Westminster terror attack: What happened, who is the suspect, and is the UK safe?

Westminster terror attack: What happened, who is the suspect, and is the UK safe?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

On August 14 at around 7.30am, a car was driven into barriers outside the House of Lords. The Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident as a terror attack. Here’s what we know so far.


What happened?

A silver Ford Fiesta was seen colliding with pedestrians and cyclists before driving into barriers outside the House of Lords this morning.

Armed police were on the scene almost immediately, and the man was removed from the car and arrested at the scene.

The suspect, a man in his late 20s, is currently in custody in a station in South London.

His car was searched at the scene, and no weapons were discovered.

Peter Kirkham, a former detective chief inspector with the Metropolitan Police, told talkRADIO: “The first priority once the person’s arrested is getting the scene secured and examined. They’ll be researching who the suspect is, and forensic examination of him. Then once they’ve got meaningful questions to answer, they’ll be getting an interview with him.”

Watch the video above to hear more of Peter's analysis.


Was it definitely a terror attack?

Neil Basu briefing the media

The Counter Terror Command is investigating the attack. Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police said: “Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident and the investigation is being led by officers from the Counter Terrorism Command.”

However, no details about the suspect’s identity, motive or personal beliefs has been released.

“There is no intelligence of further danger to Londoners or the rest of the UK in connection with this incident,” Basu added.


Who’s the suspect?

Sky News sources say the suspect has been named as Salih Khater, a man thought to be from Sudan. He is still in police custody.

He was reportedly known to local police, but not MI5 or counter-terror forces.

As yet, no other suspects have been identified. According to Sky crime correspondent Andy Hughes, the car was registered in Nottingham and had several previous owners.

Police have searched three addresses in Birmingham and Nottingham.


Was anyone hurt?

There were no fatalities. Two people were taken to hospital - one, a man, has since been discharged, but the other, a woman, remains in hospital being treated. Her injuries are not life-threatening.

Another man was treated at the scene.


What has the government said?

Theresa May released a full statement yesterday, which you can read here.

She also responded on Twitter, saying: “My thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster and my thanks to the emergency services for their immediate and courageous response.”

Other politicians, including Andrea Leadsom, have praised the emergency services.

Nigel Evans MP has suggested that the government should consider pedestrianising Parliament Square in the interests of safety.


Has the terror threat level been raised?

No. The current threat level is Severe, which has been in place since September 2017.