London– The Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service, announced that Khalid Masood was a lone attacker, saying there is no information that suggests there are plots for further attacks.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said: “We must all accept that there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this. That understanding may have died with him.”
Last Wednesday, Masood, 52, killed three people and injured 50 when he drove a vehicle into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge. He then fatally stabbed police officer PC Keith Palmer before being shot dead by police, all within 82 seconds which indicates the quick response of security forces.
ISIS announced later that Masood was one of its “soldiers.”
Basu added that police believe Masood acted alone on the day and there is no information or intelligence to suggest there are further attacks planned.
“Even if he acted alone in the preparation, we need to establish with absolute clarity why he did these unspeakable acts to bring reassurance to Londoners, and to provide answers and closure for the families of those killed and the victims and survivors of this atrocity,” he told the press.
But, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner confirmed police are determined to understand if Masood was a lone actor inspired by terrorist propaganda or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.
PM Theresa May confirmed that Masood had previously been investigated by the intelligence services but merely as a “peripheral” figure. She said she believes he acted totally alone inspired by extreme ideologies and vowed to hold anyone whose supported or encouraged him accountable.
Investigations revealed that Masood had used WhatsApp messaging application two minutes before ramping pedestrians and then attacking the parliament’s guards with a knife.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she would be meeting technology firms, adding that the companies are extremely cooperative with law enforcement.
Rudd said: “It is completely unacceptable; there should be no place for terrorists to hide. We need to make sure that organization like WhatsApp, and there are plenty of others like that don’t provide a secret place for terrorists to communicate with each other.”
She told BBC that in situations like this, there is a need to make sure intelligence services have the ability to get into situations like encrypted WhatsApp.
A WhatsApp spokeswoman said the company was “horrified at the attack” and was co-operating with the investigation.
Two British MPs said that the country will revise the security procedures taken in response to the criticism about leaving the parliament’s gate open for a period of time during the attack.
A video showed the gate unguarded while PC Palmer was receiving medical assistance. Both the government and the police said that they can’t confirm or deny this until the investigation is over.
Leader of the House of Commons David Lidington told the BBC that security had been strengthened in the last couple of years and that there were armed guards on the parliamentary estate at all times.
“If the judgment by our security experts is that there need to be more armed guards at certain places then those armed guards will be deployed accordingly,” he said.
But, Lidington added that before jumping into conclusions about the lessons to be learned about Wednesday’s attack, it is important that the police are allowed to get on with completing the interview of witnesses and of their own officers.