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‘Significant’ New Arrests Made in London Parliament Attack | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An armed police officer stands guard opposite the Houses of Parliament. (AFP)

British police announced on Friday that they had made two further “significant” arrests over Wednesday’s terror attack on parliament in London, bringing the total number of people in custody to nine.

They also appealed for information about the homegrown killer who left four people dead.

At least 50 people were injured in the attack and 31 required hospital treatment, counter-terrorism commander Mark Rowley said. The latest victim, who died in the hospital on Thursday, was 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes from Streatham, south London.

Police have searched 16 addresses, with five more raids still underway, mainly in London and the central city of Birmingham, where the attacker reportedly lived and near where he rented the car used in the assault.

The assailant, identified as Khalid Masood, 52, was born Adrian Russell Ajao, Rowley said during a briefing outside Scotland Yard. He used “a number of aliases” and had a history of violent offences but no terrorist convictions.

“We remain keen to hear from anyone who knew Khalid Masood well, understands who his associates were and can provide us with information about places he has recently visited,” he added. “There might be people out there who did have concerns about Masood but did not feel comfortable for whatever reason in passing those concerns to us.”

The ISIS terrorist group claimed the assailant behind Britain’s deadliest terror attack in 12 years was one of its “soldiers” acting on a call to target countries in the US-led coalition fighting the extremists.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said that Masood was known to intelligence services as a “peripheral” figure some years ago but there was no warning of his intention to mount an attack.

Masood ran over dozens of pedestrians and tourists on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday afternoon before crashing his car into parliament, where he managed to stab a police officer before being shot dead.

Lawmakers returned to work as normal on Thursday morning, even as forensic officers worked at the scene, but a review of parliamentary security is now underway.

Hundreds of people gathered in nearby Trafalgar Square late Thursday for a vigil led by Mayor Sadiq Khan who vowed that “Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”

Born in Kent in southeast England, Masood was a British citizen with convictions for assault and possession of offensive weapons dating from 1983 to 2003.

He was described as “a nice guy” by Iwona Romek, a former neighbor in Birmingham, who told the Birmingham Mail: “He had a wife, a young Asian woman and a small child who went to school.”

The crowds at Trafalgar Square late Thursday brought messages of defiance, flags and flowers, and offered their condolences to officers who lost a colleague in the attack.