Police are getting a clearer picture of who brought bloodshed to the heart of London yesterday. They have named the terrorist as Khalid Masood, a British-born criminal with a string of previous convictions for offences including GBH. The 52-year-old, who Isil claim was a “soldier” of their group, was born in Kent, and detectives believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands. This comes as business resumed in Westminster, after a minute’s silence was held at 9.33am to pay respect to the victims.
Europe’s leaders have expressed their shock about the attack, with many sending London expressions of solidarity. Theresa May has spoken in last few hours to Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Jean-Claude Juncker among others, Downing Street has said. However, right-wing populists have not been afraid to try and make political capital out of it. Poland’s prime minister rushed to suggest, before the attacker had been named, that the incident showed it was right to defy the EU’s request to take in any more refugees. “The commissioner is coming to Warsaw and trying to tell us: you have to do what the EU decided, you have to take these migrants,” Beata Szydlo said, “Two days later another terrorist attack in London occurs”.
In the meantime, Belgian police have had an incident of their own to handle, detaining a man who tried to enter the main pedestrianised shopping street of Antwerp in a car at high speed. The Belgian prosecutor’s office said a 39-year-old French national had been arrested and that police found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid in the car. The arrest comes a day after the nation held remembrance services for last year’s Brussels attacks, which killed 32 people. Europe has plenty of problems to grapple with, including the refugee crisis and the threat of extremism. But the profile of the recent attackers suggests that the latter won’t be solved by blaming it on the former.
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