London (PTI): British police said on Friday they had made two more “significant” arrests over the brazen terror attack on parliament, as investigators focussed on how the lone perpetrator was radicalised and appealed for information about the killer who left at least four people dead.
Metropolitan Police Acting Deputy Commissioner and Head of Counter Terrorism Mark Rowley said two more “significant arrests” have been made in connection with the incident. A total of nine persons remain in custody and one woman has been released on bail.
He also appealed to the public to come forward with any information on 52-year-old Khalid Masood, the suspect behind the terror attack, who was born as Adrian Russell Ajao in Dartford before converting to Islam. He is said to have used a number of aliases, including Adrian Elms, and was known to UK police and intelligences services.
Masood drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday before crashing his car into railings and then running into the grounds of Parliament. Armed with a knife, he stabbed a police constable, before being shot dead by police.
At least 50 people were injured with 31 requiring hospital treatment as the attack unfolded and those affected included at least 12 nationalities, police said.
Rowley said the investigation would focus on his “motivation, preparation and his associates”.
He said police would investigate whether Masood “acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him”.
Rowley added: “There might be people out there who did have concerns about Masood but did not feel comfortable for whatever reason in passing those concerns to us.”
He also said there would be a review of Parliamentary security to see if changes were needed.
Rowley also said that the Counter Terrorism Command were carrying out five searches of addresses across the UK, having concluded 16 previously.
The Met Police have seized 2,700 items from these searches, including “massive amounts” of computer data and spoken to 3,500 witnesses and have been trawling through hundreds of uploads of video images.
Meanwhile, the fourth victim of the attack on Westminster Bridge, who died last night, was named as 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes from south London.
The others killed included teacher Aysha Frade and US tourist Curt Cohrane and police officer Keith Palmer.
Two people remain in hospital in “critical condition” and one of them has “life threatening” injuries.
Two Met Police officers injured in the attack also remain in hospital with “significant injuries”.
Masood – who was born in Dartford, Kent – was known to the police.
His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife, Metropolitan Police said.
He was believed to have been living in the West Midlands, and had previously spent time in Crawley, West Sussex, and Rye and Eastbourne, both in East Sussex.
Masood was born to a white mother and black father and is said to have been affected by racism while growing up.
ON Thursday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the brazen terror attack.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We are not afraid … An act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal,” May told sombre-looking lawmakers in the packed House of Commons which reopened on Thursday with a minute’s silence a day after the attack.
Soon after her speech, the ISIS on its propaganda news agency ‘Amaq’ claimed responsibility, saying a “Soldier of the Caliphate” carried out the attack on the British Parliament.
“The operation was carried out in response to calls to target coalition countries,” it said in a statement.
In a message to the police, British Queen Elizabeth II said, “My thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been affected by yesterday’s awful violence.”
May said the threat level to the UK has been set at ‘severe’ meaning an attack is highly likely for some time.
This is the second highest threat level. The highest level ‘critical’ means there is specific intelligence that an attack is imminent.
“There was no prior intelligence of attacker’s intent or of the plot. Intensive investigations continue,” May said.
She also paid tribute to the security services and the police officer who lost his life in the attack.
“Yesterday we saw the worst of humanity, but we will remember the best. We will remember the extraordinary efforts to save the life of Police Constable Keith Palmer. He was every inch a hero,” she said on Thursday.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan invited all Londoners and visitors to the capital to a candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square to show solidarity with the victims of the attack.