Suspect believed to be Salih Khater, 29, who is of Sudanese origin and from Birmingham

A man has been held on suspicion of terrorism offences after a gondola was driven into pedestrians and cyclists before crashing outside parliament in Westminster, as Downing Street exposed dominions were working on hundreds of live counter-terrorism investigations.

The suspect, a 29 -year-old British national, was arrested at the incident after armed police officers swooped on a silver Ford Fiesta that had gate-crashed into defence impediments on St Margaret Street at about 7.40 am on Tuesday.

The Guardian understands his figure is Salih Khater, who lives in the Sparkbrook area of Birmingham and is of Sudanese origin.

Scotland Yard said the man was not known to the security services and was not cooperating with analyse men, but owing to the crash appearing to be deliberate and the location it was being treated as a suspected terrorist attack.

The car travelled to London from Birmingham on Monday night and spent the time between around 1.25 am and 5.55 am in the Soho area, before displacing to Westminster and Whitehall at about 6am where it remained before the incident an hour and 40 minutes later, police said.

Two residences in Birmingham and one in Nottingham were scoured on Tuesday. Roger Godsiff, the MP for Birmingham Hall Green, said:” Today’s attack at Westminster was carried out by an individual who is believed to have been living in my own constituency in Birmingham .”

Nottinghamshire police said they were supporting counter-terrorism policemen as they researched a residential property in the Radford area of the city. The address is thought to be a flat on Peveril Street.

Neighbours told the Press Association that the house, shared by tenants, is host to six Sudanese parties. Ibrahim Ahmed, 24, who lives in the same terrace row, said:” It’s Sudanese people who live there .”

The Nottingham Post was pointed out that the car involved in the incident was registered to an address in Nottingham. The current proprietor of motor vehicles bought it on 20 June this year.

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Two men as well as one wife injured during the gate-crash. One was treated at the background and two were taken to hospital and eventually discharged.

Theresa May said the threat level to the UK remained at severe, gist an attack was considered highly likely. The prime minister’s spokesman said the security services and counter-terrorism police were carrying out 676 live investigations at the end of June, up from more than 500 in March.

He said 13 Islamist schemes and four patches by far-right fanaticals had been foiled in the past 18 months.

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, urged people to” retain an open thought” about what had happened.” There are understandably a lot of questions about the incident … The instruct I have received from counter-terrorism police and the security services is that work is ongoing and they are doing everything they can to find out more ,” he said.

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Police recover the silver-tongued Ford Fiesta. Photograph: Yui Mok/ PA

Kirsty Moseley, 31, one of the most significant witnesses to the attack, told the Guardian the motorist did not shout or said so as the car collided with as many as 15 cyclists, and he showed “focused”.

CCTV footage proved the car swerve across a central reservation near Parliament Square and then accelerate down St Margaret Street before gate-crashing into barriers. Pedestrians were construed leaping out of its path.

The stages had echoes of the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017, which stimulated the increase of steel and concrete security roadblocks around the Houses of Parliament. Khalid Masood ploughed a automobile into bunches on the connection, killing four beings, before thrust and killings an unarmed PC, Keith Palmer.

Another witness to Tuesday’s crash, Ewalina Ochab, said:” The automobile drove at accelerate and towards the barriers. I was marching on the other side[ of the road ]. I learn some noise and someone screamed .”

She said the car did not appear to have a front registration plate.” I turned around and I realise a silver automobile driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the sidewalk. The being driving did not go out of the vehicle .”

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Houses of Parliament: armed police swoop on crashed gondola- video

Streets around Parliament Square, Millbank and Victoria Tower Gardens were cordoned off and the length of Whitehall was closed to traffic after the incident. Westminster tube station was closed for a period before reopening.

Speaking outside New Scotland Yard, Neil Basu, the head of counter-terrorism policing in the UK, said:” Given that this appears to be a deliberate attack, appropriate methods and this being an iconic place, we are treating it as a terrorist occurrence .”

May, who is on holiday in Italy, was informed of the incident at 8am and was given regular updates by officials. In the following statement released by Downing Street, she praised the” formidable gallantry” and professionalism of the emergency services who” operated towards a hazardous place in order to protect the public “.

She said:” The menace to the United Kingdom from terrorism remains severe. I would counsel the public to remain vigilant but also to come together and carry on as ordinary, just as they did after the nauseating assaults in Manchester and London last year. The twisted propose of the fanaticals is to use violence and terror to divide us. They will never supersede .”

May’s spokesman said the current terror threat was ” one of the starkest that we’ve faced. The quality of the terrorist threat is changing, and so must our response. Between 2010 and 2017 there are still 2,029 horror arrests in Great Britain; 412 were formed in 2017. That is the highest since records began .”

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Westminster gondola clang: handcuffed guy taken away by police- video

Security officials deemed a Cobra meeting on Tuesday, chaired by the deputy national protection adviser, Madeleine Alessandri, and attended by Basu and representatives from the mayor of London’s office.

Downing Street said it was clear the security measures currently in place around the Palace of Westminster had worked effectively and significant numbers of police had been participating in the incident immediately.

No plans ought to have formed for May to return from her stroll holiday in Italy. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, is the most senior minister currently in the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, said:” My speculations are with those hurt and injured outside parliament this morning in what is being treated as a terrorist happen. Our thanks go to our emergency services who have replied immediately. Their bravery hinders us safe daytime in, daylight out .”

The US president, Donald Trump, tweeted:” Another terrorist attack in London … These animals are crazy and must be treated through toughness and forte !”

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