The British born terrorist that struck down pedestrians on a bridge, killing 4 and injuring 29, was none other than 52-year-old Khalid Masood, acting on behalf of ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the act.
Masood had never been arrested for terrorism charges, but he was probed years ago for his links to terrorist organizations. Officials said they just had no prior knowledge of him conspiring to do a terrorist attack.
He does have convictions for assault, possession of weapons, and several public order offenses. He first was convicted of assault all the way back in 1983.
However – British police claim that this attack was a surprise, and that there were no clues that Masood would turn this deadly or violent.
The Daily Mail reports:
According to the SITE Intel Group, which monitors jihadist groups, an ISIS statement said: ‘The attacker yesterday in front of the British Parliament in London was a soldier of the Islamic State executing the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations.’
The details of his background will raise questions over what security officials knew about the assailant and what decisions were taken when he first appeared on the radar.
Mrs May’s statement came after armed police arrested eight people and raided six properties in London and Birmingham, where three people were detained in a flat thought to have been lived in by the killer.
ISIS is currently being squeezed in its stronghold of Syria and has previously urged jihadists around the world to attack in their own countries rather than travel to join them. Fears have also been raised that fighters who went to join the terror group may now be fleeing back to the UK.
It is believed the attacker was not on an MI5 list of 3,000 people thought to be capable of mounting an attack, The Guardian reported.
Searches are continuing at a Birmingham flat raided by armed police in connection with the Westminster terror attack – after it emerged that the killer’s car had been hired nearby.
A neighbour said he believes the flat is the home of the Westminster attacker while another local resident said he thinks two men lived in the flat and he had heard one of them speaking on the phone in what he described as an ‘Arabic or Pakistani’ accent.
The neighbour added: ‘It’s a cheap area [to live]. People come and go all the time.’