The knife-wielding terrorist who struck at the heart of Westminster is likely to have timed his attack to coincide with the first anniversary of the Brussels bombings, Britain’s most senior European Union official has said.
Julian King, who is responsible for tackling terror as the EU commissioner for security, said the attack fitted in with a pattern of behaviour also seen in Berlin and Nice, but warned “there’s never going to be 100 per cent security, there’s never going to be zero risk”.
Mr King said the Westminster attack left Brussels “shocked” and that his thoughts were with the victims after the “attack on our democracy”.
It happened as the Belgian capital was marking the March 22 2016 suicide bombings at the airport and on the Metro which killed 32 people and wounded 270, and were claimed by the Islamic State group.
“I don’t think it was a complete accident that this attack took place on the first anniversary of the Brussels attacks, when here in Belgium’s capital we were solemnly recalling the murders of 32 people and the wounding in many cases with life-changing consequences for many more,” King said.
“The methodology of the London attacker fits into a pattern of behaviour which we’ve seen before, which we witnessed in Nice last year and again in Berlin shortly before Christmas, with the transformation of a vehicle, an everyday object, into a weapon against the softest of targets, people like us going about their daily lives posing no threat to anybody.
“What we already knew before this latest attack is that the terrorist threat remains extremely high across Europe.
“An attack which finished at the UK Parliament is an attack on our democracy and I think that is felt and a shared understanding right across the European Union.”
Mr King insisted the EU would not let terrorists who target Europeans’ values and way of life win.
“There’s never going to be 100 per cent security, there’s never going to be zero risk,” he added.
“But we can and will continue to make further attacks as difficult and therefore unlikely as we can.