British police conducted major raids and arrested seven people in connection with the attack outside Parliament that left four dead, including the man who mowed down pedestrians on a bridge and fatally stabbed an officer, a senior police official said Thursday.
Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said that he believed the attacker acted alone and was “inspired by international terrorism.”
Police searched six addresses, including some in the central city of Birmingham, and arrested seven people in connection with Wednesday’s attack by a knife-wielding man, Rowley said.
Rowley refused to give details about the attacker, who first struck pedestrians with an SUV on Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed a police officer on Parliament’s grounds. Police then killed the man.
The attacker has been identified and was known to British security, according to a British security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about ongoing security operations. He declined to name the man and to give any other details about his identity, nationality or hometown.
Rowley revised the death toll from five to four, including the attacker, the police officer and two civilians. He said that 29 people required hospitalization and seven of them were in critical condition. He also said that authorities were still working out the number of “walking wounded.” Police had previously given the total number of injured as around 40.
Rowley said investigations were continuing around Parliament, but he expected that lawmakers would be able to go ahead with plans to reconvene in a show of solidarity.
Parliament Square, Westminster Bridge and several surrounding streets remain cordoned off by police and scores of unarmed officers in bright yellow jackets were staffing the perimeter tape, guiding confused civil servants trying to get to work.
In Parliament’s New Palace Yard, a blue police tent was erected over the spot where the stabbing and shooting occurred, and two forensic officers worked at a trestle table nearby.
The House of Commons was due to resume sitting on schedule at 9:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. EDT), and a minute’s silence will be held in Westminster for the victims of the attack.
Mayor Sadiq Khan called for Londoners to attend a candlelit vigil at Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening in solidarity with the victims and their families and to show that London remains united.
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