LONDON: Two more people have been arrested, two days after a British man went on a rampage outside parliament, killing five people including the assailant.
Mark Rowley, the UK's top anti-terrorism officer said on Friday (Mar 24) that authorities had made two further "significant arrests" overnight, one in the West Midlands and one in the north west of the country.
BREAKING: Met Police release picture of Westminster attacker Khalid Masood pic.twitter.com/nx6kErYzgq— Olly Barratt (@ollybarratt) March 24, 2017
Nine people are in custody and one woman has been released on bail, he added.
Rowley said the attacker, who ploughed down pedestrians when he sped across Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing an unarmed policeman, had injured at least 50 people in total. Two are still in a critical condition, and one person is considered to have life-threatening injuries.
Rowley also said that the attacker's birth name was Adrian Russell, and that officials were still trying to establish whether he had acted on the direction of others. British police had earlier identified the attacker as Khalid Masood, 52, and said he had numerous convictions for violent offences but none terrorism-related.
"Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, his operation and his associates," Rowley said.
"Whilst there is still no evidence of further threats, you'll understand our determination is to find out if either he acted totally alone, inspired perhaps by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him."
Rowley added that he would work with parliamentary authorities to see if security measures needed to be changed.
Islamic State extremists claimed the assailant behind the deadliest attack on British soil in 12 years was one of its "soldiers" acting on a call to target countries in the US-led coalition fighting the militants.
Hundreds of people on Thursday in central London paid tribute to the victims of the attack. London Mayor Sadiq Khan led the tributes in a heavily-policed Trafalgar Square, vowing "Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism".
The death toll rose late Thursday after life support was withdrawn from a 75-year-old man injured in the attack, whom police named as Leslie Rhodes from south London.
The other victims were 48-year-old policeman Keith Palmer and, on the bridge, a 43-year-old British woman, Aysha Frade, who was on her way to pick up her two daughters, and an American citizen in his 50s, Kurt Cochran.
Police earlier said that five men and three women aged between 21 and 58 were arrested "on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts". One woman was later released on bail.
Rowley gave no details of the new arrests, only to say that they took place in the West Midlands - the area of the country that includes Birmingham - and the north-west of England.
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.
According to The Sun tabloid, he married a Muslim woman in 2004 and moved the following year to Saudi Arabia to teach, returning in 2009.
Police said he went by numerous aliases, including, reportedly, Adrian Elms, while reports suggest he lived all over England, including in Luton and east London.
He was described as "a nice guy" by Iwona Romek, a former neighbour in Birmingham, who told the Birmingham Mail: "He had a wife, a young Asian woman and a small child who went to school."
Rowley said police were "looking at his history" and appealed for any public information about him, adding: "Our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, preparation and associates."
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.
Naveed Mirza, a Muslim student, said he had received "overwhelming" support since the attack described by police as "Islamist-related terrorism".
"We have come to say how, as Muslims, we unequivocally condemn all the violent actions that took place yesterday," he told AFP.