Westminster terror attack: This is the latest update from the Metropolitan police

Caitlin Morrison
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London Recovers From The Westminster Terror Attack
Met Police deputy acting commissioner Mark Rowley (Source: Getty)

The Metropolitan Police gave Londoners more information this morning on the ongoing investigation into the attacks at Westminster earlier this week.

The capital was rocked by the terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, which left five dead. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the tragic incident yesterday.

Delivering a statement outside New Scotland Yard, deputy acting commissioner Mark Rowley said he would provide an update on the breadth and speed of the police's investigation; ask for the public's help; and provide further details on the police service response.

"First I want to update you regarding those who were injured," Rowley said.

"Sadly last night another man died in hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained during the attack.Whilst we await formal identification, we believe that he is Leslie Rhodes, aged 75, from Streatham in south London. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time."

Rowley added: "Furthermore, two people remain in hospital in what is described as a critical condition, and one person is considered to have life threatening injuries.

"Two of our officers who were injured on Westminster Bridge in the attack also remain in hospital and also have sustained significant injuries.

"At least 50 people were injured with 31 requiring hospital treatment as the attack unfolded and those affected include a real cross section of ages and from at least 12 nationalities.

It is a poignant reminder that the impact of this attack on the capital will reach around the world.

Police investigation

The police chief said its counter terrorism command investigation - Operation Classific - continues, involving hundreds of officers from across the counter terrorism network.

"This is a very large, fast-paced investigation (and) I want to give you as much information as possible and I do want to make a critical appeal to the public," said Rowley.

"Yesterday we named the dead terrorist as Khalid Masood - we stated he had a number of aliases - we now know his birth name was Adrian Russell Ajao.

"I would like to put on record my gratitude to the journalists who having identified the dead terrorist soon after the attack have delayed publishing his details at my request to give us space to move on the necessary warrants, searches and arrests."

He continued: "As I have said our investigation focuses on understanding his motivation, preparation and his associates.

"Whilst there is no evidence of further threats you will understand our determination to find out if he either:

  • Acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda;
  • Or, if others have encouraged, supported or directed him;

"To that end in our continuing investigation and ongoing covert activity we have made two further significant arrests overnight - one in the West Midlands and one in North West.

"Nine people remain in our custody and one woman has been released on bail. We have searches at five addresses are ongoing - 16 searches have concluded. So far we have seized 2,700 items from our searches including massive of amounts of computer data."

Rowley said the police had been in contact with approximately 3,500 witnesses - including 1,000 from people on Westminster Bridge and around 2,500 who were within the Parliamentary Estate, and the police service has also received hundreds of uploads to its online platform.

Given that the attack was in the heart of the capital, Rowley pointed out, the police are also dealing with statements from people of a range of nationalities.

Public appeal

"At this point I want to appeal specifically to the public," Rowley said.

"We remain keen to hear from anyone who knew Khalid Masood well; understands who his associates were; and can provide with information about places he has recently visited

"There might well be people out there who did have concerns about Masood but weren't sure or didn't feel comfortable for whatever reason in passing information to us.

"I urge anyone with such information to contact us the Anti-Terrorist hotline which is 0800 789 321."

Security questions

"I understand why a tragic event such as this generates questions about security at Parliament," said Rowley.

"Our current arrangements have been developed with Parliament over many years and are designed to provide access to the seat of our government balanced carefully with security that is proportionate but not overly intrusive.

"Of course after an incident like this as would be expected my team will work with Parliamentary authorities to assess whether a different tone or balance is necessary."

Rowley said the police service will sustain an enhanced armed and unarmed presence over the next few days.

"London, and the UK, are open for business, and we are out there in greater numbers to make sure that the public see a highly visible presence to help reassure them as they go about their daily lives," he added.

"In London the number of armed officers remains at near double strength, while in other parts of the UK there are up to a third more armed officers on duty."

Strong message

"Finally, last night a true cross section of people came together to stand together to remember - but also to send a message, " Rowley stated.

"A strong message - to those inspired by hate and extremism of all persuasions that we will not give in to those who seek to breed discord and fear.

"This is as true now as it has ever been. Our acting commissioner, Craig Mackey, told thousands who gathered in central London last night terrorist have tried to tear this city apart before and they have never succeeded.

The very fact London has gone back to work and so many were happy to gather in central London last night shows they have failed again.

"We would like to thank our officers and staff who continue to work around the clock - both investigating this atrocity and continuing to keep our city safe. From the staff picking responding to calls in our control centres, staff and officers still guarding our iconic buildings, the officers patrolling streets in every borough and specialist teams that are not so visible.

"We are grateful for the continued support of the public and the strong calm response that has been shown, and I know that we will continue to stand together."

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