Britain Identifies 52-Year-Old London Attacker

Theresa May says Khalid Masood was known but 'peripheral' figure to police, intel
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2017 8:11 AM CDT
Updated Mar 23, 2017 11:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – Details are still trickling out about Wednesday's terror attack in London, and the BBC and the New York Times report that the attacker was identified Thursday by Metropolitan Police as 52-year Khalid Masood, who had been convicted for a series of non-terrorism-related crimes over a span of at least 20 years. A police statement says Masood also had a "number of aliases," per Newsweek. In a speech earlier Thursday before Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacker was born in Britain (the BBC notes Masood was born in Kent) and had been on the radar of law enforcement and intelligence agencies some time ago during a probe into violent extremism, the BBC reports. "Our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology," she said, per the New York Times.

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However, May added that Masood (whom she didn't identify by name), who was shot dead by cops in the attack that killed three others, was a "peripheral figure" on the Islamist extremist scene and hadn't recently been under the microscope. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, per the AP and the Telegraph, with a statement by the group's propaganda outlet stating that the attacker was a "soldier" of the Islamic State. Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan posted a video statement of his own in which he noted, "Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism," per the Guardian. Khan also said, per journalist Christiane Amanpour's Twitter feed, he won't be commenting on the diss against him by Donald Trump Jr., noting, "I've been doing far more important things over the last 24 hours." (Read more London terror attack stories.)

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