Updated at 10am on March 24 in London
The man believed responsible for Wednesday’s (March 22) terror attack outside the British parliament has been named by police as Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British man. Masood ran down pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge in London, killing three people and leaving many others seriously injured, before stabbing and killing a policeman on parliament grounds. He was then shot and killed by security forces.
Police said Masood was born in Kent, in southeast England, and most recently lived in the West Midlands. On March 24, police said Masood’s birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao. PC Keith Palmer, 48, was named as the policeman fatally stabbed by Masood. The other victims were named as US tourist Kurt Cochran, a 48-year-old man from Utah, and British teacher Aysha Frade, who was 43. Frade worked at a college near Westminster bridge. Cochran was visiting the UK with his wife Melissa to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and visit Melissa’s parents. Melissa was seriously injured in the attack. Leslie Rhodes, a 75-year-old man from south London, also died on Thursday night from injuries from the attack.
About 50 people were injured with 31 needing hospital treatment and three remain in critical condition. Alongside 12 British people hurt in the attack, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, one American and two Greek people needed to be hospitalized. While London is already a multi-cultural city, Westminster is an area heavily populated by tourists who travel there to see the Palace of Westminster, which includes Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.
British prime minister Theresa May said earlier in parliament that Masood was once investigated as a “peripheral figure” in relation to violent extremism, but he wasn’t part of any current investigations. Police said there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack. He was known to police for previous convictions including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons, and public order offences such as threatening behavior. “His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife,” a police statement said.
Police have made 10 arrests in Birmingham and London in relation to the attack and a full counter-terrorism investigation is underway. The car used in the attack was hired in Birmingham.
The Islamic State claimed on March 23 through its news agency that the attacker had been a “soldier of the Islamic State.” This was before Masood was named by police. Earlier in parliament, May said security forces had disrupted 13 terror plots in the UK since 2013. Britain’s terror threat level remains unchanged at “severe,” the second highest level.
Parliament was put on lockdown for most of the evening Wednesday following the attack but reopened the following day.