Westminster car crash: Everything we know about London terror incident – The Independent
A car has crashed into pedestrians and been swarmed by police after an incident right outside London’s Houses of Parliament.
Videos show the car smashing through Parliament Square in Westminster, and armed police arriving at the scene within seconds and apprehending a suspect.
Much still remains unclear about the incident, including the identities of anyone involved. But more is expected to become known as the hours and days go on.
As with all breaking news incidents, information is scarce and what information is there is is often unclear. But we will be seeking to round up everything we know for certain about the day’s events – and everything we are still yet to find out.
A brief timeline of today’s events
At about 7.40am on 14 August, a car is seen careening through Parliament Square. It first crashes into some cyclists, then moves off and through the mix of roads in the square before crashing into a barrier.
Just seconds after, armed police – probably hundreds of officers – swarm on the scene and take the driver out of the vehicle. He appeared to make no effort to resist and had stayed in the car throughout the aftermath.
Soon after that, police get to assembling a cordon around the whole of Parliament Square, and deep into Westminster. The Tube station is shut. People who work inside the cordon are not allowed to go into their offices – and their colleagues who had already arrived are not allowed to leave.
Over the morning, the cordon stays in place as further details are revealed about the incident and its aftermath.
What we know about the suspect
Salih Khater has been named as the man arrested after a car was driven into cyclists and crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.
The 29-year-old, who is a British citizen of Sudanese origin, is currently being held by police on suspicion of preparing an act of terror.
He is said not to be co-operating with officers and was not known to security services.
But what else do we know about him?
He is thought to have lived in a first-floor flat in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, for around nine months until he moved out about four months ago.
Residents who knew Khater described him as a quiet man who frequently visited a shisha lounge and internet cafe in Stratford Road in the city.
Ahmed Abdi, who is originally from Somalia, said Khater was regularly at the Bunna internet cafe, and was a “very quiet” man who “never spoke” and drove a small white, old car.
The 43-year-old, who recognised Khater’s image on the news, said he knew the man as Salih and had done so for around a year-and-a-half.
Coventry University has also confirmed that, between September last year and May 2018, Khater studied accountancy but is no longer enrolled at the educational establishment.
Khater’s Facebook page states that he lives in Birmingham, works as a shop manager, and has previously studied at Sudan University of Science and Technology.
He has shared music videos from artists including French-Canadian singer Celine Dion, as well as Eminem’s Love The Way You Lie featuring Rihanna.
He has also posted images of himself using a laptop on a train and one of him on a mobile phone, as well as desert scenes, and one of Nelson Mandela.
Likes on the page include Fort Wayne Indiana, London Metropolitan University, I Am Sudanese and the sport of basketball, with status updates in both English and Arabic.
As well as listing his favourite quote as “love is only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend” (sic), he also states he is interested in both men and women.
In April he liked a blog post about how a Birmingham school is giving students the skills to deal with and protect themselves from extremism and radicalisation.
How many injuries have been reported?
The London Ambulance Service has said that it treated three people in total, all with apparently non-life-threatening injuries.
It had said soon after the incident that it had taken two people into hospital. It then added that a third patient with “minor injuries” was treated at the scene.
At least some of those injured are thought to have been among the cyclists who were first hit by the car.
What has the response been from politicians?
Theresa May said her thoughts were with those injured in an incident outside parliament on Tuesday after two people were taken to hospital when a car crashed into security barriers.
Neither of those hurt were believed to have suffered serious injuries. Parliament is in recess and May is currently on holiday outside of the UK.
“My thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster and my thanks to the emergency services for their immediate and courageous response,” May said on Twitter.
May will not be attending the COBRA meeting that will take place to co-ordinate the response to the incident later today, because she is on holiday. It will be a meeting of officials and no cabinet members will be there.
What happens next?
The immediate police response to the incident will go on for hours – and the investigation will most likely take months or even years. Investigators are searching through the car, the suspect’s house, and just about every possible area that could be useful to find out how the attack happened, if anyone else was involved – and how to stop it happening again.
And police will have a heavier presence around the country over the coming days.