UPDATED AT 8:40AM CENTRAL TIME, THURSDAY:
ISIS has just claimed responsibility for the attack. “The perpetrator of the attacks yesterday in front of the British parliament in London is an Islamic State soldier and he carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the coalition,” says the Amaq news agency, the ISIS press channel.
UPDATED AT 6:40AM CENTRAL TIME, THURSDAY:
Let us be praying for the victims of this horrible terror attack in the heart of London, and for their families, and all those who were traumatized. As of this hour, news reports say three people (not four) were murdered in yesterday’s attack, and about 40 wounded.
Let us be praying, too, for Prime Minister Theresa May and her top national security and law enforcement advisors for wisdom as they work to strengthen Britain’s homeland defenses. British authorities conducted a number of raids overnight and arrested eight people on terrorism charges. The PM indicates that the police know the identity of the terrorist and will release that information at the appropriate time.
Thus far, I’ve seen no credible reports of any group claiming responsibility for the attack yet. The attack certainly has many hallmarks of an operation by the Islamic State. It happened on the one year anniversary of ISIS attacks in Brussels. It happened as foreign ministers from 68 countries were meeting in Washington to improve coordination on fighting and defeating ISIS. It was a vehicle attack, a tactic encouraged by ISIS leaders and used by ISIS loyalists throughout Europe. ISIS supporters have been calling for attacks in England, and London in particularly.
That said, we’ll know more soon and we’ll analyze those facts at that time.
- A British-born man who was once investigated for connections to violent extremism carried out the deadly attack outside Parliament in London on Wednesday, according to Prime Minister Theresa May.
- Addressing lawmakers in Parliament who only a day earlier had been under lockdown, Mrs. May said on Thursday morning that the attacker was “a peripheral figure” who had been examined by MI5, Britain’s domestic counterintelligence agency, but who had not been “part of the current intelligence picture.”
- Mrs. May said that officials were not ready to release the man’s name, but she added that “there was no prior evidence of his intent or of the plot” and that “our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology.”
- The authorities raided six properties across the country on Thursday, detaining eight people in London and in Birmingham, in central England, as they pressed ahead with a fast-moving investigation. The authorities emphasized that they believed the assailant had acted alone and that they did not expect any further attacks; Mrs. May said that the nation’s threat level would remain “severe,” meaning that an attack was likely, and not raised to “critical,” signaling an imminent attack.
- “Yesterday, an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy,” Mrs. May said, adding: “We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.”
- Among the victims of the attack — three dead and around 40 others wounded — were 12 Britons, at least four South Koreans, three French schoolchildren, two Romanians and one citizen each of China, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy.
UPDATED AT 5:40PM CENTRAL TIME, WEDNESDAY: “Scotland Yard’s top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley confirms that five people have died and about 40 people were injured in the attack, including three police officers,” reports the BBC.
Five deaths: four people murdered, and the terrorist was killed by police at the scene.
4:05PM CENTRAL TIME:
British Prime Minister just spoke to the nation.
“Prime Minister Theresa May, who chaired a Cobra meeting this evening, said the full details of the ‘sick and depraved terrorist attack’ were still emerging,” reported the BBC. “She confirmed there was one attacker and the UK’s threat level of ‘severe’ will not change. There will be an update from the Metropolitan Police later this evening, she said.”
- “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected,” she said.
- “Let me make it clear today… any attempt to defeat those values through violence is doomed to failure.
- “Parliament will come together as normal… and Londoners will get up and go about their day as normal… they will walk these streets, they will live their lives… never giving into terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
Also: BBC is reporting that “Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley confirmed the armed officer had died, as well as a man they believed to be the attacker. He told a press conference he believed there to be only one attacker, but searches were ongoing.”
3:00PM CENTRAL UPDATE:
In 2014, an ISIS supporter in London vowed, “Our message is deadly, we are calling for world domination and for Shariah for the UK….This one’s actually the flag of the Islamic State, so one day when the Sharia comes, you will see this black flag everywhere…. The black flag of Islam will one day fly high over 10 Downing Street. That’s a very real, real possibility the way Muslims are coming forward in this country.”
At the moment, there has been no claim of responsibility. It has all the makings of an ISIS attack, and comes one year to the day after an ISIS attack in Brussels. But we’ll have to wait to learn more about the perpetrators and their motives.
One report says there were two attackers, one of which was shot dead at the scene. The New York Times is reporting: “The driver of a large vehicle mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, which leads to Parliament, around 2:40 p.m. After the crash, at least one man left the vehicle and approached Parliament, where he fatally stabbed a police officer. The police then fatally shot the attacker.”
It’s possible that the driver and the attacker who was fatally killed was the same person, though there is confusion in the reporting just now.
The attack comes as foreign ministers from 68 countries are gathered in Washington to discuss how to work more closely together to defeat the Islamic State.
Here’s some of the latest coverage. I’m posting more on Twitter as the story unfolds.
“London was thrown into chaos and confusion on Wednesday, with Britain’s Parliament placed on lockdown and the prime minister evacuated, as security officers investigated ‘a terrorist incident‘ that left one woman dead and several other people injured,” reports the New York Times.
“Throughout a confusing afternoon, ambulances, emergency vehicles and heavily armed security officers thronged the area outside Parliament, as one of the busiest sections of London was cordoned off and evacuated,” the Times noted. “Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed into a vehicle and spirited back to her office, where her aides reported that she was safe.”
More from the New York Times:
- Meanwhile, the police were still trying to make sense of an afternoon attack that apparently occurred in two stages.
- The driver of a large vehicle mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, which leads to Parliament, killing one woman and injuring at least 10 other people. Around the same time, a man stabbed a police officer outside the gates of Parliament and was then shot by police officers.
- It was not immediately clear if the motorist and the knife attacker were the same man….
- The attack came on the anniversary of suicide bombings in Brussels that killed 32 people, along with three bombers.
- The violence raised fears that London, which has been largely spared as a target of recent terrorist attacks, has now joined cities like Paris, Brussels and Berlin as targets of mass violence.
- Four-wheel drive car said to have driven over Westminster Bridge knocking down pedestrians this afternoon
- Victims were said to have been left scattered in the road, with some knocked into the River Thames
- Emergency services treated at least 10 injured people on the bridge, with one woman dead under a bus
- ‘Asian’ knifeman got into the grounds of Parliament where he reportedly stabbed a police officer
- The ‘middle-aged’ attacker was then shot by armed officers as armed anti-terror police flooded the area
- Parliament was suspended and the Prime Minister was rushed from the scene in her official car
- This morning, FoxNews.com published a column of mine — “Are We Winning Or Losing The War Against ISIS?” — in which I examine the latest intelligence, and reveal some of the polling data. You can read the full column by clicking here.
- We have published a detailed polling memo so you can see all the questions we asked, the results, the methodology, and many of the cross-tabs. You can read the polling memo by clicking here.
- We have also issued a press released explaining the poll. You can read the full press release by clicking here.