British PM reveals details of 'lone wolf' attack
Attacker had history of 'violent extremism'
A man, thought to be acting alone but inspired by international terrorism, went on the rampage in the heart of London on Wednesday, killing three people and injuring at least another 40.
He ploughed into pedestrians in a rented SUV (sport utility vehicle) while speeding across the Westminster Bridge towards the Parliament building.
He then fatally stabbed a policeman before he was shot dead by law enforcers.
The attack comes after similar incidents involving solo perpetrators using vehicles as weapons in Nice, France, and Berlin, Germany, last year.
Terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed the London attacker as one of its "soldiers".
Late last night (Singapore time), Scotland Yard identified the Westminster attacker as Khalid Masood, aged 52.
I was shocked by the horrific terrorist attack in Westminster, London... Singapore strongly condemns this attack, and stands in solidarity with the United Kingdom against such acts that attempt to incite fear, create divisions and disrupt our lives.Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in his letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May
He was born in Kent and detectives believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands.
British Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament earlier that he was born in Britain and had been investigated for violent extremism by the MI5 intelligence service "some years ago".
She added: "He was not part of the current intelligence picture."
The police have arrested eight suspects as part of their investigations.
Terrorism experts told The New Paper that "lone wolf" attackers could pose a bigger threat than traditional terror groups.
Centre of Excellence for National Security research fellow Muhammad Faizal Abdul Rahman said: "There is no definitive profile of the lone wolf attacker, making it difficult to predict such attacks.
"Terrorists have been adapting their tactics to avoid detection and counter tight security measures. Unlike terror groups, lone wolf attackers can be more elusive."
Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, head of Policy Studies and coordinator of the National Security Studies Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), said: "When knives, cars and trucks can be "weaponised" at will, how can law enforcement agencies anywhere in the world guard against this 100 per cent all the time?"
RSIS research fellow Joseph Franco thinks that while a lone wolf attack could result in smaller carnage, the psychological damage inflicted could be just as serious.
Mr Franco, who specialises in counter-terrorism, added: "The fact that he chose to target a symbolic spot in London meant that he was trying to make a statement.
"The moment people cower in fear, instead of going about their daily lives, the terrorist would have won."
Prof Ramakrishna believes that countering the threat of lone wolves requires a whole-of-society approach, such as the SGSecure initiative.
He said: "The security and intelligence agencies in Singapore are very good, but they cannot be everywhere all the time.
"They need the active emergency preparedness, as well as the extra eyes and ears of people ranging from religious, community and grassroots leaders to employers and colleagues, even family members and friends of vulnerable individuals.
"More than that, everyone must be mentally prepared to resist the temptation, should an attack occur here, to blame an entire community for the actions of a few misguided individuals.
"This is precisely how ISIS works - it seeks to split multicultural societies into warring factions by violence so as to achieve its goals."