ISIS Takes Responsibility For The UK Terror Attack
A day after two civilians and police officer in London were killed outside of Parliament, ISIS has claimed responsibility the U.K. terrorist attack. The claim was released by the ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency. On Wednesday, a man driving an SUV drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, and then got out and stabbed an officer before being shot dead by police. About 40 people were injured. The attacker was known to British intelligence but was not being actively investigated.
The identity of the suspect has not been identified, but ISIS called him a "soldier of Islamic State." Amaq released the information in a tweet, CNN reported:
Security source to Amaq agency: The perpetrator of the attack yesterday in front of the British Parliament in London is a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to appeals targeting nationals of coalition countries.
Investigators maintain that the suspect acted alone, despite the ISIS claims. Mark Rowley, the head of the anti-terrorism squad, told CNN that they worked through the night to ascertain a motive as well as potential "associates."
"It is still our belief — which continues to be borne out by our investigation — that this attacker acted alone yesterday and was inspired by international terrorism," Rowley said.
That would mesh with what CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank told the network, that the ISIS language may imply that the suspect was inspired by the group but didn't have a direct connection to its leaders.
More information about the attack was shared Thursday by British Prime Minister Theresa May. She spoke to Parliament moments after it reconvened. The suspect was born in Britain and had previously been connected to "violent extremism." He was never a key figure, though, she explained and there was no prior intelligence to suggest he was planning to carry out such an attack or plot.
May struck a defiant tone in Parliament, explaining the importance of carrying on in the face of such an attack. She said the fact that the body was meeting is to "deliver a simple message: We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism." She touted democracy as well as "free speech, liberty, human rights and rule of law" as the correct way to stand up to such violent acts of terror.
More will likely come out over the next hours and days. CNN reported that at least eight people have been arrested in connection to the investigation. British Secretary of Defense Michael Fallon told reporters that the city would soon return to normal. "We are going to be reassuring people today that people are going back to normal. London has seen terrorism before and London has faced it down," he said.