London became the scene of the latest European terror attack on Wednesday, as a lone man drove a four-wheel drive vehicle through a crowd of people before going on to stab a police officer to death on the grounds of the UK Parliament. At least five people were killed, with forty more injured, seven of whom were still in critical condition at the time this article was written.
The attacker himself was killed by law enforcement officials at the scene, though police still conducted raids all over the city of London in the hours following the incident, arresting eight people thus far believed to have ties to the man and his attack. According to official statements, the attacker was a British born citizen with a history of ties to extremism, though he was apparently not “part of the current intelligence picture,” according to British Prime Minister Theresa May.
This latest attack, which British authorities believe was inspired by recent acts of international terrorism such as those that occurred in Nice, France and Berlin, Germany last year, demonstrates once again that the risk of terrorism isn’t easily weeded out – even in a country that limits access to firearms as stringently as the UK. A British citizen wielding nothing but a set of keys and an “eight inch” knife irreparably scarred the fabric of London’s citizenry, and extinguished the lives of innocent people for nothing more than attempting to make a political statement. A statement about what? Ironically, that has yet to be determined.
This latest attack isn’t the first time terrorism has reared its head in the historic streets of London. On July 5th, 2005, four coordinated explosions around the city killed fifty-two people and injured more than seven hundred others. On May 22nd, 2013, a British soldier, Lee Rigby, was run down by a car right down the street from his barracks before being stabbed to death by two Muslim extremists that were already the subject of seven different investigations. On December 5th of 2015, a Somali-born man with a history of mental illness launched a knife attack in the London subway, but was fortunately detained before managing to kill anyone.