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Armed Raids And Arrests Made In Relation To Westminster Terror Attack

23/03/2017 6:48 PM AEDT | Updated 24/03/2017 5:15 AM AEDT

LATEST: The so-called Islamic State group has said that the London attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State”.

Eight people have been arrested in London and Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts by detectives investigating the Westminster attack.

The three women and five men were held overnight and this morning, Scotland Yard said, as five people remain in critical condition and two have life threatening injuries after Wednesday’s attack left four people dead.

The attacker killed two people, a Spanish teacher and American tourist, as he drove a 4X4 down Westminster bridge before he fatally stabbed a police officer in the grounds of parliament and was fatally shot.

Those arrested are:

A 39-year-old woman was arrested at an address in east London on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts.

A 21-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man were arrested at an address in Birmingham.

A 26-year-old woman and three men aged 28, 27 and 26, were arrested at a separate address in Birmingham.

A 58-year-old man was also arrested this morning at a separate address in Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts.

Police are still searching a property in Carmarthenshire, three in Birmingham and one in east London.

 

Police originally said five people had died in the attack but revised this down to four.

Those who died were a woman in her 40s named as Aysha Frade, an American tourist called Kurt Cochran who was visiting with his wife, PC Keith Palmer and the attacker, named as 52-year-old Khalid Masood.

Speaking this morning, Theresa May confirmed those injured included 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, two Greeks, and one each from Germany, Poland, Ireland, China, Italy and the United States.

Three police officers were also hurt, two of them seriously.

Before Masood was named, May also said the attacker was a British citizen who was known to the police and security services.

She added he was a “peripheral” figure, adding: “He was not part of the current intelligence picture”.

Police said Masood had several convictions but none for terrorism. His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.

He “not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack”, police added.

Armed police swooped on a flat in Hagley Road in the Edgbaston area of Birmingham overnight.

The second floor flat and surrounding area were cordoned off.

PA
A police officer stand outside an address in Hagley Road, Birmingham, where armed police have raided a flat overnight.

A witness told the Press Association: “The man from London lived here. They came and arrested three men.”

Masood, armed with two large knives, mowed down pedestrians with a car on Westminster Bridge, including schoolchildren, then rushed at the gates in front of the Houses of Parliament, stabbing Palmer before being shot dead by other officers.

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Another view of the address under police guard.

Speaking outside Scotland Yard on Wednesday night, Mark Rowley, the Met’s senior anti-terror officer, said of PC Palmer: “Today in Westminster we saw tragic events unfold and our thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, those who were injured and all those affected by this attack.

“One of those who died today was a police officer, Pc Keith Palmer, a member of our parliamentary and diplomatic protection command. Keith, aged 48, had 15 years’ service and was a husband and father.

“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.”

PA WIRE/PA IMAGES
PC Keith Palmer.

It came as the Prime Minister vowed to defeat what she called “the forces of evil”.

Theresa May, who was in Parliament at the time of the attack, praised the bravery of police officers who killed the attacker as he sought another victim.

She said any attempt to defeat the values that Parliament stood for was “doomed to failure”.

PA Wire/PA Images
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster.

Paramedics fought to save Palmer’s life, and that of his attacker, on the floor of the cobbled courtyard in front of Parliament, with Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood among those who rushed to help

Ellwood, who lost his brother in the Bali bombing, could be seen pumping the officer’s chest then standing above him, his hands and face smeared with blood.

Armed officers, some in plain clothes and wearing balaclavas, swarmed around the yard just feet from where MPs had earlier attended Prime Minister’s Questions.

The knifeman drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings, then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster.

His attack left a trail of destruction as paramedics tended to victims on the bridge and at the gate.

One woman who fell into the Thames was rescued and given urgent medical treatment on a nearby pier.

A party of French schoolchildren were among those targeted on the bridge, with three injured.

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