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IS claims responsibility for London attack

Jamaica Gleaner / LONDON (AP): The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility Thursday for an attack by a man who plowed an SUV into pedestrians on one of London’s famous bridges and then stabbed a police officer to death at Britain’s Parliament. In a sombre but defiant statement, Britain’s prime minister declared that “we are not afraid.”

In a sweeping speech before the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the man who killed three people Wednesday before being shot to death by police was born in Britain and once came under investigation for links to religious extremism.

British officials named the attacker as Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old with criminal convictions who was living in the West Midlands, which includes the central city of Birmingham.

Police raided properties in London and Birmingham, and made eight arrests.

A Utah man visiting London with his wife for their 25th anniversary and a British woman who was a school administrator were killed by the SUV attack on Westminster Bridge and 29 others were hospitalised, seven critically. Others were injured and treated at the scene.

May set an unyielding tone Thursday, saluting the heroism of police as well as the ordinary actions of everyone in the British capital who went about their lives in the aftermath.

“As I speak, millions will be boarding trains and aeroplanes to travel to London, and to see for themselves the greatest city on Earth,” she told the House of Commons. “It is in these actions ? millions of acts of normality ? that we find the best response to terrorism. A response that denies our enemies their victory, that refuses to let them win, that shows we will never give in.”

Parliament held a moment of silence Thursday morning to honour the slain officer, Keith Palmer, a 15-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police and a former soldier, as well as the other victims. Then Parliament, which was locked down after the attack, returned to business ? a counter to those who had attacked British democracy.

In the 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Parliament’s buildings, politicians, journalists and parliamentary staff lined up to sign a book of condolences for the victims. Among them was a uniformed policeman, who wrote: “Keith, my friend, will miss you.”

The rampage was the first deadly incident at Parliament since 1979, when Conservative lawmaker Airey Neave was killed in a car bombing by Irish militants.

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