Westminster crash terror suspect charged
THE suspected terrorist who ploughed through a group of cyclists and pedestrians in London with his car before ramming a security gate at the Westminster Houses of Parliament has been charged.
London's Metropolitan Police named the man, 29-year-old Salih Khater, for the first time when announcing he had been charged with two counts of attempted murder late on Saturday local time.
He has not been charged with any terrorism offences, but Scotland Yard said it was still treating the incident as a case of terrorism.
"Salih Khater of Highgate Street, Birmingham, a Sudanese-born UK national, will appear in custody at Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday, 20 August, charged with the attempted murder of members of the public and the attempted murder of police officers," the Met said in a statement.
"The charges follow an incident in which Khater drove his car into a stationary group of members of the public then at police officers, before crashing into the barriers outside the House of Parliament.
"Due to the methodology, iconic location and the alleged targeting of civilians and police officers, the CPS are treating this case as terrorism."
The first count of attempted murder relates to the car crashing through the group of cyclists and pedestrians, three of whom were injured, at 7.37am Tuesday, August 14.
He is then alleged to have attempted to kill two police officers stationed at the security gate leading into Westminster palace.
The officers dived out of the way as Khater, driving at up to 80 kilometres per hour, according to witnesses, sped into the gate, which did not give way.
His silver Ford Fiesta came to a complete stop as heavily armed emergency response police officers arrived on scene and arrested him at gunpoint.
The area was cordoned off for several hours as police searched for weapons and explosives.
Khater was taken to a south London police station where he has been held on suspicion of preparing for a terrorist act.
Police said he had been uncooperative.
It later emerged Khater had driven from Birmingham the night before and had driven through the streets of Westminster for two hours before the incident.
His friends and family said he had been in London to apply for a visa to visit his native Sudan.
He had been granted UK citizenship only two weeks earlier.