A serious incident has taken place outside the Houses of Parliament, where two people have been killed and several people have been injured.
A car crashed into railings on Westminster Bridge before an attacker attempted to gain access to Parliament’s Old Palace Yard and was shot.
A police officer was stabbed, according to the Leader of the House of Commons David Lidington. The alleged assailant was shot by armed police. Met Police are referring to the attack as a “terrorist incident” until further facts are established. People are being treated both on Westminster Bridge and in the grounds of Parliament.
A car mounted the pavement on Westminster Bridge. It drove into several people, apparently intentionally. The car crashed into the railings of the Palace of Westminster. A junior doctor at St Thomas’ Hospital confirmed to the Press Association that one woman had died and a number of others were injured, some with “catastrophic” injuries. Eyewitness photos and videos show a number of casualties. No definitive number of victims has yet been confirmed.
An air ambulance arrived to treat the wounded. Pictures show one woman under the wheels of a bus. Other images show passers-by attempting to attend to those wounded. An attacker in Old Palace Yard stabbed at least one person, a police officer. He was shot by police. At least two people were being attended to by emergency services in Old Palace Yard, according to photographs.
David Lidlington, the leader of the House of Commons, gave a statement in the chamber, where MPs were told to shelter in place by security. He said: “Colleagues will have appreciated that events have been moving rapidly and I want to emphasise that the knowledge that I have which is definite is so far very limited. What I am able to say to the House is that there has been a serious incident within the estate. It seems that a police officer has been stabbed; that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police. An air ambulance is attending the scene to remove the casualties. There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity.”
A crucial debate on independence in the Scottish Parliament was also suspended as news of the attack filtered through to Holyrood.
Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh, responding to a number of MSPs concerns, said there would be no more business for the rest of the day.
Theresa May is unharmed and left the Houses of Parliament in a car soon after the attack. She has now returned to Downing Street and will head a meeting of COBRA, the crisis response team, tonight. The ambulance service and the Met Police also confirmed that they were responding to the incident.
“Officers – including firearms officers – are on scene and dealing with the incident in Westminster.” They added that they were treating the incident as “a terrorist incident until we know otherwise”.
“We were called at 2.40pm to Westminster Bridge to reports of an incident. We have sent a number of resources to the scene including ambulance crews, London’s Air Ambulance and our Hazardous Area Response Team. We will issue more information when we have it.”
Police told Londoners to avoid Parliament Square; Whitehall; Westminster Bridge; Lambeth Bridge; Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube. Westminster Tube station is closed until further notice according to Transport for London. Visitors to the London Eye were held within the stopped ferris wheel, with the operators saying: “At present we are holding all of our guests within our attractions as per tried and tested security procedures.”
The Labour leader’s statement said: “Reports suggest the ongoing incident in Westminster this afternoon is extremely serious. Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific attack [and their] families and friends. The police and security staff have taken quick action to ensure the safety of the public, MPs and staff, and we are grateful to them.”
The Mayor London 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 police and emergency services who work so hard to keep us safe and show tremendous bravery in exceptionally difficult circumstances.”
Scotland’s First Minister tweeted: “My thoughts are with everyone in and around Westminster caught up in this dreadful incident – and with the brave emergency services.”
Donald Trump has been briefed on the London attack according to Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
CBS News also confirmed with officials that a number of landmarks in America’s large metro areas will have extra security this evening.
This story first appeared in our sister site The I