London attack: IS take claim, suspect named, death toll reduced

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack that claimed three victims and dozens of injured at Parliament Buildings in Westminster.

Police say petty criminal Khalid Masood, 52, drove the Hyundai SUV that killed three pedestrians on Westminster bridge and later stabbed unarmed policeman Keith Palmer, 48.

Masood was fatally shot by other police as he broke into the grounds of Parliament after crashing the vehicle near the gates.

Police say Masood was British-born and had most recently been living in the West Midlands. He had a criminal record of assaults and his most recent conviction was for the possession of a knife in 2003.

[UPDATE 27.3.17: Before his conversion to Islam, Masood was known as Adrian Russel Ajao, after his mother Janet Ajao, and as Adrian Elms. Police say he has used multiple and aliases, and moved regularly around the country to places that "have had connections to extremist plots."  He spent five years working in Saudi Arabia. Masood has been in jail and has had multiple criminal convictions. He has two daughters by Jane Harvey, from whom he is divorced and was also briefly married to Farzana Isaq, who left because of his violent behaviour.]

Not on terrorist watch
In a speech to Parliament Prime Minister Theresa May said Masood had been investigated years earlier over extremist concerns but that authorities had no prior intelligence of his intent and viewed him as a “peripheral figure.”

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in a statement on its affiliated Amaq news agency.

After saying late on Wednesday that four people had been killed by the attacker, police reduced the death toll to three.

Another 29 people were in the hospital, seven of them in critical condition.

American among dead
Among the fatalities was Utah man Kurt Cochran, whose wife, Melissa, was seriously injured. They were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with a visit to Europe.

Injured victims were 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian and two Greeks.

Mrs May spent 40 minutes speaking with some of the victims and staff at a London hospital.

Acting Police Commissisoner Mark Rowley, the UK’s top counterterror policeman, told reporters that authorities believe “the attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism.”

He said hundreds of officers had worked through the night, searching six addresses in London, Birmingham and elsewhere, resulting in seven arrests.

The vehicle used in the attack was rented in the Birmingham area.