In a country wide crackdown by the UK police following Wednesday’s terror attack near the British Parliament, seven people were arrested even as the raids continue. In an attacked termed “Islamist-related terrorism”, three people were killed, including the attacker.
The identity and motive of the attacker is yet to be disclosed by the UK authorities.
Scotland Yard Acting Deputy Commissioner and Head of Counter Terrorism Mark Rowley said the investigation was at a critical stage and the identity of the attacker was not being released as the ongoing investigation tries to piece together the suspect’s “motivations, his preparation and associates”.
“The inquiries in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country are continuing. It is still our belief – which continues to be borne out by our investigation – that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism. To be explicit, at this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public,” he said.
Rowley confirmed that the victims were a mix of nationalities, and included a woman in her 40s and a man in his 50s.
“The latest figures I have are that there are currently four dead and 29 people were treated in hospital. The fourth man of course was the terrorist who was shot dead by armed police at the scene. We are still collating numbers of walking wounded and of those in hospital sadly seven of them are in a critical condition,” he said.
Overnight, West Midland Police officers stormed a second-floor flat in the city believed to be the residence of the knife-wielding attacker and led away people in handcuffs.
According to the sequence of events, the attacker driving a grey coloured Hyundai i40 first mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge just outside the British Parliament and then tried to storm inside the Parliament complex.
As he tried to advance his way inside the Parliament gates, he was confronted by a police officer. While the Scotland Yard officer, identified as Keith Palmer, was fatally stabbed, the police contingent shot dead the attacker.
It has also emerged that the attacker had reportedly hired his car from Solihull area of Birmingham.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned “the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our capital”.
“We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart,” she had said.
Meanwhile, the terror threat level in the UK remains “severe” as Scotland Yard’s Counter Terror Command has been leading the investigation into the attack. MPs and peers are expected to return to Parliament as usual as an act of defiance.
(With inputs from the Agencies)