COPS MAKE ‘SIGNIFICANT’ ARRESTS OVER ATTACK
9 held after police raid neighbourhoods where perpetrator used to live
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
SEXISM RIFE IN NEW ‘CHiPS’ MOVIEREUTERS PIC
Muhammed Ali, retail worker Police officers entering a property in Birmingham that was raided on Thursday after an attack in Westminster, London.
SATURDAY, MARCH 25, 2017
The Jaguar of British prime minister Theresa May with a security detail and outriders in London on Thursday.