9 held af­ter po­lice raid neigh­bour­hoods where per­pe­tra­tor used to live

New Straits Times - - World -

PO­LICE said yes­ter­day they had made two fur­ther “sig­nif­i­cant” ar­rests over the ter­ror at­tack on Par­lia­ment, as they ap­pealed for in­for­ma­tion about the home­grown killer who left four peo­ple dead.

Nine peo­ple were held over Wed­nes­day’s ram­page in West­min­ster, in which at least 50 peo­ple were in­jured, 31 re­quir­ing hospi­tal treat­ment, counter-ter­ror­ism com­man­der Mark Row­ley said.

Po­lice have searched 16 ad­dresses, with five more raids still un­der­way, mainly in the cap­i­tal and the cen­tral city of Birm­ing­ham, where the at­tacker re­port­edly lived and near where he rented the car used in the as­sault.

The po­lice of­fi­cer also re­vealed the at­tacker’s birth name as Adrian Rus­sell Ajao, af­ter nam­ing him on Thurs­day as Khalid Ma­sood, a 52-year-old who used “a num­ber of aliases” and had a his­tory of vi­o­lent of­fences but no ter­ror­ist con­vic­tions.

The Is­lamic State group claimed that the as­sailant be­hind Bri­tain’s dead­li­est ter­ror at­tack in 12 years was one of its “sol­diers”.

Row­ley said yes­ter­day that po­lice were try­ing to es­tab­lish whether Ma­sood acted alone “or if others have en­cour­aged, sup­ported or di­rected him”.

Ma­sood ran over dozens of pedes­tri­ans and tourists on West­min­ster Bridge on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon be­fore crash­ing his car into Par­lia­ment, where he man­aged to stab a po­lice of­fi­cer be­fore be­ing shot dead.

Law­mak­ers re­turned to work on Thurs­day morn­ing, even as foren­sic of­fi­cers worked at the scene, but a re­view of par­lia­men­tary se­cu­rity is un­der­way.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple gath­ered in nearby Trafal­gar Square late on Thurs­day for a vigil led by Mayor Sadiq Khan, who vowed that “Lon­don­ers will never be cowed by ter­ror­ism”.

Po­lice ear­lier said that five men and three women aged be­tween 21 and 58 were ar­rested “on sus­pi­cion of prepa­ra­tion of ter­ror­ist acts”. One woman was later re­leased on bail.

Row­ley gave no de­tails of the new ar­rests, only to say that they took place in the West Mid­lands — the area of the coun­try that in­cludes Birm­ing­ham — and the north­west of Eng­land.


Born in Kent in south­east Eng­land, Ma­sood was a Bri­tish cit­i­zen with con­vic­tions for as­sault and pos­ses­sion of weapons dat­ing from 1983 to 2003.

Ac­cord­ing to The Sun tabloid, he mar­ried a Mus­lim woman in 2004 and moved the fol­low­ing year to Saudi Ara­bia to teach, re­turn­ing in 2009.

Po­lice said he went by nu­mer­ous aliases, in­clud­ing, re­port­edly, Adrian Elms. He was de­scribed as “a nice guy” by Iwona Romek, a for­mer neigh­bour, who told the Birm­ing­ham Mail: “He had a wife, a young Asian woman and a small child who went to school.”

In Birm­ing­ham, res­i­dents were strug­gling to un­der­stand how Bri­tain’s sec­ond-largest city could be linked to a deadly ter­ror at­tack in Lon­don. Overnight, armed po­lice stormed an apart­ment on Ha­gley Road, wedged be­tween res­tau­rants sell­ing pizza and Per­sian food.

“I was shocked. That’s my neigh­bours. It’s scary,” said Muhammed Ali, a re­tail worker.

The road is in the leafy district of Edg­bas­ton — a cricket-lov­ing cor­ner of a city un­used to the sight of armed po­lice block­ing off streets.

“It’s a very calm area. There are loads of uni­ver­sity stu­dents here so it’s very sur­pris­ing this hap­pened here,” said Lu­cas Camoes, a 23-year-old ware­house worker.

“I don’t feel safe at all. A bit para­noid.”

It later emerged that Ma­sood had lived in a three-storey house that was also raided in the Win­son Green sub­urb, north­west of the city, for seven months un­til last De­cem­ber.

Mean­while, in a less-than-slick es­cape from Par­lia­ment when her staff ap­pear­ing rat­tled, Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May dashed around a car park and looked lost as she searched for her ride be­fore es­cap­ing.

In footage pub­lished by The Sun news­pa­per, the prime min­is­ter is seen walk­ing towards her car with five mem­bers of her de­tail around her be­fore pick­ing up the pace and dart­ing left and right in a mo­ment of un­cer­tainty.

Once at the sil­ver Jaguar, May waits a few se­conds for the door to be opened, al­though it is un­clear if staff were still try­ing to un­lock the ve­hi­cle. A man is seen run­ning towards them a few se­conds later hold­ing a de­vice.

The car pulls out of its park­ing lot, ap­proaches a black Range Rover and moves back­wards, com­plet­ing a three-point turn be­fore a mem­ber of May’s se­cu­rity team, his gun drawn, runs towards the ve­hi­cle, opens the door and the video ends. Agen­cies



Muhammed Ali, re­tail worker Po­lice of­fi­cers en­ter­ing a prop­erty in Birm­ing­ham that was raided on Thurs­day af­ter an at­tack in West­min­ster, Lon­don.


. NewS­trait­sTimes


The Jaguar of Bri­tish prime min­is­ter Theresa May with a se­cu­rity de­tail and out­rid­ers in Lon­don on Thurs­day.

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