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Current Affairs ( 22 March 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

London Attack: Eight Held after Armed Police Raids

BBC News

23 March 2017


PC Keith Palmer stopped the attacker in his tracks. Aysha Frade would be deeply missed by all, the principal at the college said

Eight arrests have been made in raids in London, Birmingham and elsewhere following an attack in Westminster that left four dead, police have said.

Hundreds of detectives worked through the night, carrying out searches at six addresses, Acting Deputy Commissioner Mark Rowley said.

The dead are PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade who worked at a London college, a man in his 50s and the attacker.

Seven of the injured are still in hospital in a critical condition.

A further 29 had been treated in hospital, Mr Rowley added.

In the attack on Wednesday afternoon, a man drove a car along a pavement on Westminster Bridge knocking down pedestrians, creating panic and leaving dozens injured.

He then ran towards Parliament where he stabbed PC Palmer who was unarmed. Armed police then shot dead the attacker in the grounds.

Mrs Frade worked at a London sixth form college just a few hundred metres from Westminster Bridge.

Principal at DLD College, Rachel Borland, said she was "highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues".

'Every inch a hero'

In a statement to the House of Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacker had tried to silence democracy, saying it was an attack on free people everywhere.

Paying tribute to PC Palmer, she said: "He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten."

She revealed that the attacker, who acted alone, was British-born and was known to police and the intelligence services.

Some years ago he had been investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism, but he was a "peripheral figure" and was not part of the current intelligence picture, she said.

In a statement made outside Scotland Yard, Mr Rowley said seven arrests had been made - an eighth was announced several hours later.

"It is still our belief - which continues to be borne out by our investigation - that this attacker acted alone and was inspired by international terrorism.

"To be explicit, at this stage we have no specific information about further threats to the public."

He urged journalists not to publish the attacker's name while searches were continuing.

He said Londoners should expect to see more police officers on the streets, after officers' leave had been cancelled and duty hours extended.

It was initially thought that three members of the public had been killed on Westminster Bridge, but Mr Rowley referred to just two in his statement.

Director General of MI5 Andrew Parker condemned the attack as "appalling and disgusting".

The agency's operational response was "fully mobilised in support of the police", he said.

In other developments:

A witness told the Press Association that three men were arrested in an armed raid on a Birmingham address. The BBC understands this is linked to the London attack

There is an unconfirmed suggestion that the car used in the attack was hired from an address in Birmingham, BBC Newsnight says

Security at Parliament will be reviewed, says Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon

The flag over the Houses of Parliament is flying at half mast

MPs held a minute's silence before Parliament continued business as normal

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the "working assumption" was that the attack was linked to "Islamic terrorism in some form".

He paid tribute to Pc Palmer, a 48-year-old father and husband, and an unarmed member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Squad who had served for 15 years.

Pc Palmer stopped the attacker getting into Parliament and "gave his life for the democracy we all cherish", he told BBC Breakfast.

Asked about the mood of the city, Sir Michael said: "London is getting back to normal. They've seen terrorism like this before and they are not going to let it triumph."

Brendan Cox, the husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, said it was important to remember that "this was a story about people who didn't come home yesterday".

US President Donald Trump was among world leaders to offer their support to Mrs May, tweeting: "Spoke to UK Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London. She is strong and doing very well."

The Pope said in a letter to the Archbishop of Westminster that he had been "deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries" and "assured the nation of his prayers".

The carnage on Westminster Bridge and inside the grounds of Parliament is the attack that security chiefs here in the UK have long been preparing for.

Terrorism looks not just to kill and maim - but to create panic and such a sense of disorder that it rocks a city or nation to its foundations.

And this attacker sought to do so in as low-tech way as is possible.

The days when terrorism meant large, complex bombs and months of planning are gone: Western security agencies - particularly MI5 and its partner agencies - are very, very good at identifying those plots and disrupting them.

The longer it takes to plan such an attack, the more people who are involved, the more chances there will be for security services to learn what is going on.