Police have confirmed seven people remain critically ill after yesterday’s terror attack in London. Four people, including the attacker, died.
The death toll was revised downwards by one this morning, to four. These include the police officer Pc Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death, two members of the public and the atatcker himself.
Twenty-nine people are now confirmed as having been injured.
The Metropolitan Police’s senior anti-terror officer Mark Rowley asked the media to not identify the attacker at this stage. It has been confirmed that seven people were arrested at six addresses in police operations overnight and this morning. The raids took place in Birmingham, London and at other undisclosed locations.
Armed police have launched a late-night raid on an address in Birmingham after yesterday’s deadly attack in London in which four people died and 40 were injured.
The attacker, who it is believed acted alone, was shot dead by policeat the scene in London yesterday, and is numbered among the five fatalities. So is the police officer he stabbed to death, who has been named as 48-year-old father PC Keith Palmer.
West Midlands Police referred inquiries about the overnight operation on Hagley Road in Birmingham city to the Metropolitan Police, who refused to say whether it was connected with yesterday’s attack in Westminster.
But a witness who works nearby told the Press Association: “The man from London (the attacker) lived here.”
Officers stormed a second-floor flat above a row of shops on Hagley Road at around 11pm, the witness said.
He added: “They came and arrested three men.”
One of the flat’s windows was covered in cardboard, with non-uniformed officers spotted taking pieces of equipment into the property. As he was describing the events, the witness was interrupted by a police officer, who had been guarding the scene. He had his details taken and was convinced to go to a police station with another officer.
Meanwhile, police worked through the night to identify the roots of the deadly terror plot which brought bloodshed to the streets of London.
Sky News reports that South Korean consular officials have said five of their nationals were among the injured in the Westminster attack.
Three women and one man in their 50s and 60s suffered injuries including broken bones while another woman in her 60s suffered a head injury and has been in surgery. It is not known how seriously they were injured.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-Ahn says the South Korean government is focused on bringing those injured home safely. A group of French schoolchildren were also among those targeted on the bridge, with three injured.
Here are some of the key questions the investigation will seek to answer:
What was the background of the killer?
The identity of the knifeman who injured scores of pedestrians in a car before rampaging into the Palace of Westminster has yet to be made public. Detectives will probe the man’s background extensively to see if he was known to authorities.
If he was was not on the radar of security services, questions will be asked about why this was, but if he had been highlighted as a potential threat, this will likely be viewed as a major security failing.
If he was known to police, why was he not being closely monitored?
Counter-terrorism efforts are shared between the police – spearheaded by the Metropolitan Police – and GCHQ, MI5 and MI6. Round-the-clock monitoring is only possible on a handful of high-priority terror suspects due to limited resources, potentially meaning the Westminster attacker could have slipped through the surveillance net.
Top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley suggested the assailant could have been “inspired by international terrorism”, which will lead officers to scour for potential links overseas.
How many people were involved in planning and executing the attack?
It appears only one man directly carried out the bloody assault on Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, but others could have helped shape the plot.
A key focus of the investigation will be whether the man was inspired by a terror cell such as Islamic State – receiving support and funding either domestically or from abroad – or whether he was a so-called lone wolf.
How did the knifeman’s rampage penetrate the Palace of Westminster, the grounds of the UK Houses of Parliament?
Despite the Houses of Parliament being among the most closely guarded sites in the UK, the attacker managed to burst through the Carriage Gates.
It is usually manned by armed police and blocked by metal barricades, with barriers in place to stop vehicles advancing.
Described by MP Mary Creagh in reports as a “weak spot”, the access point is regularly opened to allow cars to pass in and out.
Why the gate was not firmly locked – especially after the car driven by the killer crashed into the nearby railings – will be a point of concern for detectives.
How did the attacker make it so deep into the grounds?
When he was fatally shot on the cobbled paths which feed into the Palace of Westminster, the terrorist had carried out an attack of significant breadth.
He had mowed down bystanders on the length of Westminster Bridge, crashed his vehicle, ran around the corner and into the Palace grounds, past a line of security. Many will be asking how his slaughter was able to continue as long as it did.