Man Suspected Of Terrorism Attack On UK Parliament

Footage on social media showed police response units arriving outside London's parliament; a number of pedestrians have been injured

 Share
EMAIL
PRINT
COMMENTS
Man Suspected Of Terrorism Attack On UK Parliament

Police have arrested the driver of the car


London: 

British police said they believe a man deliberately drove a car into pedestrians and cyclists on Tuesday before ramming it into barriers outside London's parliament in what appeared to be the second terrorism attack on the building in just under 18 months.

Three people were injured after the vehicle was driven through a group of cyclists and pedestrians during the early morning rush hour before smashing into a protective barrier on a lane used for accessing parliament.

The driver, a man in his 20s, was arrested by armed officers at the scene moments later.

"Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method, and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident," London Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.

In March 2017, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four people on nearby Westminster Bridge and stabbed to death an unarmed police officer in the grounds of parliament before being shot dead.

It was the first of five attacks on Britain last year which police blamed on terrorism, three of which involved vehicles being used as a weapon.

Basu said the suspect in Tuesday's incident was in custody but was not co-operating with detectives. Although he had not been formally identified, the man was not believed to be known to security forces, Basu added.

"At this early stage of the investigation, no other suspects at the scene have been identified or reported to police," Basu said. "There is no intelligence of further danger to Londoners or the rest of the UK in connection with this incident."

Police said a silver Ford Fiesta had collided with a number of cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament at 0637 GMT. No other weapons had been found, Basu said.

Camera footage showed the vehicle taking a wrong turn into a group of cyclists waiting at traffic lights before veering across the road and into a lane leading to parliament before hitting the barrier as two police officers jumped to safety.

Two people were taken to hospital and one woman was still receiving treatment for serious but not life-threatening injuries.

Armed officers swarmed the scene and cordoned off a large area around the parliament building in central London, usually bustling with tourists and government workers.

"IT LOOKED PLANNED"

"I saw the cyclists, injured cyclists. I don't know if he's hit these people, or if they've just dived to escape," witness Jason Williams told reporters. "It didn't swerve, there was not another car going behind him. It looked like it was planned."

Images shot by a Euronews journalist showed police pointing their guns at the vehicle shortly after the crash. Footage on social media showed a handcuffed man being led away by heavily armed police.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who like other lawmakers is on holiday during parliament's summer recess, said her thoughts were with the people injured. Government security officials were due to hold a meeting of their emergency committee at 1300 GMT to discuss the incident.

"All Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city," London's Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who has previously spoken out about security issues in London, also commented on the incident.

"These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength," Trump said on Twitter.

Westminster Underground station, close to parliament, was closed to the public and the building cordoned off.

Nigel Evans, a lawmaker from May's Conservative Party, said the incident had shown security measures at parliament were effective but might still need to be reviewed.

"I'm sure that (debate about) pedestrianisation of Parliament Square and which vehicles should be able to access so closely in parliament will be reignited," he told BBC TV.

Britain is on its second-highest threat level of "severe", meaning an attack is considered highly likely and the authorities say a dozen Islamist plots had been foiled since Masood's attack in Westminster last year.

Last week, a Muslim convert admitted plotting to kill more than 100 people by driving a truck into pedestrians on London's Oxford Street, the capital's major shopping thoroughfare.

In October last year, 11 people were injured when a car collided with pedestrians near London's Natural History Museum, raising fears of an attack, but police later said the incident was a road traffic accident.

Britain's counter-terrorism police chief said investigators believe a man deliberately drove a car into pedestrians before crashing into barriers outside parliament on Tuesday and the arrested suspect was not cooperating with detectives.

"Our priority now is to formally establish the identity of the suspect and establish his motivation if we can. He is not currently cooperating," London Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu told reporters.

"Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method, and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident."

Two people were injured when a car drove into security barriers outside the British parliament on Tuesday and the driver was arrested, emergency services said, with counter-terrorism police leading the investigation into the incident.

Neither of those hurt were believed to have suffered serious injuries and police said they were trying to piece together what had happened.

s98psq7c

Police officers stand at a cordon after a car crashed outside the UK Parliament (Reuters)

"While we are keeping an open mind, the Met's Counter-Terrorism Command is leading the investigation into the #Westminster incident," London's Metropolitan Police said on Twitter.

Earlier, police said the male driver of the car had been arrested at the scene of the crash which occurred at 0637 GMT.

Witness Jason Williams said the car had struck a barrier on a lane used for access to the parliament building with force. He said he thought it was deliberate.

"It's a very serious incident," he told reporters. "There was smoke coming from the vehicle."

Images shot by a Euronews journalist showed police pointing their guns at a vehicle. Footage on social media showed a handcuffed man being led away by heavily armed police. Other footage showed a cyclist lying on the street.

"I saw the cyclists, injured cyclists. I've seen people, about 10, on the road, lying down, but I haven't seen any fatalities," Williams said.

London's Ambulance Service said it had treated two people for injuries at the scene and they had been taken to hospital. Their injuries were not believed to be serious.

Westminster Underground station, close to parliament, was closed to the public and the building cordoned off.

sejk9k6o

Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu speaks to the media.(Reuters)

Parliament is in summer recess and most lawmakers are not using the building. Prime Minister Theresa May is on holiday abroad.

In March 2017, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four people on nearby Westminster Bridge before he stabbed to death an unarmed police officer in the grounds of parliament. He was shot dead at the scene. It was the first of five attacks on Britain last year which police blamed on terrorism.

Britain is on its second highest threat level of "severe", meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

Last week, a Muslim convert admitted plotting to kill more than 100 people by driving a truck into pedestrians on London's Oxford Street, the capital's major shopping thoroughfare.

In October last year, 11 people were injured when a car collided with pedestrians near London's Natural History Museum, raising fears of an attack, but police later said the incident was a road traffic accident.

© Thomson Reuters 2018


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


Get Breaking news, live coverage, and Latest News from India and around the world on NDTV.com. Catch all the Live TV action on NDTV 24x7 and NDTV India. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.

NDTV Beeps - your daily newsletter

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................

................................ Advertisement ................................