Terrorist Attack, London

This week saw the catastrophic events unfold outside Parliament, where 5 people were killed and 50 injured in a suspected terrorist attack. 

The events:

At 14:40 on Wednesday afternoon, Khalid Masood drove a car over Westminster Bridge near Houses of Parliament, killing two people instantly and injuring dozens. After crashing into railings, Masood attempted to storm towards Parliament bearing a knife, stabbing unarmed policy officer Keith Palmer, who later died. Masood was shot dead by armed officers.

Who were the victims?

Amongst those who were killed in the attack were:

PC Keith Palmer (48) – Married with a 5-year-old daughter.

Aysha Frade (43) – Married mother of two daughters.

Kurt Cochran – US tourist celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary.

Leslie Rhodes (75) – a retired window cleaner from Streatham.

About 50 people from at least 12 countries were injured in the attack, some of whom are listed below:

12 Britons

Three French children

Two Romanians

Four South Koreans

Two Greeks

One each from Germany, Poland, the Irish Republic, China, Italy and the US. 

Who is Khalid Masood?

Khalid Masood was well known by the police for convictions for various crimes such as GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences, but he was not a suspected terrorist.

Masood, 52, was a father-of-three, originally named Adrian Russel Ajao. Prior to the attack, Masood reportedly worked as an English teacher, although according to the Department of Education, there is no record of him ever being a qualified teacher in English state schools.

He is believed to have been living in the West Midlands, most likely in Birmingham, where he rented the car used in the attack from Enterprise’s Spring Hill. A neighbour exclaimed how “surprised” they were that Masood committed such an act, stating “when I saw him, I couldn’t even see that he could do something like this.” Theresa May said that police were working on the assumption that he was inspired by a warped Islamist ideology.

Isis claimed that Masood was a "soldier of the Islamic State" when it claimed responsibility for the attack, but did not make reference to his name or any details.

The police are still appealing for information on Masood, urging anyone who knew the attacker to come forward with information.

What now?

Security has increased significantly since the attack, increasing "up to a third" accross the UK and doubling in London. The UK's threat level has been set at "severe" - meaning an attack is highly likely. 

In spite of the attack, what is necessary to admire is the incredible response of ordinary people and authorities - for the swiftness, selflessness, and courage to all those who stepped up. Although a tragedy, it is important to remain strong a vigilant in the wake of this devastating attack.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those who lost their lives.