PM Says London Terror Suspect British-Born

British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the slain suspect in an attack at the British Parliament yesterday was British-born (Guardian) and previously investigated by security agencies for extremist views. May said the attack, the deadliest in the United Kingdom since subway bombings more than a decade ago, was “inspired by international terrorism” (WaPo) but likely carried out alone. The knife-wielding attacker, whose name has not been made public, was shot and killed after he killed three people, including a police officer. Forty people were injured as the assailant used a sport utility vehicle to run over pedestrians (NYT) before exiting the vehicle to attack the officer on foot. British police arrested eight people overnight (Al Jazeera) in raids across the country.


“The attack occurred on Parliament’s busiest day of the week, when the prime minister appears for her weekly questions session and the House of Commons is packed with visitors. The Palace of Westminster, the ancient seat of the British Parliament, is surrounded by heavy security, with high walls, armed officers and metal detectors. But just outside the compound are busy roads packed with cars and pedestrians. The attack—a low-tech, high-profile assault on the most potent symbol of British democracy—fits the profile of earlier strikes in major European capitals that have raised threat levels across the continent in recent years,” Karla Adam and Brian Murphy write for the Washington Post.

“The U.K. announced last year it was sharply increasing the number of police officers trained to handle firearms. More than 90 percent of police officers are unarmed, with only specialist firearms teams permitted to carry submachine guns and pistols capable of killing a hostile suspect. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said security would be reviewed to see whether arrangements at Parliament were adequate and whether police at the front gates should be armed,” Jenny Gross writes for the Wall Street Journal.

“The police and security services monitor about three thousand Britons, mainly Islamists, whom they regard as potentially capable of domestic terrorism. Of these, about five hundred are the subject of active investigations and only a limited number become the targets of physical surveillance. The Guardian understands the attacker was not one of them. He was regarded as posing so little threat that he did not even make the list of three thousand,” Jamie Grierson and Ewen MacAskill write for the Guardian.