LONDON, UK. (NEWS 1130) – The Islamic State group says the attack outside the British Parliament buildings in London was carried out by one of its “soldiers.”
The ISIS-linked Aamaq news agency claims the person who carried out the “attack in front of the British Parliament in London was a soldier of the Islamic State.” It added that the person “carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting citizens of the coalition.”
Five people died in the attack.
Detectives investigating the terrorist attack in #Westminster can confirm that a 75yo man died tonight after his life support was withdrawn.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 23, 2017
ISIS has called on its supporters to carry out attacks against citizens of the US-led coalition that has been targeting the group since 2014.
The group, which has been responsible for numerous bloody attacks around the globe, has also previously claimed certain attacks in a show of opportunism. Britain’s government has said the suspect was born in Britain and is asking the local media not to publish his name.
Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism. pic.twitter.com/LTLhgZ7OLQ
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 22, 2017
London Police have identified the attacker as Khalid Masood. He was 52-years-old and was born in the UK. Police say he was known by a number of aliases. “Masood was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack. 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,” police say in a statement.
Investigators say 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.
Prime Minister Theresa May did confirm the suspect had been investigated by MI-5 for extremist views in the past. Meantime, eight people have been taken into custody following overnight raids possibly linked to this attack.
Condolences pour in
Queen Elizabeth II says her “thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy” are with those affected by Wednesday’s attack in London.
The monarch says, “I know I speak for everyone in expressing my enduring thanks and admiration for the members of the Metropolitan Police Service and all who work so selflessly to help and protect others.”
She also sent a message of apology to London’s police force after plans to have her preside over the opening of the New Scotland Yard building were cancelled following the attack.
Meantime, a British lawmaker has choked back tears as he remembered his friendship with the police officer killed during yesterday’s attack on Parliament. His voice breaking, Conservative legislator James Cleverly called for Constable Keith Palmer to receive posthumous recognition for his “gallantry and sacrifice.”
He said he first met Palmer 25 years ago as “Gunner Keith Palmer” when both men served in the Royal Artillery. Cleverly said the 48-year-old police officer, stabbed to death by an attacker trying to enter Parliament, was “a strong, professional public servant and it was a delight to meet him again only a few months after being elected.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said Palmer had “paid the ultimate sacrifice here at the heart of our democracy” and that the suggestion of posthumous recognition would be considered.
The death toll stands at four and nearly 30 injured.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) March 23, 2017
Security concerns moving forward
Unlike many attacks in the past, this was seemingly carried out by a single person with a simple plan, making it the most difficult kind of terrorism to stop according to security expert David Hyde.
He believes the public has a role to play in stopping these kinds of tragedies in the future. “To identify people that may appear to be radicalized, people whose behaviour changes greatly who start to make radical and extreme pronouncements.”
Hyde adds the federal government will be watching this closely and expect to see heightened security over the next few days at our Parliament building because of the threat of copycat attacks.
Global Affairs say it is “closely monitoring developments” in the United Kingdom. It has also been in contact with local authorities and say, if needed, staff is ready to provide support to Canadians.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also spoken with Prime Minister May to offer support in the wake of the attack. “To express, obviously, our support and condolences to the people of the United Kingdom and specifically to the families and victims of this cowardly attack.”
He says Canada is also offering to help the UK with any intelligence assistance it may need as the investigation continues. Trudeau adds he also spoke with May about the attack on our Parliament in 2014, and the similar resolve shown by the British people in the wake of this violence.
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) March 23, 2017
Canadians in the UK requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the High Commission of Canada in London at +44 (0) 207 004 6000, or call the government’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre at +1 613 996 8885, or toll free at 00 800 2326 6831. An email can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canadians are encouraged to consult the Travel Advice page for the United Kingdom on Travel.gc.ca for up-to-date information on the situation.