London: Islamic Terrorist Attack on Westminster

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An attacker – now named as 52-year-old Khalid Masood – killed two pedestrians and injured around 40 other people as he mowed down members of the public with a car on Westminster Bridge at about 2:40pm, before crashing into the railings in front of Parliament. Bursting through the gate to the Palace of Westminster, he stabbed unarmed Pc Keith Palmer, 48, before being shot dead by armed officers.

 

Westminster attack: Everything we know so far

by Emily Allen and Barney Henderson [Daily Telegraph]  *  23 March, 2017

massive police operation is under way after a terror attack in Westminster yesterday in which four people died, including a police officer and the attacker. The man police believe to be responsible has today been identified as Khalid Masood. Here’s everything we know so far.

What happened in Westminster?

An attacker – now named as 52-year-old Khalid Masood – killed two pedestrians and injured around 40 other people as he mowed down members of the public with a car on Westminster Bridge at about 2:40pm, before crashing into the railings in front of Parliament.

Bursting through the gate to the Palace of Westminster, he stabbed unarmed Pc Keith Palmer, 48, before being shot dead by armed officers.

Paramedics fought to save the attacker, and that of Pc Palmer on the floor of the cobbled courtyard just yards from the House of Commons. Both were later confirmed dead. Two large knives could be seen at the scene.

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood was among those who rushed to help. Mr Ellwood, who lost his brother in the Bali bombing, was seen pumping the officer’s chest then standing above him, his hands and face smeared with blood.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to the injured police officer.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to the injured police officer. CREDIT: PA

Who was the attacker?

Police believe a 52-year-old British-born man called Khalid Masood is responsible. Born in Kent, detectives believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands and was known by a number of aliases. They think he acted alone, although they are investigating possible associates.

The Islamic State terror group claimed he was one of its “soldiers” in a statement released through IS’s Aamaq news agency today.

Isil has been explicitly threatening attacks on Britain for the last 18 months. At the end of a propaganda video claiming the Paris attacks in November 2015, Isil singled out the UK as its next target.

Was he known to police?

Masood was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack, Scotland Yard said. However, he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.

His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife. He has not been convicted for any terrorism offences.

Mrs May told the Commons earlier, prior to the man being identified: “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.

“He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic. He was not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent or of the plot.”

The suspected London terror attacker being treated by paramedics, with the knives used in the assault circled.
The suspected London terror attacker being treated by paramedics, with the knives used in the assault circled. CREDIT: PA

How many arrests have there been?

Eight people have been arrested so far, and six addresses raided across London, Birmingham and elsewhere overnight.

The Birmingham raid took place on the Hagley Road, a mile or so southwest of Birmingham city centre at 11pm yesterday. Neighbours said more than a dozen black-clad police stormed a flat on the road with machine guns.

One witness, who works in a shop near the second-floor flat, said: “The man from London lived here.” He added: “They came and arrested three men.”

Searches are continuing at the flat today after it emerged that the killer’s car had been hired nearby.

What do we know about the car?

On Thursday, car-hire firm Enterprise confirmed the Hyundai 4×4 used in the attack was one of its vehicles after an employee recognised the numberplate in online photos.

The car is understood to have been rented from a branch in Stratford, Shirley, in Solihull, just eight miles (13km) from the scene of the flat raid.

In a statement, Enterprise said: “We can confirm that the car used in the tragic attack in London yesterday afternoon was one of ours.”

The attacker's Hyundai 4x4 is seen just yards from the House of Commons after crashing into railings.
The attacker’s Hyundai 4×4 is seen just yards from the House of Commons after crashing into railings.

Who are the dead?

Pc Keith Palmer

Pc Palmer, 48, was a husband and father, and had worked for the Metropolitan Police for 15 years, having previously served in the armed forces.

Conservative MP James Cleverly paid tribute to the “lovely man” he had known for a quarter of a century.  “I’ve known Keith for 25 years. We served together in the Royal Artillery before he became a copper,” he wrote. “A lovely man, a friend. I’m heartbroken. My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of PC Keith Palmer. A brave man.”

Keith Palmer
Keith Palmer CREDIT: METROPOLITAN POLICE

Aysha Frade

Spanish teacher and department head Aysha Frade, 43, worked at DLD College, London and was married with two daughters.

She was believed to have been crossing Westminster Bridge to pick up her children aged eight and 11 from school when she lost her life in the attack.

According to Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia, the woman had always lived in London, where her parents met. Her father was of Cypriot origin while her mother was born in Betanzos in northwestern Spain. According to La Voz, the woman often spent her holidays with her family back in the town.
Aysha Frade pictured in 2014
Aysha Frade pictured in 2014 CREDIT: FACEBOOK

Kurt Cochran

American tourist Kurt Cochran, in his 50s, has been named as the second person killed on Westminster Bridge. His wife, Melissa, was also injured in the attack. She sustained a broken leg and rib, but it is not believed to be critical.

Mr Cochran, an engineer, appeared to have been travelling around Europe this month having posted photographs of his recent visit to Germany, Scotland and Ireland on his Facebook page. He was a keen musician, according to friends who posted their condolences on social media, and played the guitar.

Kurt Cochran was visiting London from Utah
Kurt Cochran was visiting London from Utah CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SHANTELL PAYNE

What about those injured?

An estimated 40 people were injured, and seven of those remain in hospital in a critical condition. The injured include 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, two Greeks, and one each from Germany, Poland, Ireland, China, Italy and the United States.

Three British police officers were among the hurt, two of them seriously. Two of the three French teenagers caught up in the carnage also have serious injuries.

Injured victims are seen on Westminster Bridge this afternoon, with wreckage strewn across the pavement.
Injured victims are seen on Westminster Bridge this afternoon, with wreckage strewn across the pavement. CREDIT: REUTERS

The 15 and 16-year-olds were from a school in Concarneau, Brittany, and had arrived in London on Sunday evening. They were walking along the bridge when the attacker’s car apparently hit them, propelling one of them up onto the bonnet of the vehicle.

Romania’s foreign ministry confirmed two Romanians were also wounded. Among them was a woman who plunged into the Thames to escape the attack. She has been named as 29-year-old architect Andreea Cristea and eyewitnesses told reporters they had seen her floating face-down in the Thames next to the bridge.

A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge. 
A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge. CREDIT: CARL COURT/GETTY IMAGES

She was on holiday with her fiancé to celebrate his birthday. It is not known whether she was thrown into the water by the impact of the crash or jumped into the water to avoid the carnage.

The South Korean Yonhap news agency said that five South Korean citizens were injured in the terror attack, including a 67-year-old woman who was in a serious condition.

Malcolm Turnbull announced in parliament that a person from South Australia was also wounded.  The woman’s foot was ran over during the attack and is recovering in hospital, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the ABC. The woman, who has not been named, is originally from Germany but is a permanent resident in South Australia

Where was the Prime Minister during the attack?

When the attack happened Prime Minister Theresa May had just voted and was standing in members’ lobby with other Tory MPs.

She was seen being quickly ushered into a silver Jaguar in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. A Downing Street source confirmed she was “OK”.

What happened inside Parliament?

MPs were locked in the House of Commons for more than four hours and business suspended after the attack. Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle halted the sitting of the House and told MPs, who had just been called to vote on a piece of legislation, to remain in the chamber as details of the incident filtered through.

People being held in Westminster Hall, including former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown and former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith, were later evacuated from the Houses of Parliament. It was thought they were evacuated in blocks of 20 at a time.

Both the House of Commons and the House of Lords are sitting today at their normal times.

What has Mrs May said about the attack?

Mrs May told the House of Commons today: “We will never waver in the face of terrorism.” She also said British people have shown terrorists they “will not defeat us” by carrying on with their lives as normal and described the attack as “sickening”. Mrs May said the actions of millions around the country showed terrorists “we will never give in”.

In a show of defiance, the PM told a packed Commons chamber: “The greatest response lies not in the words of politicians, but in the everyday actions of ordinary people. “For beyond these walls today, in scenes repeated in towns and cities across the country, millions of people are going about their days and getting on with their lives.”

Paying tribute to Pc Keith Palmer, she said: “He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten.”

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