Two remain in custody over Westminster attack

Two people remain in custody in the UK after a series of raids related to Wednesday’s deadly attack in London.

Seven people have been released without charge. Two people have been released on bail.

More details are emerging about the attacker whose deadly rampage in London on Wednesday claimed four lives.

Two men remain in custody #WestminsterAttack after 1 man released and 1 woman bailed https://t.co/DKOp3wr0fr pic.twitter.com/YPOUWjz2hX— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) 24 mars 2017

No further action against six arrested in Hockley on suspicion of terror offences after Westminster attack https://t.co/UgORwCXYgp pic.twitter.com/7GwfuoEl6z— Birmingham Mail (@birminghammail) 25 mars 2017

Who was Khalid Masood?

Before he killed four people in the UK’s deadliest attack since the 2005 London bombings, intelligence officers considered Khalid Masood to be a petty criminal who posed little serious threat

The British-born convert to Islam had shown up on the periphery of previous terrorism investigations led by MI5.

However, the 52-year-old was not under investigation when he carried out Wednesday’s attack in central London.

Born 25.12.64 in Kent

Birth name Adrian Russell Ajao

Lived most recently in Birmingham

Reportedly had 3 children

A string of convictions for petty offences

“Our working assumption is that he was inspired by international terrorism,” Metropolitan Police Assistant Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters.

If you have any information about Khalid Masood please contact us via the Anti-Terrorist hotline which is 0800 789 321 #WestminsterAttack pic.twitter.com/B74sXeKG56— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) 24 mars 2017

The Saudi connection

The Saudi Arabian embassy in London says Masood had spent time working in the kingdom but did not come to the attention of the security services there.

He was there for two one-year periods, from November 2005 and April 2008, when he worked as an English teacher.

He also visited briefly in March 2015.

Khalid Masood had two working spells in Saudi Arabia, and visited again to take the umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, two years ago. pic.twitter.com/b1Ptck1pkM— Dr Paul Stott (@MrPaulStott) 25 mars 2017

What do we know about his motivation?

Not much. ISIL claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack in Westminster.

However, it is unclear what links – if any – Masood had with the self-titled group.

Police say there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount an attack.

Does Masood fit the profile of a militant attacker?

Counter-terrorism officers say, at the age of 52, Masood does not exactly fit the profile of militant attackers.

The majority are typically under 30.

According to Shashank Joshi, a Senior Research Fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute, an MI5 report based on the study of several hundred British extremists found that half were born in the UK.

Few were raised in very religious households and many, like Masood, were converts.

“Masood is not atypical in being a British-born convert with a criminal record. He was slightly more unusual in being older, but we do not know how long ago he was radicalised,” Joshi says.

“If it was in prison, this would be a common pathway. Given the diversity of Islamist extremists, Masood does not look too unusual.”

“Masood recorded on his CV that he had taught English in Saudi Arabia in 2005 and returned to the UK in 2009” https://t.co/HeFFyOBsSP— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) 24 mars 2017

The Birmingham connection

Masood hired the car he used in Wednesday’s attack in Birmingham.

He may have rented an apartment in the city, which was one of several raided by police on Wednesday night.

According to a study by the Henry Jackson think-tank earlier this month, 39 of the 269 people convicted in the UK of terrorism offences from 1998 to 2015 came from Birmingham.

There are over 213,000 Muslims in Birmingham, more than a fifth of the population according to the 2011 census.

There has been growing concern about social divisions in the midland city.

Crowd calls for unity at vigil in Birmingham following #WestminsterAttack https://t.co/HQkjKGLQYK pic.twitter.com/ZwrcMJf2ir— Birmingham Mail (@birminghammail) 24 mars 2017

Hero MPs get honour

The MP who tried to resuscitate the police officer fatally stabbed in Wednesday’s attack has been honoured by the Queen.

British foreign affairs minister Tobias Ellwood could be seen with blood on his face and hands as he stood in the crowd surrounding PC Keith Palmer outside the Houses of Commons.

Downing Street says Ellwood and security minister Ben Wallace, who helped coordinate the government’s response to Wednesday’s attack, were appointed to the Privy Council in recognition for their response to the attack.

The group has advised the monarch since the Norman era and is made up of politicians, judges and bishops.

Hero MP Tobias Ellwood appointed to Privy Council: https://t.co/JgC8azZaSG pic.twitter.com/Kx46JdJA3p— PoliticsHome (@politicshome) 25 mars 2017

What they are saying

“Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, his operation and his associates,” – the UK’s senior counter-terrorism police officer, Mark Rowley.

“An act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, he took out his rage indiscriminately,” Prime Minister Theresa May told parliament.

“Nothing in his demeanour or his looks would have given me any thoughts that would make me think he was anything but normal,” Michael Petersen was a fellow guest at a hotel in Brighton where Masood spent Tuesday night before the attack.

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