An investigation is under way after four people died and around 40 were injured in an attack in Westminster in central London on Wednesday afternoon. The police have said they are treating the attack as terrorism. Join us for further developments and reaction.
- Police name attacker as Kent-born Khalid Masood
- The three victims named; 29 injured treated in hospital
- Isis reportedly claims responsibility
- Eight people arrested overnight in London, Birmingham and other parts of the UK
- Authorities in Antwerp appear to have foiled a similar attack
Good morning. We will be updating the live blog throughout the day as the police investigation continues and we learn more about the nature of yesterday’s attack and the casualties.
If you are working or travelling in central London today, know that buses are disrupted around Westminster and Westminster station remains closed for entry and exit. You can still change trains at the station.
Transport for London has said that bus tickets will be accepted on the London Underground within Zone 1 “via any reasonable route”.
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Theresa May, the prime minister, is set to make a statement to the Commons later following Wednesday’s terrorist attack. Flags at the Palace of Westminster are flying at half mast this morning. Parliamentary tours and school visits have been cancelled, but the public gallery overlooking the Commons chamber is still open. MPs are likely to mark the killings in Wednesday’s attack with a moment’s silence.
For those of you who went to bed early last night in London, acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Mark Rowley last updated the public at around 10:30pm.
In his statement, he identified the police officer who died on the parliamentary estate as PC Keith Palmer. Mr Palmer was 48 years old and married with children.
Commander Rowley also confirmed that three members of the public had died and around another 40 people were injured, including three police officers. Two of the injured police officers were in a “serious condition” as of last night.
The Met have published the full statement:
The front pages of the other UK newspapers all include pictures of the scene at the Palace of Westminster yesterday.
Via the BBC’s Neil Henderson:
The Sun: Maniac Who Knifed Britain in the Heart
Daily Mail: Day terror came to Westminster
The Scotsman: Terrorist kills four in attacks on Parliament
Daily Mirror: Attack on Democracy
Daily Telegraph: We will never allow evil to drive us apart
The Times: Assault on Westminster
Guardian: Terror in Westminster
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A BBC correspondent is reporting from outside a flat in Birmingham raided on Wednesday evening. The BBC says eye witnesses said three people were taken away for questioning. The operation happened at around 11pm, with the street cordoned off. West Midlands Police referred press inquires to Scotland Yard. The BBC also reported the vehicle used in the attack at Westminster was believed to have been hired in Solihull, a town in greater Birmingham
The Press Association also reported the raids in Birmingham:
The London force refused to comment on the raid’s connection to the bloody assault on Westminster, but one witness told the Press Association: “The man from London lived here.”
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that they searched six addresses overnight and made seven arrests in connection to the investigation in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country.
The police also confirmed that 29 people were treated in hospital in connection with the attack, saying that 7 remain in hospital in “critical condition”.
The Metropolitan Police have posted a video of the full statement from acting deputy commissioner Mark Rowley here:
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Rowley did not identify any more of those who died, but said that in addition to PC Keith Palmer and the attacker, there was a woman in her mid-40s and a man in his mid-50s who were killed in the attack.
He also said some police leave has been cancelled and duty rosters increased as part of the police operation.
One important clarification: it now appears that four, not five, people died yesterday.
Mr Rowley said in his statement this morning that four people had died in the incident: PC Keith Palmer, a woman in her 40s, a man in his 50s and the attacker.
This marked a downward revision from Wednesday night, when Mr Rowley said that five people had died in the attack, including three members of the public.
Sir Michael Fallon, defence secretary, has been speaking to various media outlets this morning, saying there will be a review of security at the Palace of Westminster, including arrangements at Carriage Gates.
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More from Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary:
He told the BBC’s Today programme:
“London has seen this before and is taking this on the chin, and I do want to reassure you that the police and security forces are doing everything possible to make sure that people can go about their daily life as safely as possible”.
He said the “working assumption” is the attack is “linked to islamic terrorism in some form”. But he described the attacker as a “lone wolf” who used “things from daily life a vehicle, a knife,” which he said made such an attack “much more difficult to forestall”.
“So we’re dealing with an enemy, a terrorist enemy that is not making demands or holding people hostage but simply wants to kill as many people as possible. So this is a new element to international terrorism.”
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With some reports saying PC Palmer, the murdered policeman, was unarmed, there are questions whether officers guarding Westminster should carry firearms in future. But Yvette Cooper, the Labour MP who chairs the Commons home affairs select committee, said those judgments should be made by the expert security staff.
She told Sky News: “I don’t think it’s right for MPs to be second-guessing those judgments”
Sir Michael Fallon told the BBC earlier that “London is going to work this morning”.
The FT’s Malcolm Moore took this picture of London’s Waterloo Station during the morning rush hour, saying he “counted six policemen instead of the usual two on south end of concourse”, but there were “no visible weapons” and commuters seemed to be going about their day as normal.
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London mayor Sadiq Khan has said London is resilient and would not be cowed by such attacks. He told Sky News the terrorists wanted to divide communities:
“They hate the fact that here in London Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, those who are members of an organised faith and those who aren’t, don’t simply tolerate each other. We respect each other, we celebrate each other, we embrace each other.”
The House of Commons is set to resume at 9:30am this morning, with a one-minute silence to be held at 9:33am, following the morning prayers.
Arj Singh from the PA posted this picture of the notices being displayed on the parliamentary estate.
The Met has also called for a minute of silence to be observed across London at the same time.
A vigil has also been planned for 6pm in London’s Trafalgar Square.
The Mayor invites all Londoners – and everyone visiting our city – to come together in solidarity to remember those who have lost their lives, to express sympathy with their families and loved ones and to show the world that we are more committed than ever to the values that we hold dear – that we remain united and open.
The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents more than 30,000 police officers in and around London, has been tweeting this morning.
They said that their chairman, Ken Marsh, has visited three injured police officers in the hospital and “says they are in a stable condition”.
They also shared this photo, encouraging people to talk to their local police officers.
The FT’s political correspondent Kate Allen sends this report from the House of Commons this morning:
Westminster was eerily quiet on Thursday morning as politicians and parliamentary staff filtered back into the Palace of Westminster. Whitehall, Parliament Square and part of Millbank are closed as part of an extensive security cordon, with enhanced security procedures for those entering the complex of buildings.
There is a heavy police presence throughout the area. In an early sign of normality beginning to return after yesterday’s dramatic events, coffee bars and restaurants within the parliamentary estate were open as normal.
MPs are preparing to pay tribute to those who died in the incident in a debate in the Commons chamber from 9.30am. The debate will start after Parliament’s usual daily opener: a short prayer.
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West Midlands Police say the arrests overnight in Birmingham were “intelligence-led” and add there is no immediate risk to public safety.
It has just released this statement:
Following the terrible incidents in London yesterday, our thoughts are with those who have been affected.
Overnight our colleagues from the Metropolitan Police have searched a number of addresses across the country and have made a number of arrests in connection with the incident, including addresses in Birmingham.
The arrests and searches were intelligence led and there was no immediate risk to public safety. We would like to reassure our communities that we have extra officers out on patrol throughout the next few days to offer reassurance and address any concerns you may have. We are keen to stress that this additional security is not based on any new or emerging intelligence.
The security threat level nationally remains unchanged at Severe meaning an attack is highly likely. As ever the public are urged to remain alert and not alarmed. Everyone is advised to be vigilant and to report any concerns to the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321. In an emergency, always dial 999.
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who leads on counter terrorism for the force, said: Suspicious activity is anything that seems out of place, unusual or just doesn’t seem to fit in with day-to-day life – Let us decide if it is important.
“We work tirelessly to counter terrorism. Our absolute priority is to ensure the safety and security of the people who live, work and visit the West Midlands area.
“Our policing tactics and security measures are being reviewed on a daily basis – we, along with our partners, are working around the clock to keep Birmingham and our other cities as safe as can be.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has returned to the House of Commons this morning, where she is expected to make a statement at 10:30am on the attacks.
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Senior police officers pay their tributes this morning at the “eternal flame” memorial at New Scotland Yard to all police officers who have “lost their lives in the service of the Metropolitan Police”.
Here are two more images:
The FT’s Kate Allen has sent this update from the House of Commons:
The House of Commons resumed on Thursday morning with a minute’s silence before international trade secretary Liam Fox answered departmental questions.
In a short tribute to PC Palmer and his colleagues before he answered the first question, Mr Fox said that “decency must prevail”.
A series of backbenchers proceeded to offer their own expressions of condolence and appreciation, when called upon to pose their trade questions.
“Such acts of savagery against the innocent can never be excused by creed or religion,” Mr Fox said.
Prime minister Theresa May will make a statement to the House at 10.30.
Allen reported that the public gallery in the chamber was almost empty, as public access to parliament is still limited.
The FT’s Nathalie Thomas reports from Edinburgh that a debate on calls for a second Scottish independence referendum has now been postponed until Tuesday.
The debate was first suspended yesterday afternoon after the severity of events in Westminster became clear.
Earlier we reported that commuters in London are going about their daily routines largely unaffected by today’s events. It appears it is also business as usual at the capital’s airports.
Via the FT’s Robert Wright, a spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said:
“The safety and security of our passengers and colleagues is our top priority. The police have a permanent and effective presence at Heathrow and we will continue to work closely with them and government authorities to remain vigilant and to respond to any changes in the security situation.”
The FT’s Peter Spiegel was at Heathrow Airport this morning and noted that while “nothing was out of the ordinary” in London, he had been subject to more checks than usual at Tegel in Berlin.
The Met have made another arrest in connection with the attack, bringing the total number of arrests up to eight.
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This is an image of Cressida Dick, the incoming Met commissioner, commiserating with senior colleagues at today’s event
This was one of her first public appearances since her appointment in mid February.
In addition, this is her message to staff issued last night:
“One of our officers died protecting the public and Parliament. We will never forget his courage.
“My deepest sympathy is with his family and with the loved ones of everyone who lost their lives.
“My thoughts too are with the members of the public and our officers who were injured as well as those people affected by these appalling events.
“As many Parliamentarians have noted, our officers ran towards danger to do their jobs. We are indebted to their bravery.
Andrew Parker, director general of MI5, has released the following statement.
Via the FT’s defence and security editor Sam Jones:
“The thoughts of the men and women of MI5 are with the families of those killed in Westminster yesterday, and with the other innocent people injured in this appalling and disgusting attack. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our police colleagues, grieving at their loss while also applauding the professional excellence of their response.
“As acting deputy commissioner Rowley said, the security community prepares for such awful events – while working tirelessley to prevent them. The MI5 operational response is fully mobilised in support of the police.
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This is the striking image of police forensic experts combing the area at Carriage Gates, Westminster where Wednesday’s attack occured.
Prime Minister Theresa May is now addressing the House of Commons.
Mrs May has confirmed that those injured include people from:
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The prime minister said: “Yesterday an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy.”
She described it as “an attack on free people everywhere,” adding that what happened in Westminster “sickened us all”.
The PM has confirmed the attacker was British born, and previously investigated by the police but “not part of the current intelligence picture”. He has not yet been named.
Mrs May says the police have foiled 13 terror plots in the UK since June 2013.
Mrs May also confirmed that eight arrests were made overnight in London and Birmingham, although authorities believe the assailant acted alone.
Tobias Ellwood, the foreign office minister who tried to save the life of policeman Keith Palmer on the scene of yesterday’s attack, was in the House of Commons for Mrs May’s statement.
From the FT’s Kate Allen:
Mrs May also paid tribute to those who responded to the attack and came to the aid of victims, including one of her government ministers Tobias Ellwood.
Mr Ellwood, a former army officer who now works with Boris Johnson at the Foreign Office, gave CPR to PC Palmer as he lay dying.
Mr Ellwood was present in the chamber as the prime minister spoke; when she mentioned him, he bowed his head and looked grave as colleagues called out “hear, hear”.
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Mrs May has just confirmed the attacker was known to police and MI5, but he would not be identified until it was operationally appropriate.
What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic. He was not part of the current intelligence picture. There was no prior intelligence of his intent or of the plot. Intensive investigations continue.
French Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault is present in the House of Commons, where he has been welcomed by speaker John Bercow.
Multiple media reports suggest that the woman in her 40s who died on Westminster Bridge yesterday was Aysha Frade, a teacher in London who had family in the Spanish town of Betanzos.
The FT’s Tobias Buck reports from Madrid that Frade’s identiy has been confirmed by the mayor of Betanzos to various Spanish media outlets:
She had British nationality but she has close family ties to Betanzos, a small town in the north-eastern region of Galicia. Her two older sisters run a language academy there.
Ramon García, the mayor of Betanzos, told the El Mundo daily. “We are all very upset…This is a small town and here we all know each other.”
Frade was 43 years old and the head of the Spanish department at DLD College, a language school in London. The FT’s Helen Warrell reports that DLD College has also confirmed Frade’s death.
The Metropolitan Police have said that PC Keith Palmer died in the attack, along with an unnamed woman in her 40s and an unnamed man in his 50s. The attacker was shot dead by police.
The BBC reports that the car used in yesterday’s attack was a rental vehicle.
The Metropolitan Police Federation has already raised more than £5,000 for the family of PC Keith Palmer.
The Metropolitan Police Federation are raising money for the family of PC Keith Palmer, the Police Officer who tragically gave his life on 22 March 2017 as he guarded the Palace of Westminster from what is believed to have been a terrorist attack.
You can see the fundraising page on JustGiving here.
A succession of MPs entering and leaving the Commons chamber paused to
speak to Mr Elwood, with many offering him a hug or a pat on the back, reports the FT’s Kate Allen.
James Cleverly, a Tory backbencher who knew the dead police officer,
paid an emotional tribute to him.
He met PC Palmer 25 years ago when they both served in the army and Mr
Cleverly said he had been “delighted” to meet him again when he became
Mr Cleverly called on the prime minister to give PC Palmer a
posthumous award for his bravery.
The Queen has just issued a statement:
Following the shocking events in Westminster, Prince Philip and I are sorry that we will not be able to open the New Scotland Yard building as planned today, for very understandable reasons. I look forward to visiting at a later date.
My thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy are with all those who have been affected by yesterday’s awful violence.
I know I speak for everyone in expressing my enduring thanks and admiration for the members of the Metropolitan Police Service and all who work so selflessly to help and protect others.
More from parliament today, where the sombre mood has also been one of solidarity, says the FT’s Jim Pickard:
The Commons dropped its usual partisan backbiting as MPs from all political parties paid solemn tribute to the bravery of the police and NHS workers from St Thomas Hospital.
Both Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and Ed Miliband, former Labour leader, said that Mrs May had spoken for the entire country in her response to Wednesday’s terrorist incident.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, hailed the bravery of Keith Palmer and said minister Tobias Ellwood deserved “special commendation” for trying to save the policeman’s life.
Mr Corbyn was among many to condem the “poison and division of hatred” that inspired such crimes.
Dominic Grieve, chair of the joint intelligence and security committee, said it was a miracle that similar attacks had not happened in previous years. The Tory MP said Parliament must be resolute and defeat “evil” with rational, democratic principles: “There are no short cuts to enable us to do that.”
Sir Peter Bottomley, another Conservative MP, said the lesson from the murder of his colleague Airey Neave a generation ago was not to blame any community for attacks by one individual.
We have received a report that there is significant police activity near the US Embassy in London (below), with streets closed to traffic and officers telling workers in nearby office buildings to stay inside and away from windows. One office worker also reported hearing helicopter activity overhead.
We will report more information as we receive it.
The Gherkin building in the City of London was evacuated earlier this morning amid reports of a fire, but employees there have since returned to work.
Update on police activity near US Embassy in London
Our source tells us the security alert in the Mayfair district of London near the US Embassy on Grovesnor Square appears to be over. Police have re-opened the streets to pedestrians though not vehicles as yet.
London is on high alert so false alarms are to be expected.
Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, has invited people to join him tonight for a candlelit vigil.
The area around yesterday’s attack is gradually being reopened. Here’s the latest update from Transport for London.
The FT’s Kate Allen reports from the chamber of the House of Commons:
The leader of the House of Commons David Lidington has just given MPs
some practical notices, at the end of the debate on the attacks.
Security checks have been stepped up and public access to Parliament
has been temporarily limited, he said.
Staff and those working in Parliament can access counselling and
support at the Parliamentary health and wellbeing service, he reminded
Books of condolence have been opened in the MPs’ library, the Royal
Gallery in the House of Lords and in Westminster Hall.
The 13th century chapel in the Palace of Westminster will be open all
day for prayers and reflection, and short services will be held by
Parliament’s chaplain at 12.30, 3 and 6pm.
The FT’s political editor, George Parker, sent this download a little earlier from the lobby briefing following Theresa May’s statement to parliament earlier:
The prime minister’s official spokesman said Theresa May believed the police and intelligence services had all the powers they need to tackle this kind of incident – ie no new laws are needed
The spokesman confirmed attacker was “not part of the current intelligence picture” and that there was “no prior intelligence of his intent” but refused to comment when asked if this amounted to an intelligence failure.
He also declined to say exactly how long ago the attacker was under surveillance, refusing to go beyond “some years ago”..also no comment on what exactly he was being watched for or what “peripheral figure” means.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has issued a statement on yesterday’s attack.
Above all, we stand in solidarity with London – a vibrant, diverse, wonderful city that will never be cowed by mindless acts of violence.
Isis has reportedly claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack, according to the Amaq news agency.
Amaq has frequently been the outlet used by Isis to make such claims regarding terror incidents in the past. We’ll bring you more on that once we have it.
Here is a translation of the statement from Amaq:
“The person who implemented the attack yesterday in front of the British parliament in London was a soldier of the Islamic State and he executed the operation in response to the calls to target the sponsors of the international coalition.”
It’s worth noting that claims of responsibility – such as those often made via Amaq – are very hard to substantiate, if not impossible. Investigators have yet to make any such links.
Isis’ claim in context
Erika Solomon, the FT’s Middle East correspondent, offers this context on Isis claiming responsibility for the London attack:
Isis has regularly claimed attacks carried out by assailants whose links to the group are tenuous at best, arguing that they are in response to calls by its leaders for sympathizers to attack governments that have joined the US-led international coalition fighting the jihadi group.
Some assailants have indeed been found to have had communication with Isis, while most are found to have made claims of sympathising with the group. But few since the Brussels and Paris attacks have appeared to have clear, direct links or support from Isis.
Right-wing reaction across Europe
Right-wing politicians across Europe have seized on the attack in London to argue their case for stronger border controls and limits of immigration.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front who is in a tight race for the French presidency, told BFM TV and RMC radio earlier:
The problem we have nowadays is this form of low-cost terrorism . . . we must control our borders.
Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydlo, drew a link with the European Union’s migrant policy, saying the assault vindicated Warsaw’s refusal to take in refugees.
It is worth remembering that the UK government has confirmed the as yet unnamed attacker was British-born.
Paul Nuttall, the leader of the British eurosceptic anti-immigration party UKIP, addressed the issue of so-called “home-grown jihadis”. The Press Association reports:
Speaking near Parliament, Ukip leader Paul Nuttall said the country must ensure there was no “knee-jerk” reaction after the “evil” attack and called on people to “come together and ensure that we move on forward”.
He said he was “horrified” by the “act of insanity”, but said that Muslim communities had to “do more to root out this cancer of radicalisation”.
Mr Nuttall said that “we have to do something about people who will be returning from Syria”, who he said should not be allowed back into the UK. However, he added: “Let’s be frank about this, only a tiny fragment of the Muslim community in this country are radicalised – probably 1% – so the majority should not be blamed for the actions of one lunatic.
The Press Association says that Westminster Bridge is back open.
There are reports that authorities in the Belgian port city of Antwerp have foiled a possible terror attack. The Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, reports on its website that a man has been arrested after military personnel prevented a car he was driving from entering the city’s busiest street after it went through a red light. Reports suggest police discovered guns and explosives in the vehicle, which had French number plates, after it was stopped on the corner of Sint-Michielskaai.
Westminster station has re-opened, according to Transport for London.
It had been closed since yesterday afternoon, but had re-opened for interchange access only yesterday evening.
As we previously reported, Westminster Bridge has also re-opened to traffic, and TfL has also said that many of the other road closures are no longer in place.
The FT’s George Parker has got confirmation from government insiders of reports elsewhere that it was members of the security detail assigned to defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon (pictured below leaving Downing Street earlier) who shot the attacker on the grounds of the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British parliament. This raises questions about where the usual armed police guards were, who are normally in the vicinity of the main gate. Fallon’s bodyguards were only there because he was in the Commons at the time, voting.
Update on events in Antwerp
We have a bit more on the situation in Antwerp from the FT’s Jim Brunsden in Brussels:
Belgian state media are reporting that a possible terrorist suspect has been arrested in Antwerp after trying to drive his car through the town’s pedestrianised city centre at high speed.
According to public broadcaster RTBF, weapons and military fatigues were found in his car after it was stopped by police this morning.
Antwerp’s mayor, Bart De Wever, is set to give further details at a press conference this afternoon. Mr De Wever took to Twitter to state his “gratitude on behalf of all Antwerp to the soldiers that have intervened, the police services and the rapid response team.”
A spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office told the FT that it is still gathering details of the incident to see if there is any link to terrorism.
RTBF newspaper reported that the car tried to get into the pedestrianised area, known as Le Meir, at around 11am local time this morning. Le Soir newspaper said that a chase ensued with police before the car was stopped by the military.
The driver of the car has been arrested. There are no reports of possible injuries at this stage.
More from Antwerp
Authorities in Antwerp have just held a brief press conference confirming what the FT’s Jim Brunsden filed below. Additionally, the authorities have said that a man of North African origin is under arrest. Pedestrians were forced to jump out of the way as the suspect drove his car at high speed down Le Meir, the pedestrianised area of the city. The police said the vehicle was spotted by a military patrol which tried to stop it but it sped off. The military then alerted the police who sent out a rapid response unit and intercepted the vehicle. Weapons and other suspicious items were found in the vehicle. No-one was hurt.
Belgium authorities name Antwerp suspect
A bit more from the FT’s Jim Brunsden:
The Belgian federal prosecutor has taken over the case, which only happens in Belgium in case of a serious crime or act of terrorism.
Local media are reporting the prosecutor’s office have issued a statement in which they name the driver who was arrested as Mohamed R, a French national, born on May 8 1977. The events happened at around 10:45am local time this morning.
The statement said:
Various weapons were found in the boot, including knives, a riot gun and a container with an unknown substance inside.
Going by the information available at this stage and taking into account what happened yesterday in London, it has been decided to hand the dossier to the federal prosecutor’s office.
We have this picture of Belgian police and the bomb-disposal squad attending the scene in Antwerp:
We have the name of one of the victims of yesterday’s attack in London confirmed. Aysha Frade (pictured below) worked at a college in London and was reportedly on her way to pick up her children from school.
The principal of DLD College, Rachel Borland, issued this statement:
“We are all deeply shocked and saddened at the news that one of the victims yesterday was a member of our staff, Aysha Frade. All our thoughts and our deepest sympathies are with her family. We will be offering every support we can to them as they try to come to terms with their devastating loss.
“Aysha worked as a member of our administration team at the college. She was highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues. She will be deeply missed by all of us.”
No other details have been confirmed but other reports said she was a 43-year-old British woman who was married with two children. She had a Spanish mother and a father of Cypriot origin.
Other media outlets have named the third victim of the attack yesterday. He was US tourist Kurt Cochran (pictured below) from Utah.
The BBC have a statement from his family, which reads:
Our family is heartbroken to learn of the death of our brother — and son-in-law — Kurt W. Cochran. Kurt was a good man and a loving husband to our sister and daughter, Melissa.
They were in Europe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, and were scheduled to return to the United States on Thursday. Melissa also received serious injuries in the attack, and is being cared for in the hospital.
Three people were murdered by the attacker, including police constable Keith Palmer, who challenged the assailant as he tried to force his way into parliament.
Donald Trump, the US president, has tweeted his condolences to the family and friends of the US tourist Kurt Cochran, who was one of the three victims of the attack in London.
For those who can’t access Twitter it reads: A great American, Kurt Cochran, was killed in the London terror attack. My prayers and condolences are with his family and friends.
Police name man they believe is London attacker
The Metropolitan Police have just issued this statement:
The man police believe to be responsible for the terrorist attack in Westminster yesterday, Wednesday, 22 March, has now been formally identified as Khalid Masood.
Masood, aged 52 (25.12.1964), was born in Kent and detectives believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands. Masood was also known by a number of aliases.
Masood was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack.
However, he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.
His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.
He has not been convicted for any terrorism offences.
The full statement is here
Below is a photo of the attacker being treated by ambulance crew after he was shot
More on the US victim
The FT’s Anna Nicolaou has a bit more detail on Kurt Cochran, who was murdered in London yesterday, and his wife Melissa, who was seriously injured.
Kurt Cochran and his wife, Melissa, (pictured together below) had come from Bountiful, Utah, to Europe to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. The couple were in London visiting Melissa’s parents, who are missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and had planned to return to the US today.
“Our family is heartbroken to learn of the death of our brother and son-in-law,” said Clint Payne, Melissa’s brother. “We ask for privacy as our family mourns and as Melissa recovers from her injuries”.
Melissa Cochran is now in the hospital with “serious injuries”. Her parents asked the Church to distribute their message.
Details of survivor pulled from the Thames
The FT’s Balkans correspondent Andrew Byrne in Budapest has spoken to the Romanian ambassador to London about the woman who was rescued from the river Thames yesterday after she either jumped or fell from Westminster Bridge (pictured below).
She has been identified as Andreea Christea, a 29-year old Romanian architect who was visiting London and is now in a critical condition following surgery. Romania’s ambassador to London told the Financial Times that Ms Christea was alive but seriously injured and had been transferred to St. Bartholomew’s hospital this morning.
“She is still in a critical condition; she has undergone surgery on the brain to remove a blood clot. It’s a complicated and risky procedure but it was a success and now she is stable,” Dan Mihalache said by telephone. “My staff is there in the hospital and monitoring the situation. The biggest issue is that she is suffering serious lung problems,” he said.
It’s unknown whether Ms Christea was directly struck by the attacker’s car when it drove into a group of pedestrians on Westminster bridge, or whether she fell while trying to avoid a collision. Mr Mihalache said Ms Christea’s boyfriend Andrei Burnaz was also injured during the attack. Mr Burnaz had planned to propose to his girlfriend during their visit to London marking his birthday.
“They were tourists that came to celebrate his birthday – he wanted to propose to her today. They were simply tourists.”
May visits victims of attack in hospital
The FT’s Kate Allen has more on the prime minister’s recent schedule:
Theresa May has paid a visit to a London hospital to meet victims of the attack and the staff who are treating them. Mrs May spent 40 minutes there and thanked staff for their hard work according to her official spokesman.
Downing St refused to give further details of the event. Victims including injured police officers are being treated in several hospitals around the capital. The prime minister has also visited Westminster Hall where many parliamentary staff took refuge yesterday to sign a book of condolence that has been set up there.
Mrs May has received a series of calls from world leaders in the aftermath of the attack. President Trump called her last night according to Downing St. Other leaders who have spoken to her in the past 24 hours include Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Justin Trudeau, President Erdogan of Turkey, the King of Jordan and Jean Claude Juncker.
Mrs May attended her regular meeting with the Queen on Wednesday
evening at around 6pm, Downing St has revealed. A spokesman declined
to reveal the subjects that were discussed but said it was a “routine”
Family pays tribute to Keith Palmer, the murdered police officer
The family of the Keith Palmer, who died preventing the attacker from getting inside Westminster Palace, have issued a statement via the Metropolitan Police. Here’s an excerpt:
Keith will be remembered as a wonderful dad and husband. A loving son, brother and uncle. A long-time supporter of Charlton FC. Dedicated to his job and proud to be a police officer, brave and courageous.
A friend to everyone who knew him. He will be deeply missed. We love him so much. His friends and family are shocked and devastated by his loss and ask that they are left to grieve alone in peace.
A tribute from a colleague of PC Keith Palmer
PC James Aitkenhead, who had worked alongside the murdered officer said:
Keith was a genuinely nice person; nobody had a bad word to say about him. When I heard what had happened I knew it would be him because that’s just the sort of guy he was, to step straight in when others might step back.
He had a great work ethic, he worked on our warrants’ car for years, getting up at 4am to serve warrants and arresting wanted offenders. He was always so positive, always staying late after everyone else and getting in early.
In his personal life he was a massive Charlton Athletic fan and had a season ticket.
We will miss him so much.
Candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square
Transport for London is warning of road closures as Londoners hold a candlelit vigil in Trafalgar Square this evening. London Mayor Sadiq Khan will attend the event, which starts at 6pm.
Meanwhile, other cities have been showing solidarity with the victims of the London attack. Authorities in Berlin have illuminated the Brandenburg Gate with the colours of the British flag
More details on arrests and injured from the Met
The Metropolitan Police have just issued a statement given more details of the arrests overnight and this morning. In total, eight people have been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences.
Seven of those, five men and two woman, were arrested overnight in raids in east London and Birmingham. An eighth arrest of a 58-year-old man was made in Birmingham this morning.
The police said they also conducted searches at properties in south-east London and Brighton.
The police also said that five of those injured remained in a “critical” condition and another two have “life threatening injuries”.
The full statement is here
Candlelit vigil underway in Trafalgar Square
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, and Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, have addressed a large crowd in Trafalgar Square. In between polite applause, there is almost total silence in the square that lies at the heart of the capital.
“Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism,” Mr Khan tells a large crowd.
And on that note, we are going to wrap up our live coverage of the aftermath of Wednesday’s attack in London. The main developments today have been the naming of the three people murdered in the attack as well as the release of the identity of the man believed to have been the assailant. Police also revealed they have arrested eight people on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts in raids in London and Birmingham. Thanks for joining us.