London’s Westminster Terrorist Was A Known Wolf

REUTERS/Toby Melville

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The terrorist responsible for Wednesday’s attack in London was previously investigated for participating in a plot to blow up a British Army base, according to The Telegraph.

Khalid Masood was shot and killed by police after he murdered four people and injured approximately 40 others during his rampage in Westminster. It was not his first brush with terrorist activity though, as he was once investigated by MI5, the U.K.’s domestic intelligence service, for playing a role in an attempt to blow up a British Army base with a remote-controlled car in 2013.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that Masood had been involved in terrorist activity prior to Wednesday’s attacks, while speaking to parliament after the tragedy.

Masood attracted the attention of MI5 in during a 2010 investigation into a gang of extremists preparing for an attack on the British city of Luton. Zahid Iqbal, Mohammed Sharfaraz Ahmed, Syed Hussain and Umar Arshad were all imprisoned in 2013 for their role in the plot. MI5 decided no further investigation into Masood was necessary after a risk assessment and background check determined he was not a terror risk.

Masood met the four convicted extremists after moving to Luton in 2009. A British native, Masood had just returned from living in Saudi Arabia and is believed to have met the men when they started preparing for their attack at a local gym.

Born Adrian Ajao in 1964, Masood was originally from Kent. A former classmate said Masood “liked to party” and was a decent school soccer player. He went on to live with a woman named Jane Harvey, with whom he had two daughters, in Sussex. Masood later had another daughter with a different woman and moved around frequently.

Masood is also known to have used different names throughout his life.

He had a fairly extensive and violent criminal history, which spanned more than two decades, though he had not previously been convicted of terrorism-related activities.

It is unclear as to when Masood converted to Islam, though he is believed to have married a Muslim woman in 2004. He also is known to have taught English in Saudi Arabia on two occasions. It is also possible he was radicalized while serving out one of his prison sentences.

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