Following Wednesday’s devastating terror attack near the U.K. Parliament building in London, British authorities moved in swiftly and made several arrests. Prime Minister Theresa May revealed in a speech to members of both Houses that the man responsible for killing three people and injuring more was British born and known by intelligence agencies for possible ties to extremism. Despite the eight arrests made in connection to the attack, those with knowledge of the investigation believe the assailant acted alone.
In her speech to Parliament, May didn’t reveal the attacker’s identity but said he was a British born citizen who was investigated “some years ago” over concerns about possible connections to “violent extremism.” Moving on, May proclaimed “the threat from Islamist terrorism is very real” and cautioned the public to “remain utterly vigilant” while not succumbing to fear or assumption. After all, she added, the suspect was a “peripheral” figure who up until Wednesday “was not part of the current intelligence picture.”
Despite this, British authorities worked through the night to determine what motivated the attack and who else may have been connected. Hence why several overnight raids in Birmingham and London resulted in eight arrests. Yet Mark Rowley, head of counter-terrorism policing in the U.K., told journalists late Wednesday they believe the suspect acted alone. “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,” he said. Even so, Scotland Yard admits the attack was likely “Islamic terrorism in some form.”
UPDATE: The Independent reports ISIS, in a statement to the largely propagandist Amaq News Agency, has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack (without providing evidence of its involvement). The terrorist organization called the unidentified assailant a “soldier of the Islamic State,” though as the report notes, “the wording of the statement mentioned no direct involvement in the attack.” This isn’t the first time ISIS has publicly claimed responsibility for suspected and known acts of terrorism it didn’t actually play a part in.