A Sudanese immigrant known to police is thought to be behind another terror attack on Westminster after ploughing his car into 15 cyclists outside Parliament.
Salih Khater, 29, veered off the road careering into pedestrians and cyclists at Parliament Square, after spending the night cruising around London.
There were screams as the Ford Fiesta mounted the pavement and mowed people down at up to 50mph at 7.37am.
In a chilling echo of Khalid Masood’s murderous rampage on Westminster 17 months ago, the driver, from Birmingham, sped towards the Palace of Westminster – narrowly missing two police officers guarding the access road who jumped out of his path. He then smashed into a security barrier outside Parliament.
Despite hitting at least 15 cyclists and pedestrians during rush hour, no one was killed with only one female cyclist seriously injured.
Within minutes the driver, dressed in a white shirt, jeans and a black puffa jacket, was dragged from the driving seat of the crumpled vehicle by armed officers.
The terror suspect – thought to be a lone wolf – remained strangely calm and utterly silent, offering no resistance as he was handcuffed.
Police found no weapons or explosives.
Last night it emerged Khater, who was said to be of Sudanese origin, drove from his rundown flat in Hall Green, Birmingham, to London on Monday evening arriving just after midnight.
He spent all night driving around central London, cruising around tourist hotspots such as Tottenham Court Road between 1.25am and 5.55am.
He then spent 90 minutes driving around Whitehall and Westminster, leading to suspicions he may have been hunting for large crowds of tourists to target.
The man had not spoken a word since being arrested despite hours of questioning last night.
Officers have raided two addresses in Birmingham and one in Nottingham where the vehicle was registered.
The terror suspect is understood to have moved out of a run down flat above an Internet café almost four months ago. Khater is thought to have lived alone at the flat in the Sparkhill area of Birmingham.
A worker at the Bunna Internet café below the flat said police visited the premises and took away at least one of the computers.
Officers were seen leaving with evidence contained in clear plastic bags.
The worker claimed he saw the suspect inside the café the day before he drove to London.
One man outside the shop, who did not want to be named, said: ‘The police came to the café and took away evidence.’
Hours after the attack, Britain’s head of counter terrorism announced the suspect was not known to Scotland Yard or MI5 for any previous terrorist activity.
But last night it emerged he was an immigrant known to West Midlands police. Security minister Ben Wallace said the suspect was born in another country but had been given British citizenship.
The vehicle that police say he used ‘deliberately’ as a weapon was written off by insurers last autumn and had failed an MOT as it had problems with headlights, a hand brake lever and the steering rack.
But it was put back on the road and sold again eight weeks ago.
The attack was caught on CCTV showing the car swerve the wrong way down the road and veering across a pedestrian crossing through crowds of cyclists waiting at a set of traffic lights.
He hit a female cyclist who was left lying motionless in the road suffering from a suspected broken hip, while other injured cyclists lay sprawled in the road by their mangled bikes.
A man and the female cyclist were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and were later discharged. Robert Nicholson was heading to work and waiting in a ‘safe cycling box’ near Parliament when the man struck.
He said: ‘There were about 15 cyclists there. All of a sudden, whipping round the corner – just from the traffic lights – was this small car and just rammed straight through the group of ten to 15 cyclists that were stood there.’
One cyclist, a management consultant, told MailOnline how he cheated death as the speeding car ploughed past him – knocking down the cyclist next to him.
‘People were thrown everywhere. [He had] two hands on the steering wheel and he did not look back over his shoulder to look at the damage he’d created – he was just looking deadpan straight in front of him.’
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said ‘we must keep an open mind’ about the suspected terror attack. He added: ‘The briefing 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 about the incident.’