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UK Parliament Resumes, Honors Victims  03/23 06:04

   LONDON (AP) -- Britain's Parliament observed a minute of silence Thursday to 
remember a police officer and two civilians killed a day earlier in an attack 
at the heart of London, while authorities raided homes in central England to 
search for evidence.

   Eight people were arrested in raids, including some in the city of 
Birmingham. Police searched for clues as to why a man driving an SUV plowed 
into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing two and injuring more than 30 
others, before he fatally stabbed a police officer on Parliament's grounds. 
Police shot and killed the attacker, whose identity they have not yet disclosed.

   Parliament was locked down after the attack, and the return to business was 
seen as an important act of defiance. The silence began at 9:33 a.m., to honor 
the shoulder number of the murdered officer, Keith Palmer.

   "Those who carry out such wicked and depraved acts as we saw yesterday can 
never triumph in our country and we must ensure it is not violence, hatred or 
division but decency and tolerance that prevails in our country," Trade 
Secretary Liam Fox said.

   The other lawmakers responded: "Hear, hear!"

   Mayor Sadiq Khan called for Londoners to attend a candlelit vigil at 
Trafalgar Square on Thursday evening in solidarity with the victims and their 
families and to show that London remains united.

   London went on. Parliament Square, Westminster Bridge and several 
surrounding streets remain cordoned off by police. Scores of unarmed officers 
in bright yellow jackets were staffing the perimeter tape, guiding confused 
civil servants trying to get to work.

   In Parliament's New Palace Yard, a blue police tent was erected over the 
spot where the stabbing and shooting occurred, and two forensic officers worked 
at a trestle table nearby.

   Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said that he believed 
the attacker acted alone and was "inspired by international terrorism."

   The attacker has been identified and was known to British security, 
according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he 
was not authorized to speak about ongoing security operations. He declined to 
name the man and to give any other details about his identity, nationality or 
hometown.

   Rowley revised the death toll from five to four, including the attacker, the 
police officer and two civilians. He said that 29 people required 
hospitalization and seven of them were in critical condition. He also said that 
authorities were still working out the number of "walking wounded." Police had 
previously given the total number of injured as around 40.

   One of those killed was Aysha Frade, a British national whose mother is 
Spanish, the Spanish Foreign Ministry said.

   A doctor who treated the wounded from the bridge said some had 
"catastrophic" injuries. Three police officers, several French teenagers on a 
school trip, two Romanian tourists and five South Korean visitors were among 
the injured.

   Before Rowley's news conference, British media reported that armed police 
carried out a raid on a property in Birmingham. The Press Association on 
Thursday quoted an unnamed witness saying that the operation was linked to the 
attack. The witness said that police raided an apartment and arrested three 
men. Police in the West Midlands, where Birmingham is located, directed 
inquiries about the operation to London's Metropolitan Police.

   The threat level for international terrorism in the U.K. was already listed 
at severe, meaning an attack was "highly likely."

   Defense Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC that authorities assume the 
attack was linked to "Islamic terrorism in some form." Investigators worked 
around the clock.

   "They have been working right through the night, looking into his 
background, how he got hold of the vehicle, where the vehicle has been in the 
last day or two, and who may or may not have helped him," he said.

   Speaking outside 10 Downing St. after chairing a meeting of government's 
emergency committee, COBRA, Prime Minister Theresa May said Wednesday that 
level wouldn't change. She said attempts to defeat British values of democracy 
and freedom through terrorism would fail.

   Londoners and visitors "will all move forward together, never giving in to 
terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart," May 
said.

   President Donald Trump was among world leaders offering condolences.

   London has been a target for terrorism many times over past decades. Just 
this weekend, hundreds of armed police took part in an exercise simulating a 
"marauding" terrorist attack on the River Thames.


(KA)

 
 
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