Update: The man suspected of ploughing a car into cyclists and pedestrians in a ‘terror attack’ outside Parliament has been named as Salih Khater.
Khater, a Sudan-born British national, allegedly swerved a silver Ford Fiesta into people before smashing into a security barrier yesterday morning.
The Telegraph reports that the terror suspect is believed to have travelled through the night from Birmingham to stake out Westminster for more than an hour and a half before mowing down cyclists outside the Houses of Parliament, it emerged on Tuesday night.
The 29-year-old man, who is believed to be of Sudanese origin, waited until rush hour before swerving on to the wrong side of the road and hitting cyclists who were waiting at the traffic lights. He the crashed into barriers outside the entrance to the House of Lords.
The suspect lived in a flat above an internet cafe in Sparkhill, Birmingham.
The man, who is a UK national, had driven from his home in Birmingham before allegedly using his car as a weapon, sparking suggestions that it was an attempted “copycat” of the attack launched by Khalid Masood a year earlier which had killed six people.
Masood had lived just ten minutes from the suspect’s home in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham, before travelling to London to carry out his attack. Security sources are keen to establish if there is a connection between the pair.
Scotland Yard said the man was not known to counter terror police nor MI5, but sources suggested that he was known to West Midlands Police.
Officers were also on Tuesday night facing questions over a mystery white van which was seen behind the Ford Fiesta driven by the suspect. Another van was seen stopping on the other side of the road in the seconds after the crash. Police and security sources insist the driver was not being followed, however they confirmed an unmarked police van was in the area at the time of the incident. Both police and security sources insisted that the suspect was not being followed, but they did not respond to questions of who the van belonged to.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid who returned from a family holiday to receive a briefing on the attack earlier, did not reveal any new information about the suspect, but promised that police would “provide regular updates”.
“My thoughts are with the members of the public that were injured in this incident and I wish them a speedy recovery,” he said. “I also thank the emergency services for the speed at which they responded.
“We must give police the time they need to do their work and they will provide regular updates. “Work is ongoing to find out more about the incident and we must keep an open mind as to what actually happened.”