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News Wrap: British officials identify London attacker

March 23, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And in the day’s other news: British police identified the man who drove a car into pedestrians near Parliament yesterday, and fatally stabbed a police officer, before being shot to death himself. Officials called it a lone wolf attack.

Paul Davies of Independent Television News reports from London.

PAUL DAVIES: We know what he did. We now know his name. The man on the stretcher, the man who launched his own attack on democracy yesterday was Khalid Masood. He had been living in the West Midlands, where he hired the car he used as a lethal weapon. He was born in Kent. The so-called Islamic State say he had become one of their soldiers.

Today, because of his actions, flags were flying at half-mast over Parliament, while side-by-side a painstaking investigation into an act of terror was being conducted, as the workings of the democracy he had come to hate were continuing. The prime minister left Downing Street heading for the Commons in a show of business as usual.

THERESA MAY, British Prime Minister: We are not afraid. And our resolve will never waiver in the face of terrorism.

PAUL DAVIES: There has been a huge and deliberate effort to reflect life as normal here, an impression that’s been supported by the reopening of the bridge that was the scene of carnage yesterday.

Aysha Frade, a 43-year-old who worked at a school in London, and Kirk Cochran, a 54-year-old American tourist, had been named as the two pedestrians knocked down and killed yesterday. Seven others who were injured by the terrorist car as it crossed Westminster Bridge are still said to be in critical condition.

They include a Romanian woman seen in this footage falling into the Thames as she tried to avoid the vehicle. Last night, police raided properties in London, Wales and here in Birmingham, an operation that has continued through today.

JUDY WOODRUFF: This evening, another victim of the attack died of her injuries.

In Israel, police arrested a Jewish teenager today, and said he’s the main suspect in dozens of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in the U.S. The man also holds U.S. citizenship. He covered his face with a sweatshirt at a court hearing near Tel Aviv. His lawyer said he has behavioral problems.

GALIT BASH, Attorney: This is a young person, that because of his very, very serious medical condition, didn’t serve in the army, didn’t go to high school, and didn’t go to elementary school. So, that is why the medical condition can actually affect the investigation.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s unclear what the suspect’s motive might have been. His identity is being withheld by order of the court.

The chairman of the Intelligence Committee in the House of Representatives apologized today, after publicly disclosing, and sharing with the president, intelligence intercepts of the Trump transition team. Devin Nunes announced yesterday that these occurred during legal surveillance of foreign nationals.

This and his briefing of the president came without first telling committee Democrats. Today, Nunes said it was a judgment call.

But a Democrat on the committee, California’s Jackie Speier, said that’s not enough.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER, D-Calif.: He just apologized. He didn’t specify what his apology was about. He knows full well that there is grave question about his objectivity. And I think over next few days, we’re going to assess whether or not we feel confident that he can continue in that role.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Democrats accused Nunes of trying to give Mr. Trump cover for unsubstantiated claims that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower. We will look into the partisan fighting over this, and what happens next, after the news summary.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has told U.S. embassies to begin extreme vetting of foreigners applying for visas. Reuters quotes diplomatic cables that ask U.S. officials to identify — quote — “populations warranting increased scrutiny.”

The report says Tillerson also wants mandatory social media checks for any applicant who’s ever been in a territory controlled by the Islamic State group.

The U.N. Refugee Agency is warning that the worst is yet to come for Iraqis in Western Mosul. An estimated 400,000 civilians are trapped in areas still controlled by ISIS fighters, as government troops fight to recapture the city. U.N. officials say they’re in desperate need of food, medical aid and basic supplies. As many as 12,000 have been fleeing each day.

Democrats in the U.S. Senate served notice today that they will try to block confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went to the Senate floor to announce his opposition. He also made clear that a filibuster is coming.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., Minority Leader: After careful deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. His nomination will have a cloture vote. He will have to earn 60 votes for confirmation. My vote will be no. And I urge my colleagues to do the same.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Under the current rule, majority Republicans would need to peel off at least eight Democrats to get to 60 votes. Or they can scrap that rule, allowing Gorsuch to be confirmed by a simple majority.

Meanwhile, the judge’s confirmation hearings wrapped up today, with lawyers, advocacy groups and others getting their say about Gorsuch, for and against.

And on Wall Street, the delay of the health care vote in the House wiped out an early rally. The Dow Jones industrial average lost four points to close at 20656. The Nasdaq fell about four, and the S&P 500 slipped two.

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