London: The attacker behind the terrorist rampage at the gates of the Houses of Parliament was a British-born man previously known to MI5 due to concerns over violent extremism, British Prime Minister Theresa May informed the House of Commons.
On Thursday, London police identified the attacker as 52-year-old Khalid Masood. He was born in Kent and was known by a number of aliases. Masood was considered to be a peripheral figure and had fallen from the intelligence picture. “It is believed this attacker acted alone and was inspired by Islamist terrorism,” the British Prime Minister said in the House of Commons.
The police and security services monitor about 3,000 Britons, mainly Islamists, whom they regard as potentially capable of domestic terrorism. Of these, about 500 are the subject of active investigations and only a limited number become the targets of physical surveillance.
Meanwhile, Amaq, the news agency used by ISIS to broadcast propaganda, issued a statement claiming that the group was responsible for the attack, describing the attacker as “a soldier of Islamic State”.
Armed police arrested eight people during late-night raids across the country, including in Birmingham and London. As officers attempt to piece together details of the attacker’s background and motives, armed police raided six addresses, including a second-floor flat above a row of shops on Hagley Road in Birmingham.