Thursday

17th Aug 2017

May: London attacker was known to the police

The London attacker was "British born" and is known to the UK police and intelligence services. He has been investigated before for extremism, but has not been focused on by investigators lately, said British PM Theresa May on Thursday (23 March).

"He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic – he was not part of the current intelligence picture," May told MPs in the House of Commons.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

May described Wednesday's attack as "an attack on free people everywhere".

In a powerful statement, May said that the terrorist "tried to silence our democracy".

"But today we meet as normal, as generations have done before us and as future generations will continue to do, to deliver a simple message: we are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism," she told MPs.

Eight arrests have been made in London and Birmingham after the attack that left four dead.

Several people from other nationalities - three French teenagers, two Romanians, two Greeks, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, and one American - are amongst around 40 of the injured, as the attacker rammed into pedestrians with a car on Westminster Bridge.

"A terrorist came to the place where people of all nationalities and culture gather to celebrate what it means to be free," May said, paying tribute to the police officer, who tried to stop the knife-wielding attacker at the parliament.

In an emotional parliamentary debate, MPs hailed their fellow lawmaker Tobias Ellwood as a hero. Ellwood gave first aid to the police officer on the scene, Keith Palmer, who later died of his injuries.

May said that the attacker acted alone, and was inspired by "Islamist ideology". She added that the intelligence services do not believe there is an imminent threat of further attacks.

The attacker has not yet been named by British authorities, since the investigation is still ongoing.

The news agency Amaq, used by the Islamic State for propaganda, has said in the meantime that the group claims responsibility for the attack.

Acts of normality

May said the millions of "acts of normality" are the best way to defeat terrorism.

"The greatest response lies not in the words of politicians, but in the everyday actions of ordinary people," May concluded, saying the streets are busy, the cafes are open, and millions continue to travel to London to see "the greatest city on Earth".

Police presence will be stepped up in London, nevertheless.

This terror attack, the worst in Britain since 2005, took place exactly a year after the deadly terrorist bombings in Brussels.

An EU Commission spokesperson expressed sympathy and solidarity with UK.

He added that European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will have a phone conversation with Theresa May on Thursday.

In preparations for the Rome summit on Saturday, Italy's interior minister, Marco Minniti, ordered an increase of security, raising the country's security alert to the highest level.

An extra 2,000 police officers will be deployed on the streets of the eternal city, Rome, in addition to the 3,000 already planned.

In Rome, 27 EU national leaders are will arrive – with the exception of May – alongside the heads of the EU institutions to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome.

Terror attack shuts down UK parliament

[Updated] Westminster, and its surrounding areas, has been sealed off after a car drove into several people and one policeman was stabbed. At least three people have been killed.

EU vows to mend terrorist data share failures

The EU is rolling out plans to improve a large police database in an effort to avoid repeats of allowing terrorists, like Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam, from slipping by police due to poor data quality.

Analysis

More hype than substance in EU counter-terror plans

The 22 March anniversary of the Brussels bombing will trigger a lot of soul searching. But EU counter-terrorism strategies over the past 10 years have been crisis-driven with little follow through or oversight.

News in Brief

  1. Russian power most feared in Europe
  2. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  3. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  4. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  5. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending
  6. Low support for Norway's labour party ahead of elections
  7. Slovakia's future is with core EU, says PM
  8. Italy relieved as migration drops to lowest level since 2014

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  3. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  5. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  6. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  8. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  9. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  10. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides
  11. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  12. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey