London Attacker, Born in U.K., Had Criminal Convictions, Was Probed for Extremism
Utah man is among those killed in attack claimed by Islamic State.
London police identified the suspected Islamist terrorist who carried out the deadly rampage outside Parliament as Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British-born man who had previous convictions but wasn’t the subject of any current investigations. Though born southeast of London, police said, Masood had been living most recently in the Birmingham area, which quickly became a focus of the investigation. Police detained seven people in the city, the U.K.’s second-largest, on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts. A 39-year-old woman was also detained in London, police said. They didn’t disclose the suspects’ identities or what connection they may have to the London attack.
While U.K. authorities had no prior intelligence about Masood’s intent to mount a terrorist attack, he was known to police and had been convicted on a range of offenses unrelated to terror, police said, most recently in 2003 for possession of a knife. Police said he was known by a number of aliases, but wouldn’t give further information. In a speech to Parliament on Thursday, Prime Minister Theresa May said the perpetrator had been investigated years earlier over extremist concerns but that authorities viewed him as a “peripheral figure.”
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement on its affiliated Amaq news agency that it was a response to U.S.-led coalition strikes against the extremist group. The group has often claimed responsibility for such attacks but the nature and scope of its involvement—or whether it was involved at all—remains unknown.
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