The British man who killed four people during a London rampage had made three trips to Saudi Arabia, teaching English there twice on a work visa and returning on a visa usually granted to those going on a religious pilgrimage.
More details about attacker Khalid Masood’s travels, confirmed by the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Britain, emerged Saturday amid a massive British police effort to discover how a homegrown ex-con with a violent streak became radicalized and why he launched a deadly attack Wednesday on Westminster Bridge.
The embassy said he taught English in Saudi Arabia from November 2005 to November 2006 and again from April 2008 to April 2009, with a legitimate work visa both times. He then returned for six days in March 2015 on a trip booked through an approved travel agent and made on an “Umra” visa, usually granted to those on a religious pilgrimage to the country’s Islamic holy sites.
The embassy said Saudi security services didn’t track Masood and he didn’t have a criminal record there.
Before taking the name Masood, he was called Adrian Elms. He was known for having a violent temper in England and had been convicted at least twice for violent crimes.
Masood drove his rented SUV across London’s crowded Westminster Bridge on Wednesday, striking dozens of pedestrians. Then he jumped out and stabbed to death police Officer Keith Palmer, who was guarding Parliament, before being shot dead by police.
In all, he killed four people and left more than two dozen hospitalized, including some with critical injuries. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling him a “soldier” who responded to its demands that followers attack countries in the coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
A police officer places flowers from members of the public in London.(Will Oliver / EPA)
Union flags fly at half-staff in front of Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament in central London.(Niklas Halle’n / AFP/Getty Images)
Police forensics teams search Parliament Square outside the Houses of Parliament in London.(Andy Rain / EPA)
Pedestrians cross Westminster Bridge in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament in London after the bridge reopened following the March 22 terror attack.(Niklas Halle’n / AFP/Getty Images)
Police stand guard outside a flat in Birmingham, which was raided by anti-terror police in connection with the London attacks.(Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)
The front pages of U.K. daily newspapers reporting on the terror attack in central London.(Daniel Sorabji / AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament in London following a terror attack.(Carl Court / Getty Images)
Emergency services at the scene outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Police say they are treating a gun and knife incident at Britain’s Parliament “as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.”(Stefan Rousseau / Associated Press)
Armed police following major incidents outside the Houses of Parliament in London.(ANDY RAIN / EPA)
Emergency services transport an injured person to an ambulance, close to the Houses of Parliament in London.(Matt Dunham / Associated Press)
In this image taken from video show police officers gather around a car adjacent to Houses of Parliament in London.(Associated Press)
A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament in London.(Carl Court / Getty Images)
Emergency services at the scene outside the Palace of Westminster in London.(Stefan Rousseau / Associated Press)
Armed police in position outside the Houses of Parliament in London.(Andy Rain / EPA)
An iinjured man on London’s Westminster Bridge holds his knee in an image from video.(Radosaw Sikorski / AFP/Getty Images)
An injured man is helped to safety near Westminster Bridge in London.(Carl Court / Getty Images)
Bystanders look on outside the police security perimeter near the Houses of Parliament.(Jack Taylor / Getty Images)
An injured person is loaded into an ambulance near Westminster Bridge in London.(Carl Court / Getty Images)
A police officer directs pedestrians back from the area around the Houses of Parliament in London.(Andy Rain / EPA)
Police secure the area close to the Houses of Parliament in London.(Matt Dunham / Associated Press)
Armed police on a street outside the Houses of Parliament in London.(Andy Rain / EPA)
Police in London secure the area on the south side of Westminster Bridge close to the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday.(Matt Dunham / Associated Press)
Police in London close the area near Houses of Parliament on Wednesday after reports of violence.(Victoria Jones / Associated Press)
A police officer stands on Parliament Square outside of the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday after witnesses reported sounds like gunfire outside.(Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press)
British officials said security at Parliament would be reviewed after video emerged showing that the large gates to the complex were left open after Masood rushed onto the grounds. There are concerns that accomplices could have followed him in and killed even more people. The footage from that day shows pedestrians walking by the open gates and even a courier entering the grounds.
Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair told the BBC that changes to the “outer soft ring” of Parliament’s security plan are likely in the aftermath of Masood’s attack.
The new footage follows earlier video that showed slight delays and confusion during the evacuation of Prime Minister Theresa May from Parliament as the attack unfolded.
Masood, who at 52 was considerably older than most extremists who have carried out attacks in the West, had an arrest record in Britain dating to 1983. In 2000, he slashed a man across the face in a pub parking lot in a racially charged argument after drinking four pints, according to a newspaper account. Masood’s last conviction, in 2003, also involved a knife attack.
The British press quoted people who had contact with Masood over the years describing him as a man who seemed to lose control at a moment’s notice. One victim, Danny Smith, told the Sun newspaper that Masood had stabbed him in the face with a kitchen knife after an argument just three days after they met.
Hundreds of British police have been working to determine his motives and if he had any possible accomplices. Two men, ages 27 and 58, remain in custody for questioning after being arrested in the central English city of Birmingham, where Masood was living. Authorities haven’t charged or identified the men.
Seven others who had been arrested in connection with the investigation have been set free. A 32-year-old woman arrested in Manchester and a 39-year-old woman arrested in East London have been released on bail.
Police are scouring Masood’s communications systems, including his possible use of the WhatsApp encryption messaging app, to help determine if he had any accomplices in the attack.
Details about how he became radicalized aren’t clear, although he may have become exposed to radical views while an inmate in Britain or while working in conservative Saudi Arabia. It’s also not clear when he took the name Masood, suggesting a conversion to Islam.