LONDON: The man police believe is responsible for Wednesday’s terrorist attack at London’s Westminster Bridge has been identified as U.K. native Khalid Masood. Police said Masood, 52, was known to authorities and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons and public order offenses. His most recent conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife, according to the Metropolitan Police Service in London. Massod was born in Kent in southeast England and detectives believe he was most recently residing in the West Midlands in western-central England. He was also known by a number of aliases, according to police. Masoon has not been convicted of any terrorism offenses, police noted. Police said Masoon was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence regarding his intent to launch a terrorist attack. Earlier today, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May addressed members of Parliament, speaking solemnly about the “act of terrorism that tried to silence our democracy.” “But today we meet as normal – as generations have done before us, and as future generations will continue to do – to deliver a simple message: We are not afraid,” she said at Britain’s House of Commons. “And our resolve will never waiver in the face of terrorism.” May discussed what intelligence and security officials had so far gleaned about the attack, noting that the assailant was born in the United Kingdom and had been on the radar of security services.
Three people, including a police officer, were killed and at least 29 others were injured in Wednesday’s attack, which authorities have declared a terrorist incident. A man believed to be the attacker was shot dead by police at the scene, according to the Metropolitan Police Service. Police have said they believe the attack was “inspired by international terrorism” and they are looking at the suspect’s possible associates. In a statement published today by its media outlet, Amaq News Agency, ISIS called the attacker “a soldier of the Islamic State” and said he “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the international coalition.” During a press conference this morning, Metropolitan Police acting deputy commissioner Mark Rowley said eight people were arrested in connection with Wednesday’s attack after overnight raids at six locations, including in Birmingham and London. The attack began around 2:40 p.m. local time Wednesday, when a car struck pedestrians and three police officers on Westminster Bridge. The car then crashed into the fence around the Houses of Parliament, and a man armed with a knife attacked an officer who was standing guard. The suspect, who authorities believe acted alone, was then shot and killed by police, according to the Metropolitan Police Service. In an initial news conference Wednesday night, Rowley said the suspect tried to enter Parliament but was stopped “very close to the gate.”