U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May told British lawmakers that one attacker was responsible for the deadly Westminster terror incident in London on Wednesday, and that the attacker had been investigated by security services in the past. “It’s still believed that this attacker acted alone,” May told lawmakers in the House of Commons.
May said that a British-born man inspired by Islamist ideology, who had been previously investigated by MI-5 is responsible for the attack.
“His identity is known to the police and MI5 and, when operations allow he will be publicly identified. He was British born and some years ago he was investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism,” May said.
She added, however, that he was not part of current invetigations and had been regarded as a “peripheral figure.”
The UK Prime Minister also said that a total of 12 people, inluding 9 foreigners, are victims of the Westminster attack and added that the UK terror level is “severe” as there is no information of a specific threat. May said she will have more security meetings after the London attack.
She said the Lond attack was “an attack on people everywhere. and vowed that terrorists will be defeated. May refered to the Westminster attack as an act trying to silence democracy, adding that “we are not afraid.”
Earlier in the day Police arrested eight people in the investigation into a lone-wolf attacker who killed three people and injured 40 before being shot dead by police near parliament in London, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer said on Thursday.
“We have now made a total of eight arrests as part of the ongoing Counter Terrorism operation,” the police said on Twitter.
The Metropolitan Police said on Thursday that they searched six addresses overnight in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country in connection with the investigation. Mark Rowley, acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, confirmed that 29 people were treated in hospital after the attack and seven people remained in critical condition. This was a revision from Wednesday night, when he said that five people had died in the attack, including three members of the public.
Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, told the BBC that the “working assumption” was the attack is “linked to Islamic terrorism in some form”. “So we’re dealing with an enemy, a terrorist enemy that is not making demands or holding people hostage but simply wants to kill as many people as possible. So this is a new element to international terrorism,” he said.
Fallon added: “London has seen this before and is taking this on the chin, and I do want to reassure you that the police and security forces are doing everything possible to make sure that people can go about their daily life as safely as possible.”
The prime minister on Wednesday night described the assault as “sick and depraved” in a statement outside Number 10 after chairing a meeting of Cobra, the government’s high-level emergency committee. May said the nation’s threat level would remain at “severe” and warned terrorists that efforts to undermine Britain’s values were “doomed to failure”.