A TEAM of elite British Army SAS soldiers will be permanently based in London ready to respond to terror attacks, according to unconfirmed reports from the UK. Yesterday, Khalid Masood’s actions were described as a terrorist attack by Scotland Yard’s Counter-Terrorism Command.
The SAS team will be positioned in a secret location ready to respond to a terrorist event if required, according to a report from the Daily Star, a report the Ministry of Defence has refused to deny.
The announcement comes after so-called rings of steel were installed at tourist sites around London, including the Houses of Parliament, the Mall, Green Park and Constitution Hill. These steel gateways are small enough for people or cyclists to navigate but too narrow for cars.
They were installed overnight several days after 4 people were murdered and dozens wounded by Khalid Masood, who drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, then murdered unarmed police officer Keith Palmer with a knife, before being shot by armed police officers while trying to gain access to the Houses of Parliament.
However, a Met Police spokesperson said the installation of the rings of steel, which are clearly designed to defend against vehicle attacks were not in response to another terror threat.
Meanwhile, former Met Police commander Kevin Hurley criticised apparent deficiencies in security in the UK.
“It beggars belief that a uniformed constable at the front gate of Parliament should be performing his duties when not even armed with a pistol,” Hurley said. “We have seen what a relatively unfit terrorist can do with a knife and car. Imagine if three fit young terrorists armed with AK47s had attacked Parliament. There would have been a very large number of casualties.”
Scotland Yard’s Counter-Terrorism Command said yesterday that Masood had carried out a low-level attack with basic resources under the influence of clarion calls from ISIS leaders via the internet.
Masood used the messenger service Whatsapp to send a message to a burner phone belonging to an unknown suspect just 3 minutes before launching the terrorist atrocity.
Masood’s phone was still connected to the burner through the anonymous messenger service when it was found on his body in the grounds of Parliament after he was shot dead.
Police have appealed to the owner of the burner phone to come forward to assist their investigations.
Meanwhile, a security review is currently underway aimed at protecting Parliament against similar attacks.