London police questioning suspect in Westminster 'terrorist' incident

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Forensic investigators work at the site after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain, August 14, 2018. (Reuters)
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Three people were injured when a Ford Fiesta crashed into barriers outside Parliament. (Reuters)
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Armed police stand in the street after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. (Reuters)
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The man arrested at the scene is “not currently cooperating” with police. (AFP)
Updated 14 August 2018
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London police questioning suspect in Westminster 'terrorist' incident

  • Authorities said in a statement Tuesday that a man in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences
  • US President Trump calls for tough action to be taken against London attackers

LONDON: British counter-terrorism police carried out three searches in central England on Tuesday evening as part of an investigation after a car slammed into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament in London on morning.

Police say the driver, a 29-year-old UK national, has been arrested on suspicion of “preparing a terrorist act.”

Three people were hurt in the incident.

The suspect is being questioned at a south London police station, having previously refused to cooperate with officers immediately after his arrest.

 

The Metropolitan Police said a silver Fiesta, which was privately owned, travelled from Birmingham to London late on Monday night. It was then driven around the Westminster and Whitehall area from approximately 6am until the crash at 7:37am.

Police say there have been no other arrests in connection with this investigation.

Britain's government decided to keep its threat level for terrorism at severe after the incident. The decision not to elevate the threat level followed a meeting of the government's emergency COBRA committee on Tuesday. 

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu of the Metropolitan Police confirmed in a statement that no other suspects have been identified and police believe there is no further threat to Londoners.

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with those injured, and she urged the country to come together and carry on as normal, even as she urged the public to "remain vigilant.”

British authorities say they have foiled 13 extremist plots and four far-right plots since March 2017, and currently have 676 live counterterrorism investigations.

The Metropolitan Police said cordons that had sealed off much of London's Westminster government district had been lifted, after forensics officers in coveralls finished collecting evidence from the car.

 

Chris Phillips, a former senior police officer with expertise in counter-terrorism, told Arab News: “The worry is that we start seeing these types of attack as being normal. Because that blinds us to the myriad of other types of attack open to terrorists. 

“This appears to be a copy cat-type incident. But there might be more to it, time will tell. It certainly appears to be a poor attempt, thank goodness.

He added: “(These types of attacks are) impossible to predict, impossible to stop completely but it is possible to make iconic sites more difficult to attack.”

And Adrian James, reader in police studies at Liverpool Centre for Advanced Policing Studies, Liverpool John Moores University, warned that potential acts of terror do not require “sophisticated means” in urban areas.

Speaking to Arab News, James said: “We need to be cautious about attributing motive but certainly eye-witness reports suggest that this was a deliberate act. Previous terrorist attacks have utilised vehicles in a similar way.

“If indeed it is an act of terrorism, as much as anything it demonstrates that in an urban environment a motivated offender can easily find the means to achieve their purpose. One doesn’t necessarily need sophisticated means to achieve it. 

“Intelligence is key to preventing these attacks but the police have only finite resources and in a truly democratic society there are limits to the extent to which police intelligence gathering activities are considered legitimate. Intelligence ‘failure’ though always regrettable is inevitable."

US President Donald Trump tweeted about the incident on Tuesday, saying: “Another terrorist attack in London. These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”

 

 


Kremlin laments US ‘unpredictability’ under Trump

Updated 14 November 2018
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Kremlin laments US ‘unpredictability’ under Trump

  • Peskov’s comments come two weeks ahead of a slated face-to-face between President Donald Trump and Putin at a G20 summit in Argentina
  • Relations between the two countries have hit new lows with American officials planning to roll out fresh sanctions against Moscow

SINGAPORE: The Kremlin hit out Wednesday at the “unpredictability” of the United States under the Trump administration, saying it was causing “deep global concern.”
“The fact that America has become unpredictable lately is no secret to anyone,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Dozhd TV during a visit by President Vladimir Putin to a regional summit in Singapore.
“Such unpredictability from the largest country, the most powerful economy in the world, is the subject of deep global concern,” he added.
Peskov’s comments come two weeks ahead of a slated face-to-face between President Donald Trump and Putin at a G20 summit in Argentina.
Relations between the two countries have hit new lows with American officials planning to roll out fresh sanctions against Moscow in response to the botched poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain.
Western governments have accused Russia of being behind the plot which saw Skripal and his daughter poisoned with a nerve agent. Two British citizens were also poisoned, one of whom died.
Moscow has denied being behind the brazen hit and has condemned efforts to sanction it over the incident.
“We do not recognize these unilateral restrictions... and we consider them illegitimate,” Peskov said of the threatened sanctions, adding they would only “further complicate” Russia-US relations.
World leaders are currently meeting in Singapore, which is hosting the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
Trump is not at the gathering and has sent Vice President Mike Pence instead.
Peskov said “no separate meeting” was currently planned between Putin and Pence. But he added that there was no need for a face-to-face given Trump and Putin will soon meet in Buenos Aires.