The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the terror attack outside the U.K. Parliament in London on Wednesday that left three people dead and 29 injured. In a statement, a spokesperson for the terrorist group said the perpetrator was “a soldier of the Islamic State.”
More details emerged Thursday morning about the man who carried out the car and knife attack. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the suspect was a British citizen who was known to the intelligence services but not thought to be a serious threat.
As the investigation into the attack continues, police confirmed that they carried out raids on houses in London and Birmingham overnight, arresting eight people in connection with the incident.
Mark Rowley, acting deputy commissioner at the Metropolitan police, revised the total number of fatalities to three, after authorities initially stated that four victims had died from the attack.
Here’s what you need to know:
- May told Parliament that the attacker “acted alone,” and there was no reason to believe there would be imminent further attacks. The suspect had been investigated by MI5 “some years ago” for violent extremism, but May added: “He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic and he was not part of the current intelligence picture.”
- May added that the threat level in the U.K. would not be raised from “severe” after the attack. In a powerful statement, May said, “We are not afraid and our resolve will never waiver in the face of terrorism…. It is in millions of acts of normality that we find the best response to terrorism.”
- The attacker drove a car at high speed across Westminster Bridge in central London, mounting the pavement, killing and injuring pedestrians who couldn’t get out of his way in time. The car then rammed into the fence surrounding government buildings and the attacker ran toward the gate, fatally stabbing one police officer before armed police shot him dead on the grounds of the Parliament.
- 29 people remain in hospital, with seven of those said to be in a critical condition.
- Among those injured in the attack were 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, two Greeks, and one person each from Germany, Poland, Ireland, China, Italy, and the United States. Three police officers were also injured — two of them seriously.
- Overnight, police forces across the country made eight arrests following raids on homes in London, Birmingham and other parts of the country. According to the BBC, four of the arrests occurred at a single flat in Birmingham on Wednesday night.
- The identities of some of those killed are being made public. Keith Palmer, 48, was the policeman stabbed to death by the attacker at the gates to Westminster. Palmer, a married father, was a member of the Met’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command with 15 years of service as a police officer. May said he was “every inch a hero.” Aysha Frade, a teacher and mother of two, died after being struck by the attacker’s car on Westminster Bridge while she was walking home from school.
- A man from Utah celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary in London has also been confirmed dead. A spokesperson for the family of Kurt Cochran said: “Our family is heartbroken to learn of the death of our son-in-law, Kurt W. Cochran, who was a victim of Wednesday’s terrorist attack in London.”
- The attacker was shot and killed by an armed policeman.