London attack: Police probe Westminster rampage that left five dead as armed officers raid property in Birmingham

Danny Boyle, Sophie Jamieson, Barney Henderson and Chris Graham — March 23, 2017

Medics treat injured attacker as armed police stand guard

Medics treat injured attacker as armed police stand guard. Click to enlarge

Armed police have carried out an overnight raid on a Birmingham property, which was reportedly linked to the attack in Westminster on Wednesday.

Counter-terror detectives are continuing to search for clues about how an armed attacker, believed to have “inspired by international terrorism”, brought death and destruction to the streets of London.

Five people were killed in the “sick and depraved” terror attack, including a police officer who was stabbed and his assailant, while dozens more were injured.

Armed police launched a late-night raid on a second-floor flat above a row of shops on Hagley Road in Birmingham. Witnesses have said three people were taken away by police.

Sky News cited unnamed sources as saying the action was linked to the attack in London.

BBC Newsnight had earlier reported there was a suggestion the car used in the attack was hired from an address in Birmingham. However, this has not been confirmed.

Mark Rowley, Scotland Yard’s top anti-terror officer, confirmed that 40 people were injured after the attacker – armed with two large knives – mowed down pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge then rushed at the gates in front of the Houses of Parliament, stabbing a plain-clothes policeman before he was shot by armed officers.

The officer who died was named as Keith Palmer, 48, a husband and father, whose bravery was hailed by colleagues, friends and the many MPs whom he was charged with protecting.

The three other fatalities are understood to be people who were hit by the car on Westminster Bridge.

Mr Rowley declined to name the attacker, but said police suspect he was “inspired by international terrorism” – and that they believed they knew who he was.

The attackers Hyundai car ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge

The attacker’s Hyundai car ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. Click to enlarge

Witnesses described scenes of terror when gunfire rang out as the attacker approached a second officer within yards of the Houses of Parliament.

The suspected attacker was pictured being treated by paramedics on a stretcher, as two knives used in the assault lay on the ground nearby.

Paramedics fought to save his life and that of Mr Palmer on the floor of the cobbled courtyard in front of Parliament, with Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood among those who rushed to help.

“Heartbroken” former colleague, Conservative MP James Cleverly, paid tribute to the “lovely man” he had known for a quarter of a century.

“I’ve known Keith for 25 years. We served together in the Royal Artillery before he became a copper. A lovely man, a friend. I’m heartbroken.

“My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Pc Keith Palmer. A brave man.”

MPs said that the terror attack could have been prevented if police on duty at a well-known security “weak spot” had simply kept it bolted.

The killer managed to get in through a vehicle gate in New Palace Yard – used by the Prime Minister and other members of the Government – because it was not locked.

Prime Minister Theresa May has described the attack as “sick and  depraved”.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergencies committee, Mrs May paid tribute to the “exceptional men and women” of the police force who responded to the attack.

Mrs May said that any attempt to defeat the values that Parliament stands for was “doomed to failure”.

And she vowed: “We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”

Footage later emerged of the moment police opened fire after the attacker drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster.

In other developments, another woman who apparently fell into the Thames was rescued and given urgent medical treatment on a nearby pier.

Continues …

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