“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.