What we know about Khalid Masood, the British-born man behind the London attack
British police formally named Khalid Masood as the suspect behind Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London that left four people dead, including a police officer, and injured dozens more.
Metropolitan Police said in a statement Thursday, Masood, 52, was not the subject of a current police investigation and there was no previous intelligence that indicated the man had an intent to commit a terrorist attack.
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Masood was born on Christmas Day 1964 in Kent, southeastern England and police believe the man was recently living in West Midlands.
Detectives said Masood was known to police and used several aliases. He was last convicted in 2003 for knife possession and had previous convictions for assaults, including GBH (grievous bodily harm) and weapons possession. Police noted the man had not been convicted of any terrorism offences.
Iwona Romek, who said she lived for about five months two doors down from Masood, told the Associated Press he had a wife and a young child and appeared like a “normal family man who liked to take care of his garden.”
Romek said Masood would walk the child, around 6 years old, to school in the morning, and that he rarely left in the evenings. But one day she saw him packing their belongings in a black van and then they were gone, just months after moving in.
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Before police named Masood as the attacker, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the suspect was once under investigation for links to extremism.
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Earlier Thursday, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s violence calling the attacker a soldier who “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of the coalition” of countries fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
At around 2:40 p.m. local time Wednesday, the British national plowed his car into pedestrians on London’s famed Westminster Bridge, killing two people and injuring dozens more, seven of which remain in hospital in critical condition. The attacker then made his way to the grounds of Britain’s Parliament where he stabbed a policeman to death before being fatally shot by a responding officer.
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The car used in the attack was a rental from an Enterprise branch in Birmingham, which is located in the West Midlands.
“An employee identified the vehicle after seeing the license plate in an image online. We ran another check to verify, and immediately contacted the authorities,” said company spokesman John Davies told Reuters.
Police believe Masood acted alone. However, police arrested eight people in sweeping raids across London early Thursday as part of the investigation.
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