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UK Parliament terror alert: Three dead amid London carnage

[Update 4:47]

Three people died and at least 20 were injured when an attacker rammed a car into crowds of people before stabbing a police officer in the grounds of the UK Parliament in London.

The assault, which came on the one-year anniversary of the ISIS bomb attacks in Brussels, brought carnage to Westminster, the heart of political life in Britain.

A police officer was among the three killed, police said, announcing a “full counter-terrorism investigation.” The assailant was shot dead by police.

Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack as “sick and depraved,” saying that attempts to defeat the values Parliament represents through violence would be “doomed to failure.”

“The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech,” she said.

Parliament was placed on lockdown and lawmakers were forced to remain in the main debating chamber of the House of Commons as firearms officers rushed to the scene outside.

Pictures showed scenes of carnage in the aftermath of the attack, which happened as Parliament was in session. One member of the British government gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one of those injured.

“This is a day that we had planned for — that we all hoped would never happen — but sadly it is now a reality,” said Mark Rowley, Britain’s most senior counter-terror police officer.

Incident began near Westminster Bridge

The area around Westminster was teeming with people when the attack began at around 2.40pm. Witnesses said the attacker drove his car over Westminster Bridge and into the crowds. The vehicle hit a large number of people including three police officers.

“The car then crashed near to Parliament and at least one man — armed with a knife — continued the attack, trying to enter Parliament,” said Rowley, the national lead for Counter-Terrorism Policing. He said three people and the attacker were killed. One of those who died was a woman, and another was a police officer defending Parliament from the attack, he said.

Proceedings in the House of Commons were suspended with dozens of MPs locked inside.

Police put the Westminster area on lockdown, securing roads, Parliament buildings and the Westminster underground station. The zone was soon expanded to a larger part of central London, including the London Eye ferris wheel, which was halted for hours with people still on it. They have since been let off.

The London Ambulance Service treated at least 10 patients on Westminster Bridge.

In the chaos, a woman was pulled from the River Thames alive, but with serious injuries.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones and to everyone who has been affected,” he said, paying tribute to the emergency services.

He announced the deployment of additional armed officers on the streets of the British capital. “We stand together in the face of those who would seek to harm us and destroy our way of life,” he added. “Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”

Police appealed for anyone with photos or video of the incident to contact them.

Prime Minister Theresa May called a meeting of COBRA, the UK’s emergency Cabinet committee.

US President Donald Trump spoke with May on the phone after learning of the attack, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Mark Toner, acting spokesperson for the US State Department, said officials were closely following the situation.

“Our hearts go out to those affected. We stand ready to assist in any way the UK authorities would find helpful,” he said.

Eyewitnesses report chaotic scenes

People were photographed running in a panic from the scene, while witnesses told CNN they saw the car ram into a crowd.

Robyn Lyon, 34, from Rugby, said he was walking along Westminster Bridge when he saw the vehicle.

“I saw a car, the crunch of car, hitting the curb. I kind of thought the guy had maybe had a heart attack or something,” he said.

“The accelerator suddenly picked up so you had that revving. I expected it to hit the bridge wall and then stop, and then turn back carry up the pavement. It hit several people. I jumped out the way into a road.”

“I stood in shock and saw carnage around me and the car carrying on up the bridge.”

Another witness, Radek Sikorski, said he saw one of the victims bleeding heavily from the head and another lying unconscious.

Richard Poet, 62, who was visiting London from Brighton and his partner were leaving the Tate Britain gallery when he heard “great crashes.”

“I thought it was a wrecking ball. It didn’t sound like guns or anything.”

Craig Meichan, 20, a student from Ormskirk near Liverpool, was on a field trip with around 15 others and had left Parliament just a moment before. He was shaking as he told CNN his party was separated into three groups.

“It sounded like a car backfiring, police began shouting and they started cordoning off the area,” he said, adding that he believed his tutor was still locked inside.

“I’m a bit shaken up, you never expect this to happen to you. When it does it’s an indescribable feeling.”

Chaos in Parliament

As the incident unfolded outside, Leader of the House of Commons, David Lidington, told MPs a serious incident had taken place “within the estate.” Proceedings were suspended and MPs were locked inside the main debating chamber.

Lidington told MPs that it appeared a police officer has been stabbed and that the assailant had been shot by armed police.

Conservative MP Damian Collins told CNN that he was walking through an underground tunnel from his office to vote in the chamber with about 30 other MPs when he heard shouting followed by two gunshots. Police shouted for the MPs to get down on the ground.

“Clearly something serious had happened but no one was being told what was going on,” he said. “The instant response from the police was incredible — they seemed on top of the situation straight away.”

Chris Doyle, Director of Council for Arab-British Understanding, who was at a restaurant at Parliament at the time, described a moment of sudden panic.

“We were in the terrace restaurant when there was a series of panicked male shouts. Everyone started getting under tables. Under the sofa by me was a small child. Only after several minutes did people get up. It became clear it was the police,” he said.

“We still did not know what had happened, if there was a bomb, a gunman a fire. The police directed everyone — MPs, Lords, cooks, waiters, visitors and schoolchildren — to the central lobby.

Members of parliament were locked in and asked to keep away from windows.

Hundreds were later evacuated from the Parliament buildings after hours locked inside. Labour MP Barry Sheerman posted an image on Twitter showing lawmakers in the House in the evening with food and drink.

Member of Parliament gives assistance

A member of the government, Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood, was pictured giving assistance to a victim in New Palace Yard, a courtyard within the grounds of Parliament.

A fellow Conservative Party MP, Maria Miller said he had “given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one victim,” the Press Association said.

Eyewitness Hugh Dickinson, a 21-year-old student from High Wycombe, posted a picture of the minister on Twitter, showing the minister bleeding, but saying “he looked to be fine.”

[Update 4:30]

At least three people died and 20 were injured when an attacker rammed a car into crowds of people before stabbing a police officer in the grounds of the UK Parliament.

One woman was pulled alive from the River Thames amid chaos in the area, the heart of political life in Britain. The assailant also died, police said, announcing a “full counter-terrorism investigation”.

Parliament was placed on lockdown and lawmakers were forced to remain in the main debating chamber of the House of Commons as firearms officers responded to the incident outside.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the incident was “being treated as a terrorist attack until the police know otherwise.”

Pictures showed scenes of carnage in the aftermath of the attack, which happened as parliament was in session. One member of the British government gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one of those injured.

Latest developments

  • Three people are confirmed to have died during the incident.
  • Police officer stabbed in the grounds of the UK Parliament.
  • Attacker was also killed in the incident.
  • Large section of central London in lockdown.
  • Gates to Buckingham Palace closed.
  • Social media video shows bodies strewn on Westminster bridge.
  • Witnesses describe pedestrians mowed down by car.

Incident began near Westminster Bridge
London’s Metropolitan Police said on Twitter they were called at approximately 2:40 pm to reports of a firearms incident. Proceedings in the House of Commons were suspended with dozens of MPs locked inside.

Images emerged of a car crashed into the perimeter gate of Parliament, and witnesses later told CNN that they saw the vehicle mow down pedestrians.

Police soon put the Westminster area on lockdown, securing roads, Parliament buildings and the Westminster underground station. But that zone soon expanded to a larger part of central London.

The London Eye, popular with tourists, was among areas in lockdown.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “There has been a serious incident near to Parliament Square this afternoon which is being treated as a terrorist attack until the police know otherwise.

“I have spoken to the Acting Commissioner. The Metropolitan Police Service is dealing with the incident and an urgent investigation is underway. My thoughts are with those affected and their families.

“I would like to express my thanks to the police and emergency services who work so hard to keep us safe and show tremendous bravery in exceptionally difficult circumstances.

Police said in a statement that a full response unit had been sent to the scene, along with ambulance crews and air ambulances.

“We have declared a major incident and our priority is to assess patients and ensure that they are treated and taken to hospital as soon as possible.”

Police appealed for anyone with photos or video of the incident to pass them on to police.

Commander BJ Harrington said “There are a number of casualties including police officers.”

Parliament on lockdown
Leader of the House, David Lidington, told MPs in session that a serious incident had taken place “within the estate.”

“It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police,” he said.

“An air ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualties. There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster but I hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it’d be wrong of me to go into further details here until we have confirmation from the police and from the House security authorities about what is going on.”

Members of parliament were asked to keep away from windows.

They were later due to be evacuated in groups of 20, MP Simon Danczuk told CNN by telephone from inside.

Around half an hour after the attack, former Cabinet minister Anna Soubry said on Twitter she and Security Minister Ben Wallace were ordered into the Parliament lobby at gun point by police.

“Colleagues taken out of the library at gun point by counter terrorist armed police officers,” she tweeted.

Parliament was in the middle of a vote when the incident occurred, MP Sir Gerald Howarth said the House of Commons said. “It appears to be very, very serious indeed,” he said.

“The Leader of the House has told us it’s been confirmed that one police officer here has been stabbed. It appeared that a car was coming towards the House of Commons mowing down pedestrians on the way and the driver then got access to the parliamentary estate stabbed a police officer and was shot.”

Eyewitnesses report chaotic scenes
People were photographed running in a panic from the scene.

An eyewitness told CNN that he heard a car collision at Westminster Bridge and saw at least five people on the ground.

“I heard — rather than saw — what I took to be a collision, like a car hitting a sheet of metal, and then I looked again and I saw people down on the streets, on the tarmac,” witness Radek Sikorski told CNN by phone.

“I saw in all, five people down by a car, including one person bleeding heavily from the head, and another person lying unconscious.”

“I saw them seconds after impact, but there’s also a hospital right there by Westminster Bridge.”

Richard Poet, 62, who was visiting London from Brighton and his partner were leaving the Tate Britain gallery when he heard “great crashes.”

“I thought it was a wrecking ball. It didn’t sound like guns or anything.”

Craig Meichan, 20, a student from Ormskirk near Liverpool, was on a field trip with around 15 others and had left Parliament just a moment before. He was shaking as he told CNN his part was separated into three groups.

“It sounded like a car backfiring, police began shouting and they started cordoning off the area,” he said, adding that he believed his tutor was still locked inside.

“I’m a bit shaken up, you never expect this to happen to you. When it does it’s an indescribable feeling.”

US President Donald Trump at a Women in healthcare panel told reporters he was getting updates from London.

“Some big news having to do with London just happened,” he said.

Mark Toner, acting spokesperson for the US State Department. said officials were closely following the situation.

“Our hearts go out to those affected. We stand ready to assist in any way the UK authorities would find helpful,” he said.

Member of Parliament gives assistance
A member of the government, Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood, was pictured giving assistance to a victim in New Palace Yard, a courtyard within the grounds of Parliament,

A fellow Conservative Party MP, Maria Miller said he had “given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to one victim,” the Press Association said.

Eyewitness Hugh Dickinson, a 21-year-old student from High Wycombe, posted a picture of the minister on Twitter, showing the minister bleeding, but saying “he looked to be fine”, the Press Association said.

[Original story]

London — A police officer was stabbed and an assailant shot in what police are treating as a terrorist incident at the British Houses of Parliament.

London’s Metropolitan Police said on Twitter they were called at approximately 2:40 pm to reports of a firearms incident near Westminster Bridge, near the main parliament building. British media reported there were multiple injuries.

London’s Metropolitan Police said: “Officers — including firearms officers — remain on the scene and we are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.”

The incident occurred as parliament was in session, and proceedings in the House of Commons were suspended. Dozens of MPs remained in the House.

“It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police,” the Leader of the House, David Lidington, told MPs. He confirmed that a serious incident had taken place “within the estate.”

“An air ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualties. There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster but I hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it’d be wrong of me to go into further details here until we have confirmation from the police and from the House security authorities about what is going on.”

Around half an hour after the attack, former Cabinet minister Anna Soubry said on Twitter she and Security Minister Ben Wallace were ordered into the Parliament lobby at gun point by police.

“Colleagues taken out of the library at gun point by counter terrorist armed police officers,” she tweeted.

People were photographed running from the scene as police put the whole area in lockdown.

Emergency response
Police said in a statement that a full response unit had been sent to the scene, along with ambulance crews and air ambulances.

We have declared a major incident and our priority is to assess patients and ensure that they are treated and taken to hospital as soon as possible.”

Police appealed for anyone with photos or video of the incident to pass them on to police.

TV images have emerged of a car crashed into perimeter fence outside the Parliament building.

US President Donald Trump at a Women in healthcare panel told reporters he was getting updates from London.

“Some big news having to do with London just happened,” he said.

Henry Mance, a political reporter for the Financial Times, told CNN that people inside have been told to stay away from windows.

Member of parliament Sir Gerald Howarth said the House of Commons was in the middle of a vote when the session was suspended and members locked in.

“It appears to be very, very serious indeed. The Leader of the House has told us it’s been confirmed that one police officer here has been stabbed. It appeared that a car was coming towards the House of Commons mowing down pedestrians on the way and the driver then got access to the parliamentary estate stabbed a police officer and was shot,” he said.