London parliament attack levers security concerns

London parliament attack
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The London parliament attack on Wednesday is being treated as an act of terror by local officials, as the government building was put on lock-down and Prime Minister Theresa May was evacuated in a bullet proof Jaguar from the area following a spree of violence including stabbing and shooting.

London, along with the rest of the UK, has seen heightened security measures following global terror acts targeting holiday celebrations and other public gatherings. The UK also has more closed-circuit television (CCTV) coverage than most advanced nations, with nearly 5.9 million cameras now keeping a close watch over city streets and popular locations.

London police have updated the death toll in the attack at Westminster to five and identified the police officer killed as Keith Palmer, 48. Forty people were injured after a Hyundai Tucson car driven by the suspect drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.

London parliament attack : The Trail of Terror Across Westminster Bridge
Composite image by The New York Times based on aerial footage by CNN

The BBC reported that Palmer, a 15-year veteran, was part of the Met’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command.

Counter-terror detectives are continuing to search for clues about about how an armed attacker brought death and destruction to the streets of London on Wednesday.

Mark Rowley, Scotland Yard’s top anti-terror officer, confirmed that 40 people were injured after the attack – armed with two large knives -knocked down pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge then crashed at the gates in front of the Houses of Parliament, stabbing a plain-clothes policeman before he was shot dead by armed officers.

Dal Babu, former chief superintendent of London’s metropolitan police department, said in an interview with CNN that London was still considered “one of the safest cities in the world” despite Wednesday’s attack, as questions emerged surrounding citywide terrorism security measures.

The victims (list as of 23rd March)

Police Officer – Keith Palmer – stabbed

The police officer killed has been identified as 48-year-old Keith Palmer, a husband and father who was part of the parliamentary protection force.

Tributes have poured in from across the country for Palmer, who was unarmed and was stabbed to death just inside the vehicle entrance gates to the parliament.

He previously served in the British army alongside James Cleverly, now a Conservative MP, who tweeted: “A lovely man, a friend. I’m heartbroken.

Female pedestrian – Aysha Frade (UK National) – run down by car

British police said one of the victims run down and killed by the attacker was a woman in her mid-40s. According to a Spanish diplomatic source, she had a Spanish mother but was a British citizen.

Media reports said she was a 43 year-old mother of two and taught Spanish in London.

“She was under the wheel of a bus,” Colleen Anderson, a junior doctor at the nearby St Thomas’ Hospital said, without explaining how the victim came to be under the bus.

Male pedestrian – Kurt W. Cochran (US national) – run down by car

British police said the third victim was a man in his mid-50s.

75 year old pedestrian – run down by car

The list went from four to five when a 75 year old who was injured died at the hospital. The 75-year-old man was removed from life support on Thursday. Identity of this person is unknown at this time.

The “terrorist” : Khalid Masood (born Adrian Elms) – shot dead by police

Khalid Masood, aged 52 (25.12.1964), was born in Kent, UK.

Masood was investigated by MI5 for “violent extremism” but was ruled out as a threat by security services before being “re-radicalised”.

Eight suspected associates were arrested in raids in London and Birmingham. Last night it emerged that Masood was born Adrian Elms and is thought to have been radicalised in prison. His violent history began nearly 20 years ago, when he was jailed for slashing a man across the face in an argument which had “racial overtones” in 2000.

Masood used a rented Hyundai Tucson car to run down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing three of them, then proceeded to the gates of Parliament, where he fatally stabbed a police constable before being shot dead by the police.

Those who were injured

The injured on the Westminster bridge London parliament attack included several foreigners.

Police said 29 of around 40 people wounded were treated in hospital. Seven remained in a “critical condition” on Thursday.

Three French pupils from the western Brittany region on a school trip to London were among those hurt, including two who suffered broken bones but were not reported to be in life-threatening condition.

Five South Korean tourists (four women and a man) were also wounded after being knocked to the ground by people trying to flee as the assailant drove through pedestrians in a car, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.

A woman with serious injuries was rescued from the River Thames near Westminster Bridge after the attack. No mention was made of her name or nationality.

Other casualties include twelve British nationals,  two Greeks, two Romanians, and one citizen each from China, Germany, Ireland and Italy.

Co-incidence (?)

Wednesday’s London parliament attack marked the one-year anniversary of the coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium, targeting an airport in Zaventem and the Maalbeek metro station in central Brussels.

The UK’s international terror threat level was listed as “severe” by MI5 during Wednesday’s attack.

Report from various sources.

Photo by Aero Pixels