British Police: Attacker identified in deadly terrorist attack, known to police

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LONDON  — The Islamic State group said through its Aamaq news agency that the London attacker was a ‘soldier of the Islamic State’.

Here is the latest on the attack outside Britain’s Parliament (all times local):

3:35 p.m.

British police have identified the person responsible for the terror attack near Parliament as 52-year-old Khalid Masood.

The police say in a statement Thursday that Masood was born in southeastern England and was most recently living in the West Midlands, in central England.

Police say Masood, who had a number of aliases, wasn’t the subject of any current investigation and that “there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack.”

He had been arrested previously for assault, possession of offensive weapons and public order offenses.

His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.


3:10 p.m.

Spain’s royal family has expressed condolences for the victims of Wednesday’s deadly attack in London.

“Spain feels very close to the United Kingdom in this moment of pain,” King Felipe VI said in a telegram Thursday to Queen Elizabeth II.

The king expressed “deep sorrow … for a despicable act that violates the fundamental values that sustain our democracy and our societies.”

He added that he wished for “normality to return to life in London.”

Felipe and his wife Queen Letizia are scheduled to pay the first Spanish royal visit to Britain in three decades in June.

3:05 p.m.

The prime minister of Israel, which has faced a wave of Palestinian assaults on civilians and soldiers since 2015, has condemned “the murderous terror attack in London.”

Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday “The citizens of Israel were among the first to face the challenge of vehicular ramming and stabbing attacks.”

In a statement he sent condolences to the victims and wished the wounded a speedy recovery.

“We must stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the citizens of Britain and the entire civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism,” he said.

Palestinians have killed 41 Israelis and two visiting Americans in a wave of attacks, mainly stabbings, car ramming and shootings, since September 2015. Israeli forces have killed 238 Palestinians during the same period, most identified by Israel as assailants involved in the attacks.


3 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office says the Turkish leader held a telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Theresa May during which he expressed Turkey’s solidarity with Britain in the fight against terrorism.

Officials from Erdogan’s office said Thursday the Turkish leader also told May that Turkey shared Britain’s pain over the attack in London.

The two leaders also reasserted their “determination” to jointly combat terrorism and share intelligence, the officials said.


2:50 p.m.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, speaking on behalf of the U.N. Security Council, has strongly condemned the “cowardly terrorist attack” in London that killed or seriously injured “many innocent people.”

Johnson, who was presiding at a meeting of the U.N.’s most powerful body, opened Thursday’s session with the statement on behalf of the council’s 15 members. He then asked everyone in the packed chamber to stand in silent tribute to the victims.

The British minister was in Washington at the time of Wednesday’s attacks near Parliament that killed two civilians and a policeman, and wounded over 30 others. The attacker was shot dead by police.

Britain currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council and Johnson decided to go ahead with plans to travel to New York to preside over meetings on Somalia and later on South Sudan.


2:40 p.m.

Italian Olympic boxer Vincenzo Mangiacapre has demonstrated how an unidentified attacker killed a policeman on the grounds of Parliament in front of the shocked members of his boxing team.

The killer, he said, had a knife in each hand and used them like drumsticks plunging into policeman Keith Palmer.

“He gave him around 10 stabs in the back, then he left the policeman and came toward us,” the 2012 Olympic light welterweight bronze medalist said.

Mangiacapre and other members of the Italia Thunder boxing team were touring the grounds of Parliament when the lethal attack unfolded. They are in London preparing for a World Series boxing match against a British team, Lionhearts.

2:30 p.m.

Kurt Cochran (left) has been identified by family and his church as one of the victims who died in the London attacks on March 23, 2017. Cochran was in London celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Melissa (right).

A Morman church official says a Utah man was killed and his wife was seriously wounded in the London attack.

Kurt W. Cochran and his wife, Melissa, were on the last day of a trip celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on Wednesday when the attacker struck in the heart of London. He plowed an SUV into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two and wounding dozens, then stabbed police officer Keith Palmer to death inside the gates of Parliament.

The assailant was shot dead by armed officers. The woman remains hospitalized.

The church said Thursday the Utah couple was also visiting the woman’s parents, who are Mormon missionaries in London.


13:35 p.m.

European Union Security Commissioner Julian King is suggesting there could be a link between Wednesday’s attack in London and the suicide bombings in Brussels exactly one year ago.

King said Thursday that “l don’t think it was a complete accident that this attack took place on the first anniversary of the Brussels attacks.”

He did not say whether the link went beyond that both took place on March 22. The attacks on Brussels’ airport and subway last year killed 32 people.

King also said that “the methodology of the London attacker fits into a pattern of behavior which we have seen before” in vehicle attacks in Berlin and Nice last year.

King, who is from Britain, added that “the terrorist threat remains extremely high across Europe.”


13:25 p.m.

British police say Westminster Bridge has reopened to traffic less than 24 hours after Wednesday’s attack.

The landmark bridge across the River Thames had been shut since an unidentified assailant hit a number of pedestrians with his vehicle. He was later shot to death after rushing onto the Parliament grounds and stabbing a policeman.

The busy bridge is a popular tourist site for visitors seeking selfies near Parliament and the London Eye.


13:20 p.m.

Italy’s ambassador to Britain says an Italian tourist who was injured when she was hit by the assailant’s vehicle in Wednesday’s attack is doing better.

The Italian news agency ANSA, reporting from London, quoted Ambassador Pasquale Terracciano, as saying Thursday she told him she had lost consciousness for about 10 minutes after being struck by the car’s bumper. The ambassador had visited the woman in the hospital.

The woman, a tourist from Rome, underwent surgery for a compound leg fracture. She also suffered less serious injury to two of her vertebrae near her neck and head trauma.

12:55 p.m.

Queen Elizabeth II says her “thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy” are with those affected by Wednesday’s attack in London.

The monarch said: “I know I speak for everyone in expressing my enduring thanks and admiration for the members of the Metropolitan Police Service and all who work so selflessly to help and protect others.”

She also sent a message of apology to London’s police force after plans to have her preside over the opening of the New Scotland Yard building were cancelled following the attack.

The queen said in the statement Thursday that she looks forward “to visiting at a later date.”


12:40 p.m.

A British lawmaker has choked back tears as he remembered his friendship with the police officer killed on Wednesday’s attack on Parliament.

His voice breaking, Conservative legislator James Cleverly called for Constable Keith Palmer to receive posthumous recognition for his “gallantry and sacrifice.”

He said he first met Palmer 25 years ago as “Gunner Keith Palmer” when both men served in the Royal Artillery.

Cleverly said the 48-year-old police officer, stabbed to death by an attacker trying to enter Parliament, was “a strong, professional public servant and it was a delight to meet him again only a few months after being elected.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said Palmer had “paid the ultimate sacrifice here at the heart of our democracy” and that the suggestion of posthumous recognition would be considered.


12:35 p.m.

The Islamic State group says the attack outside the British parliament in London was carried out by one of its “soldiers.”

The IS-linked Aamaq news agency said Thursday that the person who carried out the “attack in front of the British parliament in London was a soldier of the Islamic State.”

It added that the person “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of the coalition.”

IS has called on its supporters to carry out attacks against citizens of the U.S.-led coalition that has been targeting the group since 2014.

IS, who have been responsible for numerous bloody attacks around the globe, have also previously claimed certain attacks in a show of opportunism. Britain’s government has not identified the suspect.


12:30 p.m.

Visible armed police officers were seen outside Sweden’s Parliament and the government’s headquarters following Wednesday’s London attack.

Parliament’s head of security told Expressen daily that safety measures had been taken “in consultation with the police” and Sweden’s domestic intelligence agency “due to the event in London.”

The Sapo agency had not changed the threat assessment against Sweden. In neighboring Denmark, the Security and Intelligence Service said it was following the situation after the events in London.

The agency said Thursday the situation led to no reason to change the assessment of the terror threat against Denmark, “which remains serious.” In Copenhagen, Denmark, heavily armed police also were seen outside the Danish Parliament.


12:25 p.m.

A Romanian diplomat said a woman who plunged into the Thames when a SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge Wednesday has successfully undergone surgery to remove a blood clot from her brain. She remains in a critical state.

Romania’s Ambassador to Britain, Dan Mihalache, told national news agency Agerpres Thursday that the woman had major problems with her lungs.

He said the woman, who has not been named, was transferred early Thursday to another London hospital that is better equipped to deal with her injuries.

Mihalache said her family was traveling to London. The woman and her boyfriend were on vacation in the British capital to celebrate his birthday this week. The boyfriend suffered a foot fracture.

12:15 p.m.

Poland’s prime minister has suggested a link between the European Union’s migration policies and terrorism — and has used the London attack to make her point, even though the identity of the attacker has not been released.

Beata Szydlo spoke just hours before British Prime Minister Theresa May said police know the identity of the attacker, who was British-born.

Szydlo said on TVN24: “I often hear in Europe, in the EU: Let’s not link the migration policy with terrorism, but it’s impossible not to link them.”

The attack before the British Parliament left four people dead, including the attacker, and 29 hospitalized, including one Pole.

Poland’s nationalist government is at odds with the EU on a number of issues including migration.