London victims′ families unite for Westminster memorial | News | DW | 05.04.2017
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London victims' families unite for Westminster memorial

Members of the royal family joined government officials and police at a memorial service for the victims of a recent terror attack. The "service of hope" comes two weeks after the rampage outside British parliament.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry joined those injured in the March 22 London terror attack, and victims' families for a service of remembrance on Wednesday.

Some 1,800 people, including police, ambulance workers and fire fighters who helped victims of the attack attended the multi-faith service together with Home Secretary Amber Rudd, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Muslim and Jewish leaders.

The service in Westminster Abbey commemorates the four people killed by a lone attacker who drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a police officer outside the Houses of Parliament.

Among those at the abbey was Melissa Cochran, whose husband Kurt, 54, was killed in the attack. The couple, from Utah in the United States, had been celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in London when they were caught up in 90-second rampage.

The other victims were Aysha Frade, 44, who worked at a London sixth-form college, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, from south London, and 48-year-old father-of-two Police Constable Keith Palmer.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend John Hall, also mentioned the dozens of others injured in the attack, before police shot dead the attacker in the Parliament courtyard.

Hall thanked the police and security services for their "vigilance and dedication ... in their vital work of keeping our communities and nations safe from terror and random violence."

"What happened a fortnight ago leaves us bewildered," Hall said. "What could possibly motivate a man to hire a car and take it from Birmingham to Brighton to London, and then drive it fast at people he had never met, couldn't possibly know, against whom he had no personal grudge, no reason to hate them and then run at the gates of the Palace of Westminster to cause another death? It seems likely that we shall never know."

"At a time of sorrow, a time when we are tempted to despair, may we find hope," he added.

Before the service, Prince William placed a wreath at the abbey's Innocent Victims Memorial, a slate circle that remembers those who have suffered war, death, torture and oppression worldwide.

Police later identified the attacker as Khalid Masood. The 52-year-old British citizen had several convictions for violence but had not been not under active counter-terrorism surveillance, police said.

While Masood had an "interest in jihad," police said they found no evidence of any direct link to Islamic State or other terrorist groups.

mcm/rc (AP, dpa)

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