Salih Khater has been identified as the 29 year old man who drove his car into the Houses of Parliament in the British capital on Tuesday, injuring three people in what police are calling a deliberate act of terrorism. You can see video from the aftermath of that attack here. The police have not yet confirmed the suspect’s name, but multiple news reports announced that the man who was arrested at the scene of the attack this morning is Salih Khater.
Police arrested Khater on the scene, after he allegedly drove his silver Ford Fiesta straight into the Houses of Parliament at about 7:40AM. He is being held in custody without bail and is refusing to cooperate with the police.
Here’s what you need to know about Salih Khater:
1. Khater Allegedly Drove In From Birmingham and Spent Hours Driving Around London Before Plowing into the Houses of Parliament
Police believe that Khater left Birmingham and drove through the night to reach London. His car was spotted in central London, on Tottenham Court Road, at 1:30AM. It was next seen arriving in Westminster (near the Houses of Parliament) at about 6AM. Nobody knows for sure what he was planning to do, or why he apparently drove around the Houses of Parliament for an hour and a half before finally plowing into the security barriers that stand outside the entrance to the House of Lords on London’s St Margaret Street.
Some news reports have speculated that Khater was actually on a “reconnaissance” mission, perhaps gathering information for a future attack, and that he only drove his car at the House of Lords because he got “spooked” by an ambulance that was behind him. There is also speculation that the police was tailing him in unmarked white vans. But at this stage, all of that is purely speculation.
Khater has refused to speak to police or to cooperate in the investigation. Police say they believe that he deliberately drove his car at the Houses of Parliament, and they are treating the incident as an act of terrorism.
2. Khater Is a British Citizen of Sudanese Origin
The UK’s Security Minister, Ben Wallace, confirmed that Khater is a British citizen. Media reports say that Khater is from the Sparbrook area of Birmingham, in the west Midlands.
Khater is originally from Sudan, although it is not clear when he left Sudan to move to the UK.
3. Police Say the Car in the Attack Was Registered to an Address in Nottingham, Where 6 Sudanese People Were Living
Police searched a home on Peveril Street in Nottingham today, following up on a lead. The silver car involved in the attack on the houses of Parliament was registered to that home. Police said the Peveril Street house was home to six Sudanese people.
News reports say police were also seen apparently searching a home on Stratford Road in Birmingham and another address in Birmingham. The Sun says that Khater lives in “a run-down flat above an internet cafe in Sparkhill, Birmingham.
4. Khater Does Not Have Any Previous Criminal Record
Authorities said that Khater does not appear to have any criminal record. He has no known affiliation with terrorist groups, and authorities said they were treating the attack on the Houses of Parliament as a “lone wolf” attack.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said that there is no reason to fear that there will be a follow-up attack, although he added that people should always be vigilant.
5. Authorities Believe Khater Acted ‘Deliberately’ to Attack Parliament
Police in London said that Khater was not previously being watched by MI5, the British spy agency. As far as they know, he isn’t a member of any terrorist organization. But police also stressed that Khater seemed to be acting ‘deliberately’ when he allegedly rammed his car into the Houses of Parliament, injuring three people.