London, Seven people were today arrested in raids by anti-terror officers across London and Birmingham after an “Islamist-related terrorism” attack on the British Parliament killed four people, including the attacker.
Scotland Yard Acting Deputy Commissioner and Head of Counter Terrorism Mark Rowley said the investigation was at a critical stage and the identity of the attacker was not being released as the ongoing investigation tries to piece together the suspect’s “motivations, his preparation and associates”.
“The inquiries in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country are continuing. 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 said.
Rowley confirmed that the victims were a mix of nationalities, and included a woman in her 40s and a man in his 50s.
“The latest figures I have are that there are currently four dead and 29 people were treated in hospital. The fourth man of course was the terrorist who was shot dead by armed police at the scene. We are still collating numbers of walking wounded and of those in hospital sadly seven of them are in a critical condition,” he said.
He urged the public to use their instincts and report anything suspicious, saying the Met Police will be working round the clock and all annual leave has been cancelled.
“We must not allow terrorists to create discord, distrust and fear. The police stand with all communities later today a meeting of faith leaders will be held here at New Scotland Yard,” Rowley said.
Overnight, West Midland Police officers stormed a second-floor flat in the city believed to be the residence of the knife-wielding attacker and led away people in handcuffs.
West Midlands Police referred all enquiries about the incident to the Metropolitan Police.
The attacker drove a car at top speed before stabbing a police officer at the gates of Parliament and being shot dead by Scotland Yard officers.
It has also emerged that the 4×4 car which the terrorist suspect used to ploughed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge was reportedly hired from Solihull area of Birmingham.
The flag at New Scotland Yard premises in London is flying at half-mast following the attack, which claimed the life of one of their officers PC Keith Palmer who was on guard at Parliament.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned “the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our capital”.
She said: “We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
The terror threat level in the UK remains “severe” as Scotland Yard’s Counter Terror Command has been leading the investigation into the attack.
MPs and peers are expected to return to Parliament as usual as an act of defiance.