World

ISIS claims London attacker was one of its 'soldiers'

Eight arrested in raids after Westminster terror attack

LONDON: Police investigating the deadliest London terror attack in 12 years have arrested eight people in raids around Britain, even as an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-affiliated news agency claimed that the extremist group was behind the assault.

A tweet from ISIS-affiliated news agency Amaq said the attacker was "a soldier" of ISIS inspired by its message.

But ISIS has provided no evidence for any direct links to the assailant, whom it did not name.

CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank said the language used by ISIS asserting the attacker was one of its soldiers does not necessarily mean the group is claiming it had connections to him.

He said such language has been used in the past by the group for attacks it believes it helped inspire.

KILLED

Mr Mark Rowley, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism police officer, said inquiries were continuing in London, Birmingham and elsewhere after the lone attacker ploughed a car into crowds of people, killing two people, before stabbing a police officer dead in the grounds of the UK parliament, CNN reported.

Mr Rowley said hundreds of detectives worked through the night in a fast-moving inquiry.

Their investigation focused on the attacker's motivation, preparation and associates, he said.

Overnight, officers from the Metropolitan Police searched addresses in Birmingham, central England and elsewhere.

Arrests were made in Birmingham and London.

Among those killed was Mr Keith Palmer, 48, a police officer with 15 years of service.

A crowdfunding page hastily set up to raise money for Mr Palmer's family attracted close to £20,000 (S$35,000) within three hours.

Another person who was killed has been identified as 43-year-old British citizen Aysha Frade, AFP reported.

Media reports said she was on her way to pick up her two daughters, who are seven and nine years old.

The third victim has been identified as Mr Kurt Cochran, an American tourist.

At least 40 have been wounded. The injured included 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pole, one Chinese, one American and two Greeks, reports said.

Police said 29 of the injured were treated in hospital. Seven remained in "critical condition" yesterday.

A woman with serious injuries rescued from the River Thames after the attack, as well as her fiance, are believed to be two Romanians.

Meanwhile, the government minister who tried to resuscitate Mr Palmer described the incident yesterday, saying "what a mad world", Reuters reported.

Mr Tobias Ellwood, 50, a junior minister in the foreign office, walked away from the scene with blood on his face and hands before comforting others in the area.

He told The Times: "I tried to stem the flow of blood and give mouth-to-mouth while waiting for the medics to arrive, but I think he had lost too much blood.

"He had multiple wounds, under the arm and in the back."

Mr Ellwood, whose brother was killed in a bomb attack in Bali, Indonesia, in 2002, was hailed as a hero by fellow lawmakers.

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S'pore leaders on attack

I am deeply saddened by the vicious attack in Westminster, London, which resulted in many casualties. On behalf of the people of Singapore, I convey our deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones, and whose lives have been affected by this horrific incident. Singapore strongly condemns this senseless and horrific terrorist act.

- President Tony Tan Keng Yam in a letter to Queen Elizabeth II

"MFA and the Singapore High Commission in London have reached out to Singaporeans who are e-registered in London. Thus far, there have been no reports of Singaporeans directly affected by or injured in the incident."

- Ministry of Foreign Affairs

"We need to be alert to prevent an attack; ready to respond to keep ourselves and others safe if we are caught up in one; remain resilient to carry on life normally; and stay united to counter those who advocate extremism and violence."

- Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Facebook

"It is a tragedy and a reminder of the clear and present danger... We must never let such acts disrupt our way of life or divide our people. It is critical to ensure that unity of societies is maintained as the long-term objective of terror groups is to divide us."

- Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan

"For an assailant to use a vehicle to mow down people as if they were pins is yet another tragic violent chapter in our troubled world. For Singaporeans, we must come together - with vigilance, hope and effort, to protect ourselves and each other."

- Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen on Facebook

"It was a cruel and calculated attack, clearly aimed at striking at the heart of British democracy and the British way of life. "

- Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam on Facebook

"We deplore the loss of innocent lives caused by shocking violence, which has no place in any community. This is a stark reminder for all communities to rally together, care for each other, and remain vigilant against such senseless acts, and the ideas behind them, which are a threat to the fabric of our society. Our strongest defence against such threats is to maintain our bonds of humanity and shared values."

- Assistant director of the Office of the Mufti and Asatizah Development, Muis, Ustaz Irwan Hadi

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