London attacker cheerful joking on eve of deadly rampage

first_img By Associated Press 30 Comments 20,198 Views Clearly that’s a main line of our investigation is what led him to be radicalised. Was it through influences in our community, influences from overseas or through online propaganda?“Our investigations and our arrests will help in that, but the public appeal will make a big difference if people come forward with more information.”A security official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that Masood had spent time in Saudi Arabia but said investigators were still trying to determine how long he stayed and what he was doing.Prime Minister Theresa May said Masood was “investigated in relation to concerns about violent extremism” years ago. But she called him “a peripheral figure.”The Islamic State group described Masood as “a soldier,” claiming responsibility for the attack. Rowley said police are investigating whether he “acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.”Six people released without chargePolice made arrests across the country as they investigate whether anyone else helped Masood prepare his attack. Six people were released without charge tonight, leaving four in custody on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.Detectives have searched 21 properties in London, Brighton, Wales, Manchester and the central English city of Birmingham in one of Britain’s biggest counterterrorism operations in years. Wednesday’s attack was the deadliest in Britain since suicide bombers killed 52 commuters on London’s transit system on 7 July 2005.Once Masood’s identity became known, police and the media began tracing his final hours.The manager of the Preston Park Hotel in the beachside city of Brighton where Masood stayed the night before the attack said he seemed unusually outgoing and mentioned details about his family, including having a sick father.Sabeur Toumi told Sky News that Masood was “laughing and joking, telling us stories about where he lived.He was normal, in fact friendly, because we spent possibly five or 10 minutes talking to him about his background and where he came from.Police raided the room, searching for clues about Masood.‘Athletic and popular’When he was in school, he took his stepfather’s name, Ajao. He was athletic and popular in school, known as someone who liked to party, according to Stuart Knight, a former classmate, who said the young man was one of only two black students in the school of 600.I am in shock – that is not sympathy for what he has done – he was a nice guy and I’m surprised he turned and did what he did.In one of the last places Masood lived, a home in Birmingham, neighbours recalled him as a quiet man whose wife was veiled and who wore traditional Muslim clothing.But the neighborhood is not among one of the city’s many Muslim enclaves, suggesting he was not deeply embedded in its religious community.Read: British police release image of Khalid Masood in appeal for information> Share Tweet Email Short URL Mar 24th 2017, 10:43 PM center_img London attacker cheerful, joking on eve of deadly rampage Six people arrested in relation to the Westminster attack have been released without charge tonight. Friday 24 Mar 2017, 10:43 PM LONG BEFORE HIS short stints in jail turned into years behind bars, Khalid Masood was known as Adrian Elms, with a reputation for drinking and an unpredictable temper.At least twice he was convicted of violent crimes, well before he stabbed a police officer to death in London with a motion that one horrified witness described as “playing a drum on your back with two knives.”But as he checked out of his hotel to head toward London for his deadly rampage, the manager said he was struck by his guest’s friendly manner.Within hours, Masood drove his rented SUV across the crowded Westminster Bridge, leaving a trail of dead and wounded. Then he jumped out and attacked Constable Keith Palmer, an officer guarding Parliament, stabbing him to death before being shot to death by police.In all, he killed four people and left more than two dozen hospitalised.Masood, who at 52 is considerably older than most extremists who carry out bloodshed in the West, had an arrest record dating to 1983. The violence came later, first in 2000 when he slashed a man across the face in a pub parking lot in a racially charged argument after drinking four pints, according to a newspaper account.The victim, Piers Mott, was scarred for life, said his widow, Heather.Masood’s last conviction was in 2003, also involving a knife attack. It’s not clear when he took the name Masood, suggesting a conversion to Islam.Heather Mott said Masood appeared to come out of jail “even worse.” She said she got chills when she learned the identity of the London attacker.Looking for cluesPolice are combing through “massive amounts of computer data” and have contacted 3,500 witnesses as they look for clues as to why the British-born man launched the deadly attack.Britain’s top counter terrorism officer Mark Rowley said: Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img

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