London attack: British-born attacker ‘known to MI5’

The Westminster attacker was British-born and known to the police and intelligence services, Prime Minister Theresa May has revealed.
She told MPs he had been investigated some years ago over violent extremism, but was “peripheral” and was not part of the current intelligence picture.
The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind the attack.
Eight arrests in London and Birmingham followed Wednesday’s attack that left four dead – including the attacker.
Those killed by the attacker were PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, who worked at a London college, and a man in his 50s.
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More stories on the attack and aftermath
Victims of the Westminster terror attack
Seven of the injured are still in hospital in a critical condition. A further 29 had been treated in hospital, police said.
In the attack on Wednesday afternoon, a man drove a car along a pavement on Westminster Bridge, knocking down pedestrians, creating panic and leaving dozens injured.

He then ran towards Parliament where he stabbed PC Palmer who was unarmed. Armed police then shot dead the attacker in the grounds.
Mrs May paid tribute to PC Palmer saying: “He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten.”
She also said one of three police officers injured as they returned from an event to recognise their bravery was in a stable condition.
She told MPs, many of whom had been caught up in the commotion: “We will never waver in the face of terrorism.”
The so-called Islamic State claimed through its news agency that the Westminster attacker was a “soldier of the Islamic State”.
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Image caption
PC Keith Palmer stopped the attacker in his tracks. Aysha Frade would be deeply missed by all, the principal at the college said
Mrs Frade worked at a London sixth form college just a few hundred metres from Westminster Bridge.
The principal at DLD College, Rachel Borland, said she was “highly regarded and loved by our students and by her colleagues”.
Mrs May said 12 Britons were admitted to hospital and other victims included three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, one American and two Greeks.
Thierry Terret, who is in charge of schools in Brittany, said the three injured students were not in a life threatening condition and were on their way home.
An emotional James Cleverly MP asked Mrs May to consider recognising posthumously the “gallantry and sacrifice” made by PC Palmer, who he knew from his time in the Army.
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Media captionMr Cleverly fought back tears as he spoke about his friend Keith Palmer
Analysis: The PM’s carefully-chosen words
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Media captionPrime Minister Theresa May said MPs were meeting as normal to show “we are not afraid”
By Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent
The prime minister’s carefully-worded statement that the killer was once investigated raises more questions than it currently answers.
It appears that the individual was discounted as a “peripheral figure” on the edge of some other operation. She didn’t say whether that means he was considered and discounted for good reason by MI5 intelligence officers, investigated for a criminal offence by detectives or even ever arrested.
However, she also stressed he was not part of the “current intelligence picture” – and that means he wasn’t currently on the radar at all. This points to the very difficult dilemma faced by security services combating these kinds of threats.
Every day they have to prioritise, or triage, who to pursue and who to discount. People who were once a threat change their thinking. They grow up, have kids and settle down. MI5, meanwhile, is tasked with focusing on those they know of with the most advanced plans.
Some of those they discount, or temporarily turn away from, later turn out to be more dangerous that initially thought. They include the ringleader of the 7/7 bombings and one of the two men who killed Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Intelligence is never a complete picture – it is not even like a jigsaw with missing pieces. It’s a case of trying to interpret fragments of information that rarely amount to a whole.

bbc.com

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