American tourist Keith Cochran died in the attack.
Yesterday, a man in an SUV mowed people down on Westminster Bridge before he drove into the perimeter fence at Parliament. The man exited the car and stabbed a police officer before other officers shot him down.
Overall, four people died, including the assailant and American Kurt Cochran.
Today, the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility while British officials arrested seven or eight in six raids across London and Birmingham. The authorities have identified the attacker as Khalid Masood, 52-years-old.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 23, 2017
Authorities identified the attacker yesterday, but only released his name this afternoon.
Khalid Masood, 52, was born in Kent and lived in the West Midlands. He had a wife and three children and taught English. He also recently converted to Islam.
Masood had numerous previous convictions and aliases. The police stated they had “no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack” and did not belong to any current investigations they have. Sky News continued:
Nevertheless, “he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences”.
The statement added: “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.
“Anyone with any information about Masood can call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.”
ISIS Takes Responsibility
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack today through its official media agency Amaq:
“The perpetrator of the attacks yesterday in front of the British Parliament in London is an Islamic State soldier and he carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the coalition,” the Amaq statement said.
As mentioned above, the authorities just released the name of the attacker as Khalid Masood. Earlier this morning, British Prime Minister Theresa May clarified that he was born in the United Kingdom and officials had investigated him before:
“Our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology,” she told members of Parliament. “We know the threat from Islamist terrorism is very real. But while the public should remain utterly vigilant, they should not and will not be cowed by this threat.”
British officials did not release the attacker’s identity or confirm a link with the Islamic State group, though May did say it would be wrong to describe the attack as “Islamic” extremism.
“It is Islamist terrorism,” she said. “It is a perversion of a great faith.”
Seven or Eight Arrested in Overnight Raids
Authorities conducted overnight raids in London and Birmingham, which led to seven or eight arrests. Some media outlets have reported seven arrests while others report eight took place. In Birmingham, located 126 miles north of London, police “raided a student flat” and arrested three people. The landlord of the apartment denied knowing who lived there and the agents did not release any information. Little is known about the other raids. But Acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police stressed that the attacker acted alone:
“It is still our belief, which continues to be borne out by our investigation, that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism,” he said, adding that inquiries extended beyond London and Birmingham and more arrests were expected.
“To be explicit, at this stage, we have no specific information about further threats to the public. Clearly our investigation is ongoing, developing all the time, and is focused on his motivation, his preparation and associates.”
May Addressed Members of Parliament This Morning
May addressed Members of Parliament this morning, promising that the country “will never waver in the face of terrorism.” From the BBC:
“Yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy, but today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.”
She told the MPs that the police and MI5 knew his identity and they believe he acted alone. She thanked friends from around the world, including President Donald Trump, for their kind words and support.
May also acknowledged and celebrated Foreign Officer minister Tobias Ellwood. He attempted “to save the life of PC [Keith] Palmer.” Ellwood gave Palmer CPR and tried to stop the blood flow from his knife wounds. Unfortunately, Palmer passed away.
The attacker killed three people and injured over 40 more. The victims are Officer Keith Palmer, mother Aysha Frade, and American Kurt Cochran.
— KTLA (@KTLA) March 23, 2017
Cochran and his wife Melissa were in London to celebrate their anniversary. Cochran worked as an engineer, but music remained his passion and owned a studio. Customers constantly flooded his studio’s Facebook page with excellent reviews. Melissa is in the hospital recovering from a broken leg and rib. His friend Shantell Payne left this message on Facebook:
“With a heavy heart I must pass the sad news of our beautiful brother, father, husband, son and friend Kurt Cochran.
“He could not overcome the injuries he received in the London terror attacks.
“This pain is so heart wrenching and raw it has rocked our family and all that knew him to its core.
“We will miss Kurt beyond words.
“We love you Kurt. RIP.
— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) March 23, 2017
Ayasha Frade, a married mother of two, had left her job at a college near the bridge. She taught Spanish and served as the department head. Principal Rachel Borland released this statement:
“We are all deeply shocked and saddened at the news that one of the victims yesterday was a member of our staff, Aysha Frade. All our thoughts and our deepest sympathies are with her family. We will be offering every support we can to them as they try to come to terms with their devastating loss.
“Aysha worked as a member of our administration team at the college. She was highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues. She will be deeply missed by all of us.”
— The Sun (@TheSun) March 23, 2017
Officer Keith Palmer worked for the department for 15 years after he served in the armed forces. Palmer attempted to stop the attacker from entering Parliament grounds, suffering from numerous knife wounds before armed police could shoot down the attacker.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, MP James Cleverly, and senior anti-terror officer Mark Rowley led the tributes for Palmer:
Paying tribute to the officer, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “Keith Palmer was killed while bravely doing his duty – protecting our city and the heart of our democracy from those who want to destroy our way of life.
“My heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues.
“He personifies the brave men and women of our police and emergency services who work around the clock to keep us safe – tonight all Londoners are grateful to them.”
“I’ve known Keith for 25 years. We served together in the Royal Artillery before he became a copper. A lovely man, a friend. I’m heartbroken,” Mr Cleverly said.
“My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of PC Keith Palmer. A brave man.”
“He was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift – and he had every right to expect that would happen,” Mr Rowley said.
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