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British-born blamed for London terror attack, eight held

A day after a terror attack in the heart of London left four people dead, police on Thursday identified the lone attacker as a British-born and said eight suspects had been arrested.

Seven of the persons wounded in the Wednesday attack near Parliament were in critical condition, authorities said. Twenty-nine were discharged from hospitals.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. It said the attacker was “a soldier … executing the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition nations”.

Mark Rowley, Acting Deputy Commissioner and head of Counter-Terrorism unit, said the dead included Aysha Frade, a woman who worked at a London college, an unnamed man in his 50s, police officer Keith Palmer and the attacker himself.

At least 40 people were hit on the iconic and crowded Westminster Bridge when the attacker drove a car along the pavement, knocking down unsuspecting pedestrians before crashing into a fence below Big Ben.

He then stabbed the unarmed Palmer on the grounds of Parliament before being shot dead.

Speaking in Parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May said the attacker was investigated some years ago over violent extremism but had been a “peripheral figure”.

“He was not part of the current intelligence picture,” she said. May paid tribute to Palmer: “He was every inch a hero and his actions will never be forgotten.”

She told MPs, many of whom had been caught up in the commotion: “We will never waver in the face of terrorism.”

Rowley said hundreds of detectives worked through the night and searched six addresses, the BBC reported. Inquiries were held in London, Birmingham and other parts of the country.

“This attacker was inspired by international terrorism … Islamist terrorism,” Rowley said.

May said 12 Britons were admitted to hospital. Other victims included four South Koreans, three French children, two Romanians and Greeks each and one each German, Pole, Irish, Chinese, Italian and American.

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