Birmingham raids linked to Westminster attack
Armed police have raided several properties in Birmingham in connection with the terror attack in Westminster.
Officers stormed a second-floor flat above shops on Hagley Road in Ladywood at 23:00 GMT on Wednesday.
Seven arrests have been made in Birmingham with an eighth in London, the Met Police confirmed.
Police named the attacker as Khalid Masood, 52, who was born in Kent and believed to be most recently living in the West Midlands.
The Metropolitan Police said:
- Detectives are searching three addresses linked to the investigation in Birmingham
- A 21-year-old woman and a man, aged 23, were arrested at an address in Birmingham
- A 26-year-old woman and three men aged 28, 27 and 26 were arrested at a separate address in Birmingham
- A 58-year-old man was also arrested on Thursday at a separate address in Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts
- A woman, aged 39, was arrested in east London
- They are being detained under the Terrorism Act
In a statement, the force said: "Overnight our colleagues from the Metropolitan Police have searched a number of addresses across the country and have made a number of arrests in connection with the [Westminster] incident, including addresses in Birmingham.
"The arrests and searches were intelligence led and there was no immediate risk to public safety."
Four people died when an attacker drove a car along a pavement in Westminster, stabbed a policeman, then was shot dead by police in the grounds of the Palace of Westminster.
A further 36 people have been treated in hospital, with seven remaining in a critical condition.
Witnesses to the Birmingham raid said they were locked out of their properties for more than an hour.
Farha Makanvand, the owner of the Hagley Road flat that was raided, said he did not know who the tenants were because they go through a letting agency.
Mr Makanvand, who also owns a restaurant next door, said as a British citizen and British Muslim, he wished to make it clear he was "appalled by this act of violence".
Stuart Bailey, who lives four doors down, was going for a drink with his friend when an armed officer shouted for him to "go left".
The 25-year-old said: "There were a load of armed police in the street and on the pavement and I could see three or four in front of me.
'Break doors down'
"They were all dressed in black and armed with what looked like MP5s and one of them had six ammunition magazines strapped to his leg."
Another witness, Mampreet Kaur, said she locked herself and her baby in their home as police raided the flat.
"It was really, really scary," she said.
Another man who lived in the neighbouring flats said he glanced out of the window and saw about a dozen armed police wearing helmets and body armour.
He said: "There were armed police and some important-looking guys in suits as well.
"They had tools and they were trying to break the doors down, trying to force themselves in.
"We were basically staying in our house. We didn't know what was happening.
"Somebody said it was to do with the attack on Parliament, and now we're very scared and frightened."
The man said he remembered two men living in the flat.
Meanwhile car hire company Enterprise confirmed a Hyundai vehicle from its Spring Hill depot, in Birmingham, was used in the attack.
A spokesperson said: "We can confirm that the car used in the tragic attack in London yesterday afternoon was one of ours.
"An employee identified the vehicle after seeing the licence plate in an image online. We ran another check to verify, and immediately contacted the authorities.
"We will provide any assistance that we can to the investigation."
The West Midlands force said it was increasing security in Birmingham over the next few days.
"We are keen to stress that this additional security is not based on any new or emerging intelligence," it said.
In a statement, the Birmingham Faith Leaders' Group condemned the attack and said: "We implore people to recognise that such actions are taken by individuals, not by whole communities.
"Every day in Birmingham we see examples of creative, productive and supportive relations across the faiths. We should unite in our condemnation and strive to create better, stronger relations with fellow citizens, especially in trying times."