Give the Brits credit for moving quickly when the situation demands it. NBC News is reporting that there have already been eight arrests following the attack near Parliament which left three people dead and many more grievously injured. (The first report included below has the number at seven, but another arrest was announced a brief time ago.)
Police made seven arrests overnight in connection with the terrorist attack near the U.K. Parliament that killed three people and left 29 others injured.
Six raids occurred in cities including Birmingham and London, according to officials. However, investigators said Thursday that they believed the culprit was a so-called “lone-wolf” attacker as opposed to a wider cell.
A knife-wielding terrorist plowed a 4×4 through people walking on Westminster Bridge before crashing the vehicle into the gates of the House of Commons. He scaled the fences and later fatally stabbed a policeman before being gunned down by officers.
It remains unclear what the precise relationship is between the suspect and the others who were arrested, but officials noted that they were checking into the attacker’s “connections” as part of the normal course of the investigation. Here’s a brief video of the statement put out by Scotland Yard.
Not all of the dead and injured were taken out by the terrorist. Aysha Frade, 43, is reported to have been struck and killed by a bus as she ran for cover. One of the injured, a woman who was in town to celebrate her boyfriend’s birthday, either fell or jumped from the bridge as the attack unfolded and plunged into the river, sustaining serious injury.
As to the attacker himself, the Prime Minister is saying that he was British born and law enforcement already had him on their radar, but he was considered a “peripheral figure.”
She said the British-born attacker was known to police and had previously been investigated by the security services “in relation to concerns about violent extremism” but that he had been seen as “a peripheral figure.”
May added: “He was not part of the current intelligence picture.”
As usual, the early reporting on this event turned out to be well off the mark. In the initial confusion there were reports of shots being fired leading to media speculation about how the attacker had gotten hold of a weapon in a nation with such restrictive gun laws. But it turned out that the shots which were heard were all fired by law enforcement taking him down after he fatally stabbed a police officer. The terrorist followed a pattern we’re seeing in too many places, carrying out his attack with only a vehicle and a knife.
Oddly enough, the new Mayor of London came out with a statement saying that London was one of the “safest cities in the world.”
“Today London suffered a horrific attack near Parliament Square which we are treating as a terrorist attack,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
“Our city remains one of the safest in the world. London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life,” he said. “We always have and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”
Look, I get that it’s the job of the Mayor to rally the citizens and bolster everyone’s spirits, but talking about how “safe” your city is while they are still dragging out bodies and rushing the injured into emergency rooms seems a bit off key. The fact is that Great Britain isn’t immune to the threat of Islamic terrorism any more than the rest of Europe. (Though they do have an advantage over France and Germany by virtue of being an island.) When the Mayor finishes patting himself on the back he may want to get down to the business of finding out how many more people are out there plotting in sympathy with ISIS and whoever else is trying to burn down civilization.