Author: Joe Roberts
A 29-year-old man has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after a car was driven at people and police officers outside the Houses of Parliament.
Salih Khater is a Sudanese immigrant who allegedly drove down from his home in Birmingham to bring fresh terror to the streets of London.
He was arrested by armed police from a silver Ford Fiesta on Tuesday morning and taken into police custody, sparking a major counter-terrorism operation.
Police confirmed tonight that prosecutors will be treating the attack as terrorism.
Scotland Yard said: ‘Due to the methodology, iconic location and the alleged targeting of civilians and police officers, the CPS are treating this case as terrorism.’
The attack was a terrible reminder of when lone jihadi Khalid Masood killed three pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge on March 22.
He went on to stab PC Keith Palmer to death outside the Houses of Parliament before he was gunned down by officers.
Fortunately, no one died in this week’s attack, but it did leave one person with serious injuries in hospital. It prompted a massive operation in the West Midlands, with armed police searching several properties in Birmingham and Nottingham in the days following Khater’s arrest.
At the time, Steven O’Donnell, 35 from Birmingham, told Metro.co.uk : ‘We’ve been driving through Birmingham from Sparkbrook, through Digbeth and Newtown and have never seen so many police.
‘We have seen several unmarked cars with armed police in as well as the normal uniformed lot. ‘They all seemed very twitchy, we were glad to get home, because we knew something was going on.’
Theresa May urged the country to carry on as normal in the wake of the attack and said the terror threat to the UK remains severe.
One of Khater’s friends said he has known the terror suspect for eight years and he believes the current narrative is a ‘lie’.
Anwar Mukhta told ITV News: ‘It is an accident, it’s nothing to do with terrorists, it’s nothing to do with any organisation that tried to make an attack to any Government department.’
The suspect’s brother, Abdullah Khater, told the BBC he was a ‘normal person’ and that their family, who are originally from Darfur, were in a ‘state of shock’.
Residents who knew the former accountancy student at Coventry University have described him as a quiet man who frequently visited the Bunna Internet Cafe on Stratford Road in Birmingham.
One customer, who would only give his name as Adam, said he had been served coffee by Khater and that he was a polite and apparently humble man. ‘I am still in shock. I’ve known him for about a year and he is a very, very good man,’ he said.
Khater will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday.