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UK attacker’s wife ‘saddened and shocked’; security added

The wife of the man who killed four people outside Britain’s Parliament last week condemned the attack Tuesday, saying she is “saddened and shocked.”

“I express my condolences to the families of the victims that have died, and wish a speedy recovery to all the injured,” Rohey Hydara said in statement released through London police. Khalid Masood’s widow added: “I would like to request privacy for our family, especially the children, at this difficult time.”

Police believe Masood a 52-year-old Briton with convictions for violent crimes who had spent two years in Saudi Arabia acted alone in last Wednesday’s knife and car attack. But they are trying to determine whether others helped inspire or direct his actions. The so-called Islamic State group has claimed he was a “soldier” responding to its repeated calls for attacks on western nations. Police say they have found “no evidence” of any links to Islamic State or al-Qaida.

Masood was killed by police after fatally stabbing an officer and running down pedestrians with his rented SUV. It was the deadliest extremist attack in Britain in 12 years. Police say there is no intelligence suggesting further attacks are planned, but police presence has been increased at some London sites and also outside Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favored residences. Thames Valley Police said Monday night that extra security barriers are being placed around the castle before the next ‘Changing the Guard’ ceremony planned for Wednesday.

“While there is no intelligence to indicate a specific threat to Windsor, recent events in Westminster clearly highlight the need for extra security measures to be introduced,” said assistant chief Dave Hardcastle.

Security services knew of glaring weakness in Parliament security after ‘war game’ simulating attack on Westminster …

WAR ON TERROR

Exercise revealed four gunmen could drive through Carriage Gates and massacre ministers inside the Commons

SECURITY services were aware of gaps in Parliament s security after a simulated attack ended with most MPs being killed, it has been claimed. A source quoted by the Sunday Times claimed a table-top exercise revealed four terrorists with automatic weapons could shoot their way into the House of Commons.

Security Services Knew Of Glaring Weakness In Parliament Security After 'war Game' Simulating Attack On Westminster ...

Reuters

Armed cops stand at Parliament s Carriage Gates after the attack

After speeding through Parliament s open Carriage Gates the same ones Khalid Masood charged through before stabbing PC Keith Palmer to death the gunmen were able to enter the chamber during a vote. The chilling result of the fictional scenario was that most of the MPs died , the source told the paper.

The war game, which took place within the last year, throws a disturbing light on security lapses during last week s terror attack at the Palace of Westminster.

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Questions are now being asked about why there were no armed cops posted to the vulnerable Carriage Gates when Islamist fanatic Masood ran through them brandishing two knives on Wednesday. And when the attacker was eventually shot dead, it was not by officers assigned to guard Parliament but by plainclothes protection officers assigned to Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon. The cops happened to be waiting nearby in the minister s car and reacted decisively to prevent Masood from entering the Commons.

One MP asked this weekend why the unarmed officers posted to the gates had received no warning as Masood headed towards them after mowing down scores of people on Westminster Bridge.

Security Services Knew Of Glaring Weakness In Parliament Security After 'war Game' Simulating Attack On Westminster ...

Reuters

A security review is expected to consider closing the Carriage Gates Breakdown of the Westminster terror attack that lasted 82 seconds

The gates which were open so MPs could drive in to attend a vote also remained unprotected for several minutes after the attack. Footage has emerged of a motorcycle delivery courier riding through them while officers battled to save Palmer’s life. A security review is now expected to consider either stationing firearms officers permanently at the Carriage Gates or closing them entirely.

Officials are also set to examine whether to increase the number of electronically locked doors amid claims that, if Masood had not been killed, he could have reached the PM in the Commons via three unlocked doors.


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Iran strikes back at US with ‘reciprocal’ sanctions

Iran on Sunday sanctioned what it described as 15 American companies, alleging they support terrorism, repression and Israel’s occupation of land Palestinians want for a future state, likely in retaliation for sanctions earlier announced by the U.S. The wide-ranging list from an American real estate company to a major arms manufacturer appeared more symbolic than anything else as the firms weren’t immediately known to be doing business anywhere in the Islamic Republic. A Foreign Ministry statement carried by the state-run IRNA news agency said the sanctions barred companies from any agreements with Iranian firms and that former and current directors would not be eligible for visas. It also said any of the company’s assets in Iran could be seized.

“The sanctioned companies have, directly and/or indirectly, been involved in the brutal atrocities committed by the Zionist regime in the occupied Palestinian territories, or they have supported the regime’s terrorist activities and Israel’s development of Zionist settlements on the Palestinian soil,” the IRNA report said.

The IRNA report referred to the sanctions as a “reciprocal act,” without elaborating. Iran’s new sanctions comes after the Trump administration in February sanctioned more than two dozen people and companies in retaliation for a recent ballistic missile test. The companies named did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday. They included ITT Corp., missile-maker Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. Denver’s Re/Max Holdings Inc., a real estate company, also made the list. Another firm on the list, truck maker Oshkosh, has worked closely with Israeli armored products maker Plasan, including on the Sand Cat armored vehicle that is used by several countries, including Israel. The Israeli Defense Ministry is reportedly seeking to buy some 200 tactical trucks from the Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based company.

Kahr Arms and Magnum Research, two sanctioned firms which share the same parent company, advertise .44-caliber Magnum and .50-caliber “Desert Eagle” pistols a product line that previously has been made in Israel. Meanwhile, a senior Iranian lawmaker said Iran would consider a bill branding the U.S. military and the CIA as terrorist groups if the U.S. Congress passes a bill designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Allaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee, was quoted by Iranian state television as saying the move to further sanction the Revolutionary Guard goes against the 2015 nuclear deal Iran reached with the United States and other world powers.

The nuclear deal saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of some economic sanctions. In the time since, Chicago-based Boeing Co. has struck a $16.6 billion deal with Iran for passenger planes. Tehran and Washington have had no diplomatic relations since 1979, when militant students stormed the U.S. Embassy and took 52 Americans hostages for 444 days. Tensions eased slightly with the nuclear deal struck by moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, though hard-liners have detained those with Western ties in the time since. Sunday’s sanctions announcement also comes ahead of a May presidential election in which Rouhani is expected to seek re-election.