Salih Khater, 29, is a British citizen of Sudanese origin, a source said.
A car was driven into pedestrians and cyclists on Tuesday, Aug. 14, injuring three people before ramming a security barrier outside parliament.
The driver was arrested at the scene, but hasn’t been named yet by police. Police are currently questioning him on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism and attempted murder.
The source told Reuters that Khater was from Birmingham in central England and was not previously known to security services.
The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that Khater had studied accountancy at Coventry University from Sep. 2017 to May 2018 but failed his first year and lost his place.
‘A Terrorist Incident’
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement that they had concluded searching two addresses in Birmingham and another in Nottingham. They continued to search a third address in Birmingham.
“The priority of the investigation team continues to be to understand the motivation behind this incident,” the statement said.
They added, “Given that it appears to have been a deliberate act, the method used, and the iconic location, it is being treated as a terrorist incident.”
Footage obtained from a CCTV camera showed a silver Ford Fiesta veering across the road and into a security lane leading to parliament before smashing into the barrier. No one else was in the vehicle at the time and no weapons have been found.
Police said the car used in the incident drove from Birmingham to London late on Monday, Aug. 13, arriving in London just after midnight. It remained in the Tottenham Court Road area in central London for around four-and-a-half hours before being driven to Westminster where most government departments are located.
“At this early stage, there is no intelligence of further danger to Londoners or the rest of the UK in connection with this incident,” police said.
Not the First Time
The incident could be the second terrorist-related attack in the area around parliament in under 18 months. In March 2017 a British-born Muslim convert killed four people on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman to death, before he was shot dead.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he would like part of Parliament Square to be pedestrianised.
“I’ve been an advocate for a while now of part-pedestrianising Parliament Square, but making sure we don’t lose the wonderful thing about our democracy which is people having access to parliamentarians, people being able to lobby parliament, and visitors being able to come and visit parliament,” he told BBC radio.
But London police chief Cressida Dick said there was a “balance to be drawn.”
“Vehicles are on our streets all the time”, she told LBC radio. “We have crowds on our streets as well. The terrorists want us to completely change our way of life.”
She added, “We’re not going to just change our lifestyle but it is important that we take reasonable measures, as I think we have been doing over the last several months to try to make sure that the most iconic sites, including those in central London, are well protected.”
Reuters contributed to this report.