The World Stands With London
Londoners are standing strong in the face of Wednesday’s attack on Westminster, with #WeAreNotAfraid trending on social media, even in the hours following the tragic attack.
Another arrest has been made in Birmingham following the senseless incident, in which Khalid Masood killed four people – PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, Kurt Cochran, and Leslie Rhodes – and injured at least 50.
A 30-year-old man was taken into custody on Sunday, while another man (also from Birmingham) remains in custody since his arrest on Thursday, and a woman is on police bail. Another nine people were questioned but released without charge.
What we know about the attacker
The latest reports from the BBC indicate that the 52-year-old attacker was born in Kent and had a criminal record, however the last arrest prior to Wednesday’s attack was in 2003.
Prime Minister Theresa May advised that while Masood had been "once investigated in relation to concerns about violent extremism" he was a "peripheral figure" and "not part of the current intelligence picture".
Links to Terrorism
“No direct link between [Masood] and Isis has been established,” Raffaello Pantucci, of the Royal United Services Institute, said. “But the group is trying to stamp its imprint on it anyway; it is jumping all over it.” This was reported by The Times today, relating to numerous YouTube videos which are being used as “recruitment tools” by Isis (ISIL) following Wednesday’s attack.
Masood is suspected to have had links to an extremist group some years ago, but had no prior arrests related to terrorism.
Authorities say that a WhatsApp message was sent from Masood’s mobile phone just minutes before the attack, and they believe this may hold more information regarding the motive.
What does the attack say about safety?
As we have said previously, lone attackers are the most difficult to predict or prevent, but this is still one attack among many more which have been prevented.
A total of 12 plots have been stopped in the past 18 months, according to Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, and the UK experiences far less terrorism than many countries in Europe and the rest of the world.
The Telegraph also pointed out in a report on Saturday that terrorism is affecting far fewer people in the UK now than it was in the 1980s.
What can we do?
Refusing to live in fear is, we believe, the best way we can respond to acts of terrorism. We must of course be alert and aware of what’s going on around us.
Speak to your family about the safest actions to take in case of a vehicle or other attack, at home and abroad, and be prepared at all times.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by Wednesday’s senseless attack, and with the friends and families of those we lost. #WeAreNotAfraid
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