder as a hobby. He was also married and had three children, reports say.
4. Police Made Several Arrests In an Early-Morning Raid Hours After the Attack, Where Masood Lived
Anti-terror officers confirmed to BBC that the raid in Birmingham wasn’t the only one to take place overnight. Instead, six addresses were raided in London and Birmingham and eight arrests total were made.
Eight people — three women and five men — were arrested as a result of the raids “on suspicion of preparing terrorist attacks.”
According to a report from Daily Mail, one of the raids took place at a flat belonging to Rohey Hydara, who apparently had lived with Masood in at least two different addresses.
Police released a statement about the raids to national media that confirmed they took place in connection with the London attack. It added that there is no risk to those in the area.
Overnight our colleagues from the Metropolitan Police have searched a number of addresses across the country and have made a number of arrests in connection with the (Westminster) incident, including addresses in Birmingham. The arrests and searches were intelligence led and there was no immediate risk to public safety.
5. Early Media Reports Falsely Identified The Attacker as the Leader of a British Muslim Organization
Despite media reports to the contrary, a radical Muslim convert wasn’t involved in the terror attack, the BBC confirmed.
Some reports from media outlets accused Abu Izzadeen — born Trevor Brooks — a known member of a British Muslim organization that was banned by the U.K., of being the assailant killed by police after the attack. However, ABC in Europe Producer Rym Momtaz reported that Izzadeen remains in jail for his past transgressions related to terrorism. The BBC later confirmed he remains in prison, as did Channel 4, a British TV news outlet among those to name Izzadeen as the terrorist.
Izadeen is a well known subject in the U.K. and has had many run-ins in the past with law enforcement for his radical views on terrorism. Most recently, Izzadeen was sentenced to two years in prison in 2016.
For more information on Izadeen, click below.
This post will be updated when more information becomes available.
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