People pay tribute to the victims of the Westminster attack by placing flowers outside Parliament. (Photo: AP)
A senior British counterterrorism officer said Monday there was “no evidence” Westminster attacker Khalid Masood was connected to the Islamic State or al-Qaida.
According to the Associated Press, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, who is also Britain’s senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing, admitted Masood obviously had “an interest in jihad” but said police had found no evidence he had told others of his planned attack.
Basu described the attack — in which Masood drove into pedestrians with an SUV on London’s Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed a police officer in front of the Parliament building — as “based on low-sophistication, low-tech, low-cost techniques copied from other attacks.”
Authorities think Masood, a 52-year-old Briton born man who had previously been arrested for violent crimes, acted alone but are still investigating whether his actions were coordinated or inspired by others.
Masood, formally known as Adrian Elms, changed his name in 2005, which authorities say suggests a conversion to Islam.
Masood’s mother, Janet Ajao, condemned her son’s actions on Monday, saying that “since discovering that it was my son that was responsible I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.”
Some have theorized Masood was converted and radicalized while in prison, but Basu has said police have found no evidence to support that thus far.
Basu’s statement came after the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack last week through an announcement on the Islamic State-linked news site Amaq.