In an address to parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May has said that the London attack suspect was British-born and had been investigated by security forces. May added that one of the injured was a German national.
The assailant who carried out a deadly attack outside parliament on Wednesday as born in Great Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons Thursday.
“What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism,” she told lawmakers.
“He was a peripheral figure,” May said, adding that “he was not part of the current intelligence picture.”
The Prime Minister added that there had been no prior intelligence of his plot to carry out an attack on the Westminster Bridge and parliament.
British parliament reopened on Thursday, one day after the deadly attack that took place outside the Palace of Westminster. MPs and police observed a sombre minute of silence to remember the victims.
Arrests made in police raids
Prime Minister May also confirmed that police carried out raids in Birmingham and London as part of the investigation into the attack, arresting a total of eight people.
Earlier on Thursday, Mark Rowley, Britain’s top anti-terrorism officer, added that authorities believe the attacker “acted alone” and was “inspired by international terrorism.”
Police have said they know the identity of the attacker but have not yet named him as investigations into his “motivation and associates” are ongoing. The senior counter-terrorism officer added that police have “no specific information about further threats to the public.”
Rowley also revised the death toll, saying that four people are dead – including the attacker – and that 29 people are currently being treated in hospital for their injuries. Seven of those wounded are in critical condition.
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told BBC Radio that the police have a “working assumption” that the attack is “linked to Islamic terrorism.”
A knife-wielding man plowed a car into a crowd of pedestrianson London’s Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman outside the British Parliament on Wednesday. The assailant was shot shortly after stabbing the officer.
Police had earlier reported that the death toll was five and that a total of 40 people were wounded.
Details on victims emerge
Rowley said that there were a mix of nationalities among the dead but gave no identifying information. He said that the victims of the attack include 48-year-old Keith Palmer, the policeman who was stabbed, and two members of the public – a woman in her mid-40s and a man in his mid-50s. The attacker is the fourth dead.
Three French high-school students between the ages of 15 and 16 were injured during the attack. They were on a school trip to London with fellow students from Brittany. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was expected to arrive in the English capital to visit them in the hospital, French media reported.
Another five South Korean tourists were also wounded, Seoul’s foreign ministry said. A Chinese tourist and a Portugese man were also injured, their respective governments said.
A seriously injured woman was rescued from the River Thames where she fell after the attacker’s vehicle plowed through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. Romanian officials said that the woman was a Romanian tourist who was in London to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday.
The woman sustained serious injuries to her head and lungs while her boyfriend suffered a fractured foot, Romanian Ambassador Dan Mihalache told Realitatea TV late on Wednesday.
‘We are not afraid’
Prime Minister Theresa May previously described the attack as “sick and depraved,” adding that Britain’s alert level would remain unchanged at “severe,” or level four.
“We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart,” said May on Wednesday.
Several Londoners appeared to echo the prime minister’s sentiment to defiantly carry on with their lives. The Tower Hill Underground station, known for writing a quote of the day for busy travelers to ponder as they rush through the city, posted a picture of today’s quote on Twitter: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of them all.”
They added the hashtags “London is open” and “we are not afraid.”
Queen Elizabeth II postponed her visit to open the new headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police on Thursday.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said a candlelight vigil for the victims will be held tonight at 6:00 p.m. GMT (UTC) in Trafalgar Square.