British police arrested seven people in armed raids Thursday linked to the deadly “Islamist-related” attack outside parliament in which three people were killed and the assailant was shot dead.
Britain’s top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley also said 29 people were treated in hospital, including seven who are still in critical condition, following Wednesday’s assault on the symbol of the country’s democracy.
“We have searched six addresses and made seven arrests,” Rowley told reporters, adding that the raids included locations in London and the central city of Birmingham.
Rowley said the victims were a police officer stabbed to death by the attacker at the gates of parliament and two members of the public who were mown down by his car on nearby Westminster Bridge moments before, revising down an earlier toll of four victims.”It is still our belief… that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism,” he said.
Among the injured were three French school children and a number of foreign tourists.
– ‘Sick and depraved’ –
Defiant British MPs vowed to return to work as normal in the parliament building that lies in the shadow of Big Ben but the area remained closed off to traffic and was virtually empty.
Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack in the heart of London as “sick and depraved” in a defiant address on Wednesday.
Defence Minister Michael Fallon told BBC radio that Wednesday’s carnage was linked to “Islamic terrorism in some form”.Helicopters circled over the area and a blue forensics tent was in place where the assailant died. Where the policeman was killed, there was blood on the ground.
Hundreds of extra police were on patrol and officers worked around the clock to piece together what happened in the deadliest attack in Britain since four suicide bombers killed 52 people on London’s transport system in July 2005.
“What we will do is continue as the House of Commons. We will not give in to terrorism,” deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle told reporters.The British flag over parliament flew at half-mast.
Press Association news agency photos believed to be of the knifeman lying on an ambulance stretcher showed a burly man with black clothes and a beard.
Other pictures showed a knife on the cobblestones inside the vehicle entrance gates to parliament, while three shots were heard ringing out on video footage as terrified passers-by fled.