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As in Paris, London terror striker was known to MI5, had been a ‘peripheral figure’

The London attacker who further killed— before he himself was brought down by security people—had been previously investigated by MI5—the British domestic security agency.

Echoing attackers in Paris, this person, too—his identity is know, but not disclosed—has been a “peripheral figure”, said British Prime Minister Theresa May on March 23.

The suspect in the terror attack near parliament that killed a police officer and two civilians and left at least 40 others grievously hurt, some with life-changing injuries, was British-born. Eyewitnesses have described the attacker as an Asian man in his 40s.

Meanwhile, Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack. A statement published by the group’s Amaq propaganda agency said a “soldier of the caliphate” had carried out the atrocity and that the person in question was merely following a call made by the group to launch attacks in countries allied to the US-led coalition bombing its territories in Syria and Iraq.

The horrific vehicle-and-knife attack took place on Westminster Bridge and outside British Parliament around 2.40pm local time. It had among its victims people of several nationalities including from France, Romania, South Korea, Germany, Poland, Ireland, China and Greece. Two victims have been named—policeman Keith Palmer, 48, and Aysha Frade, schoolteacher, 43, who is of Cypriot and Spanish origin, and is also British-born. The other two dead include a man in his 50s and the attacker.

The car used in the attack—a gray Hyundai i40—was rented in Birmingham.

May said authorities already know the identity of the attacker, who was shot dead by armed police, but have not made it public. She said the man, whom officials have not named, was previously investigated by MI5. He was a “peripheral figure”, according to May, and is believed to have been driven by Islamic fundamentalist ideology.

The Metropolitan police searched six addresses in Birmingham, London and other parts of the country overnight. Eight arrests have been made. Friends and associates of the attacker are under scanner to ascertain whether he was a lone wolf or part of a broader terror cell.

However, May said, “It’s still believed that this attacker acted alone and there is no reason to believe there are imminent further attacks.”

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