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Police Reveal Details of UK Attacker   03/24 08:50

   LONDON (AP) -- Police are combing through "massive amounts of computer data" 
and have contacted thousands of witnesses as they look for clues about why a 
British-born man became radicalized and launched a deadly attack on Parliament, 
a senior police official said Friday.

   As the fast-moving investigation led to more arrests and searches, police 
revealed that the attacker, Khalid Masood, was born Adrian Russell Ajao in 
southern England in 1964.

   In a briefing outside Scotland Yard, London's top counterterror officer, 
Mark Rowley, said two more "significant" arrests had been made, bringing to 
nine the number of people in custody over Wednesday's attack.

   Detectives have searched 21 properties in London, the central English city 
of Birmingham and Wales.

   "We've seized 2,700 items from these searches, including massive amounts of 
computer data for us to work through," Rowley said, adding that contact had 
been made with 3,500 witnesses.

   "We've received hundreds of uploads of video images to our online platform. 
Given this attack was in the heart of the capital we also, of course, are 
dealing with statements from a wide range of nationalities."

   Masood drove his car into crowds of people on Westminster Bridge on 
Wednesday afternoon before fatally stabbing a police officer at the Houses of 
Parliament. He was shot dead by police.

   An American man from Utah, a British man and British woman were killed on 
the bridge, and police officer Keith Palmer died at Parliament, police said.

   The latest victim, who died in a hospital on Thursday, was identified as 
75-year-old Leslie Rhodes from south London.

   More than 50 people of a dozen nationalities were injured, 31 of whom 
required hospital treatment.

   "Those affected include a real cross-section of ages from at least 12 
nationalities," Rowley said. "It's a poignant reminder, I think, that the 
impact of this attack on the capital will reach around the world. "

   Rowley said two police officers targeted in the attack have significant 
injuries. Two other people also remain in critical condition, one with 
life-threatening injuries.

   The 52-year-old attacker was born in southeastern England and had most 
recently been living in Birmingham, where several properties have been searched 
by police.

   Police say Masood has used several aliases and had a string of convictions 
between 1983 and 2003 for offenses including assault and possession of an 
offensive weapon.

   Prime Minister Theresa May said Thursday that Masood was "investigated in 
relation to concerns about violent extremism" some years ago. But she called 
him "a peripheral figure."

   The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Wednesday's attack. 
Police believe Masood acted alone, but Rowley said police are investigating 
whether he "acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others 
have encouraged, supported or directed him."

   Nine people remain in custody on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.

   Once his identity became known, police and the media began to trace the 
movements of the attacker in his final hours.

   The manager of a hotel in the beachside city of Brighton where Masood 
attacker stayed the night before the incident said he seemed unusually outgoing 
and mentioned details about his family, including having a sick father.

   "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," Sabeur 
Toumi told Sky News on Friday.

   Police raided the room at the Preston Park Hotel in Brighton after the 
attack, searching for clues about Masood. Among the items seized were the 
trouser press and the toilet paper holder.

   Further details of the aftermath of the rampage continued to emerge.

   A former British army officer told the BBC on Friday that rescuers held the 
hand of Constable Keith Palmer and talked to him as they tried in vain to save 
his life after he was stabbed during the attack on Parliament.

   Mike Crofts, a former army captain who served in Afghanistan, said he was in 
the courtyard outside the Houses of Parliament following a meeting with 
politicians about using boxing to engage young men when the attack took place.

   "I rushed towards the scene," he said, and began first aid with another 
person in civilian clothes, who turned out to be Staff Sgt. Tony Davis, one of 
Crofts' instructors at Sandhurst, Britain's military academy. Ultimately, there 
were 20 to 30 people working to save the officer's life.

   "Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to save him," 
Crofts said. "(Police Constable) Palmer at the time was surrounded by a whole 
host of colleagues who really loved him. We held his hand through the 
experience. We talked to him throughout, but unfortunately he passed away."


(KA)

 
 
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