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Asylum Seeker Terror Suspect Granted British Citizenship Just Weeks Before Failed Attack

salih-khater
Salih Khater / Facebook

The man being held by counter-terror police in relation to an apparent attempted attack against the Palace of Westminster was granted British citizenship just weeks before his arrest.

Salih Khater, the 29-year-old Birmingham resident who was pulled out of his crashed silver Ford Fiesta car early on Tuesday morning after it was driven through a crowd of cyclists and smashed into a security barrier at speed, came to the United Kingdom in 2010 as an asylum seeker.

The Sudanese-origin male came to Britain after spending two years in Libya, and was granted asylum by the British government. Just weeks before what police are treating as an attempted terror attack, Khater was granted full British citizenship, according to sources quoted by the British Times newspaper.

A friend of Khater who spoke to the newspaper said he was religious, and a Muslim, but not religious enough to go to mosque regularly.

Latest reports indicate detectives still haven’t been able to discern a motive for Khater’s actions. He is said to be acting “uncooperatively” with officers. Such is the lack of progress, British security services were granted an extension to the maximum time for questioning by a judge on Thursday morning.

Without that extra time, officers would have to either charge Khater or release him — now they have until Monday to make that decision.

Further details about Khater have emerged since his arrest.  Bereaved by the death of his father and brother in Sudan in 2017, Khater was expelled from Coventry University earlier this year for having failed his first year accounting examinations. He previously studied science at a Birmingham college.

Members of the Birmingham Sudanese community said they believed Khater was heading to London to get a visa to visit family in his native Sudan. After arriving in the capital in the early hours of Tuesday morning by car, Khater spent several hours driving around the Tottenham Court Road and Westminster areas before accelerating through a group of cyclists.

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