Rabat - A more complete picture of London attacker, Khalid Masood, is starting to come together, but there are still many questions. Metropolitan police have released a photo of the man who killed four people on Wednesday and injured scores more in a lone-wolf attack on Parliament.
Rabat – A more complete picture of London attacker, Khalid Masood, is starting to come together, but there are still many questions. Metropolitan police have released a photo of the man who killed four people on Wednesday and injured scores more in a lone-wolf attack on Parliament.
Police are encouraging anyone with information regarding the man known as Khalid Masood to come forward. Investigators are working hard to piece together Masood’s movements in the days leading up to Wednesday’s carnage.
Senior counter-terrorism police officer, Mark Rowley, spoke to the press Friday and gave an indication that the investigation is now focusing, on what happened in Masood’s life to turn him down the road of radicalization. “Clearly that’s the main line of our investigation, is what led him to be radicalized was it through influences in a community, influences from overseas, or through online propaganda.”
What We Know
Khalid Masood was born in 1964 as Adrian Russell Ajao, in Kent. High school friends describe him as an outgoing young man and a talented footballer. One unidentified man who knew Masood when he was aged about 15 said he had “a big personality and everyone liked him.” But, it seems, no one was particularly close to him.
Police have revealed that Masood went by several aliases and had about a twenty-year history of criminal offences. From 1983-2003, he faced numerous charges of assault, Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) and possession of an offensive weapon.
There have been reports of him having 2 or 3 children and a woman witnesses assumed was his wife. There are no direct conversations to relate, however, deepening the picture of Masood as a loner.
He spent the last few nights before the attack in a hotel. Manager, Sabeur Toumi, spent several minutes with Masood and described him to Sky News as friendly. “He was normal, in fact friendly, because we spent possibly 5 or 10 minutes talking to him about his background and where he came from.”
Jaharn Mahmood works with Muslim youth to turn them away from the forces of radicalization. At one time, he worked as a counter-terrorist advisor with the British government. Since Wednesday’s events he has been tapping his contacts, searching for clues and warning signs. He’s uncovered nothing.
According to the same source, no one in the Muslim community has claimed any knowledge of Masood. In fact, he seems to have gone out of his way to go unnoticed. Even his apartment was located outside the Muslim community. “It seems like this guy was isolated,” Mahmood explained, “and he was working as a lone act. I have put word out asking for someone who knows this guy and normally I get some feedback, but this guy we have absolutely nothing on him. He’s like a ghost.”
Legacy of a Lone Wolf
Approximately 48 hours into the investigation, 9 people have been arrested and 21 properties have been searched. Investigators have confiscated 2700 pieces of evidence, “including massive amounts of computer data.” Police presence in London has been doubled and 3500 witnesses have been interviewed, with the investigation showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Masood’s true legacy will reveal itself only in the questions investigators are able to obtain answers to. For now, it remains a story of tragedy and lost human potential. Four people are dead, more than 50 injured. Lives and families have been irrevocably changed.