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UK: Terrorist attack on Parliament

Wednesday 22 March 2017, by siawi3

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/22/westminster-attack-man-shot-by-police-and-several-hurt-in-nearby-incident

Parliament attack: woman and police officer dead in ’terrorist incident’

Police officer stabbed and attacker shot
One woman has died and 10 people injured
House of Commons suspended
What we know so far
Attack on parliament: live updates

A policeman points a gun at a man on the floor as emergency services attend the scene outside the Palace of Westminster, London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Guardian staff

Wednesday 22 March 2017 17.13 GMT
First published on Wednesday 22 March 2017 15.16 GMT

A police officer has been killed and his attacker shot after a major terrorist incident at the Houses of Parliament in which one woman died and at least 10 people were injured.

A black SUV-like Hyundai i40 is reported to have driven at speed across Westminster Bridge towards parliament, where it ploughed into a number of pedestrians at about 2.40pm.

A junior doctor at nearby St Thomas’ hospital confirmed at least one woman had died. One woman is believed to have been thrown over the bridge into the River Thames – and later pulled alive from the water - while another fell on to a hard surface below the bridge.

At least 10 were injured on the bridge, many of whom were seen lying in the road. A diplomatic source told Reuters three French students had been injured in the attack. The Guardian understands that the police officer attacked died in the incident.
Live Westminster attack: police officer and woman killed, others left with ’catastrophic’ injuries - live

Major incident at parliament after alleged assailant shot by armed police and attack on Westminster Bridge in central London
Read more

The vehicle came to a halt on the pavement, up against railings to the north of New Palace Yard, the green space adjacent to Big Ben, opposite an entrance to Westminster underground.

A man with a knife was then seen running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster, across New Palace Yard and stabbing a police officer. He continued his rampage, targeting a second officer, according to witnesses, but was shot by police as he approached a second officer while clutching his knife after leaving the vehicle.

In the aftermath of the attack, foreign officer minister Tobias Elwood reportedly helped treat the injured officer. The Bournemouth MP, a former soldier, was pictured helping the policeman in Parliament Square. His brother Jonathan was killed in 2002 Bali terror attack.

Colleen Anderson, the junior doctor, said a female pedestrian had died. She also said she treated a police officer in his 30s with a head injury who had been taken to King’s College hospital. “I confirmed one fatality. A woman. She was under the wheel of a bus. She died, confirmed her death at the scene,” she said.

Commander BJ Harrington, Head of the Met’s public order command, said a full counter-terrorism investigation was under way. “We know there are a number of casualties, including police officers, but at this stage we cannot confirm numbers or the nature of these injuries,” he said.

Harrington said the Met received a number of different reports, which included a person in the river, a car in collision with pedestrians and a man armed with a knife. Police officers were already at that location as part of routine policing but additional officers, including those with firearms, were immediately sent to the scene.

The acting Met commissioner was driving by parliament on his way to a meeting when the attack took place. he said. He left his vehicle to help officers deal with the incident and is being treated as a witness.

Theresa May was in the Commons lobby when the incident occurred, according to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. He was with other ministers in a cabinet sub-committee when they were told of the incident.

Scotland Yard said it was called to a firearms incident on Westminster Bridge amid reports of several people injured. Photograph: Luke Steele/Twitter

The Commons leader, David Lidington, told MPs that a “police officer has been stabbed” and the “alleged assailant was shot by armed police” following a serious incident within the parliamentary estate.

Lidington said: “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 would be wrong of me to go into further details until we have confirmation from the police and from the house security authorities about what is going on.”

Pictures emerged after the incident showing people lying injured on Westminster Bridge, some of them bleeding.

Two people could be seen lying within Old Palace Yard, immediately outside Westminster Hall. The sitting in the House of Commons was suspended while police officers sealed off the area. Staff inside parliament were told to stay inside their offices.

Minutes after the incident, an emergency services helicopter landed in Parliament Square, as sirens were heard outside. Air ambulance medics came from the helicopter to assist the casualties.

Immediately before the incident, at about 2.45pm, people were seen running from the direction of Westminster Bridge and around the corner into Parliament Square.

A member of the public is treated by emergency services. Photograph: Carl Court/Getty Images

A Downing Street source confirmed that the prime minister, Theresa May, was “OK”. May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar car as what sounded like gunfire rang out at parliament during the incident.

A meeting of Cobra, the government’s crisis committee, was expected to meet later, with senior officials from government, counter-terrorism officials and police present.

Police asked people to avoid the following areas: Parliament Square, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube.

The London ambulance service deputy director of operations, Pauline Cranmer, said: “We can confirm we have treated at least 10 patients on Westminster Bridge and have put a number of hospitals on alert as we continue to respond to this incident.

“We were called at 2.40pm today, with the first ambulance crew arriving within six minutes. We have sent a number of resources to the scene including ambulance crews, London’s air ambulance and our hazardous area response team.

“We are working closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene, with our priority being to ensure patients receive the medical help they need as quickly as possible.

“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. As we are very busy dealing with this incident, we would ask the public to only call us in a genuine emergency.”

More details soon . . .

°°

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/22/attack-houses-parliament-london-what-we-know-so-far

London terror attack: what we know so far

With events unfolding rapidly at Westminster in and around the Houses of Parliament, here is what we know so far

Roads have been closed off by police around Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Esther Addley

Wednesday 22 March 2017 17.28 GMT
First published on Wednesday 22 March 2017 15.52 GMT

Events are unfolding rapidly in Westminster after a major terrorist incident incident outside the Houses of Parliament.

Here is what the Guardian has been able to confirm so far:

A police officer has been killed and the alleged assailant shot by armed police following an incident inside the security cordon of the Houses of Parliament.
Photographs and video emerged of a number of casualties on Westminster Bridge, next to the parliament buildings, who had apparently been struck by a car.
A woman member of the public has died, and other victims have been left with “catastrophic” injuries, according to a doctor from St Thomas’ hospital where some are being treated.

The London ambulance service has said at least 10 people were treated on the bridge.
Several French students were among the injured, the French prime minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said.
Police confirmed there were multiple casualties including police officers but refused to say exactly how many were thought to be involved.
One woman was rescued from the Thames with serious injuries, a spokesman for the Port of London Authority said.
Footage showed a car that had crashed into the perimeter railings of the parliamentary complex.

Footage of car after crash into railings outside Parliament - video

Other images, taken from inside the Palace of Westminster building, showed paramedics treating a person inside the Old Palace Yard, within the security cordon.
Scotland Yard said the attack in Westminster was being treated “as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise”.
The House of Commons has been put in lockdown, with many MPs confined to the Commons chamber after parliamentary business was suspended.
Armed police were searching the Palace of Westminster
David Lidington, the leader of the House of Commons said there had been a serious incident: “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.”
The prime minister, Theresa May, was evacuated from the parliament building within minutes and driven to Downing Street.
London ambulance service said it was called to Westminster Bridge at 2.40pm, with the first crew arriving within six minutes. It has declared a major incident.
An emergency services helicopter landed in Parliament Square. Air ambulance medics are attending to the casualties inside the Old Palace Yard and on Westminster Bridge.
Both the ambulance service and the Metropolitan police have appealed to the public to call 999 only in a genuine emergency.
The London Eye, opposite parliament on the other side of Westminster Bridge, is also in lockdown, with some being held inside the attraction’s pods.
The Thames has been closed to all but emergency vessels between Vauxhall Bridge and Embankment.

°°°

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/22/world/europe/uk-westminster-parliament-shooting.html

U.K. Parliament Attacker Is Shot; Panic on Westminster Bridge

By KATRIN BENNHOLD and STEPHEN CASTLE

MARCH 22, 2017

Europe By THE NEW YORK TIMES 1:07
‘Terrorist Incident’ Makes London Europe’s Latest
Video

Shots were heard near Britain’s Parliament on Wednesday, and an officer was stabbed. Witnesses said pedestrians were hit by a car on the nearby Westminster Bridge. By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish Date March 22, 2017. Photo by Stefan Rousseau/Press Association, via Associated Press. Watch in Times Video »

LONDON — London was thrown into chaos and confusion on Wednesday, with Britain’s Parliament placed on lockdown and the prime minister evacuated, as security officers investigated “a terrorist incident” that left one woman dead and several other people injured.

Throughout a confusing afternoon, ambulances, emergency vehicles and heavily armed security officers thronged the area outside Parliament, as one of the busiest sections of London was cordoned off and evacuated. Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed into a vehicle and spirited back to her office, where her aides reported that she was safe.

Meanwhile, the police were still trying to make sense of an afternoon attack that apparently occurred in two stages. The driver of a large vehicle mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, which leads to Parliament, killing one woman and injuring at least 10 other people. Around the same time, a man stabbed a police officer outside the gates of Parliament and was then shot by police officers. It was not immediately clear if the motorist and the knife attacker were the same man.

The attack came on the anniversary of suicide bombings in Brussels that killed 32 people, along with three bombers. The violence raised fears that London, which has been largely spared as a target of recent terrorist attacks, has now joined cities like Paris, Brussels and Berlin as targets of mass violence.

“A full counterterrorism investigation is underway,” Cmdr. B. J. Harrington of the Metropolitan Police said at a brief news conference, at which he pleaded with members of the public to stay away from a broad section of central London, to report any suspicious activity and to share any images or video of the violence.

Commander Harrington said that the police knew of “a number of casualties, including police officers,” but that he could not confirm a precise figure. He also said that the acting police commissioner, Craig Mackey, was at the scene of the attack and was not injured, but was “being treated as a significant witness.”

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Just wait for the hate and ignorance, on twitter, from the Presidential Apprentice. It’s all about him, of course. Tick, Tock, Donald.

Map with following spots
Area of the Attack
Pedestrians wounded
Palace of Westminster
British Parliament
Westminster Bridge
River Thames
Big Ben
Attacker
shot
A car hit afence here
By The New York Times. Source: Terrain and aerial imagery by Google

Among the people injured were a group of visiting French students and a woman who fell or plunged into the River Thames.

Throughout the afternoon, astonished lawmakers inside the House of Commons, some of whom had ducked for cover, were told to stay in place as officers searched the premises, office by office.

“At the moment, the very clear advice from the police and the director of security in the house is that we should remain under suspension, and that the chamber should remain in lockdown until we’ve received advice that it is safe to go back to normal procedures,” David Lidington, the leader of the House of Commons, or lower house of Parliament, told lawmakers in remarks broadcast live on the BBC.

Olly Grender, a member of the House of Lords, said that lawmakers were staying put. “We were in a meeting, I heard shouting through the window,” she said, adding that a colleague then came in to tell them that a serious incident had taken place.

The police said officers had been summoned to the bridge around 2:40 p.m. because of reports of “a firearms incident.” Witnesses said they had heard gunfire near Portcullis House, an office building for lawmakers and members of their staff.

Jayne Wilkinson, 59, from Birmingham, England, was near the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square with her partner, David Turner, 56, when they saw people suddenly running from Parliament.

On the Scene in London

We gave live updates and responded to your questions in London, where a police officer was stabbed near the House of Parliament.
VIDEO here

The couple said they had seen a middle-aged man holding a knife. He ignored warnings from the police, running though the gates into the compound of Parliament, she said.

“They were shouting to warn him,” Ms. Wilkinson said. Soon after, she and her partner heard three gunshots and saw the man on the ground.

Three construction workers who were inside the grounds of Westminster Palace said they heard shots fired in rapid succession before they were escorted off the premises. “It was bang-bang-bang,” one of them said.

Reuben Saunders, an American student at Cambridge University who was visiting Parliament, said he was on his way out of the building when he saw a police officer being attacked by the assailant.

“He was at the gate, I heard screaming,” Mr. Saunders said, adding that the assailant had two knives or similar weapons. “I saw the man on the ground being repeatedly stabbed, or pummeled,”

“There was another policeman standing by,” he added. “I thought he should have shot, but maybe he was unarmed.”
Graphic here

Mr. Saunders said that two or three other police officers arrived and, at that point, he retreated. “There were two or three gunshots,” he said.

Corinne Desray, a teacher who was outside Parliament with 39 teenage students on a three-day school trip from northern France, said they heard three shots. “My colleague saw bodies lying on the floor and someone said a policeman has been knived,” she said. “I told the kids to leave quickly. We’re heading back to the bus.”

Kirsten Hurrell, 70, who owns a newsstand opposite the clock tower known as Big Ben, said she saw a car swerve across a bicycle lane and into a fence around Parliament. She saw a body lying on the ground and called emergency services. “At first I thought it was an accident but then I was told the car had already mowed down quite a number of people on Westminster Bridge,” she said, adding: “Now that it is a terrorist incident, it is a bit more daunting.”

Robert Vaudry, 52, a fund manager from Stratford-upon-Avon, England, said he emerged from the Westminster subway station around 2:40 p.m. for a meeting with a lawmaker when he realized that something was amiss.

“I came out of the Tube and there were two armed policemen,” he said in an interview. “One grabbed my arm, pushed me to the left and said, ‘Get out of here,’ ” he said. “They were shouting at everyone to get away.”

As he spoke, police officers were cordoning off the area. One officer shouted, “We need everyone to move back past Downing Street.”

Christopher Hope, a journalist for The Daily Telegraph, reported at 2:41 p.m. that he had heard shots fired outside Parliament.

Kevin Schofield, a journalist at the political website Politics Home, reported that a police officer had been injured, and that he had seen an assailant carrying a knife or a gun.

Radoslaw Sikorski, a former foreign minister of Poland who was in the area, was in a taxi on Westminster Bridge when the pedestrians were hit by the other vehicle.

“I didn’t see the impact, I heard it, it sounded like a car hitting a sheet of metal,” he said. “I saw these people lying on the tarmac, on the pavement. I saw five people down, one unconscious and one bleeding heavily from his head. He was not moving. The taxi driver rang the emergency services, and people rushed to help.”

Mr. Sikorski said he did not see the car or the driver that crashed near Parliament.

Britain has not suffered a large-scale terrorist attack since July 7, 2005, when bomb attacks on subway trains and on a bus killed more than 50 people. Political violence is relatively rare in Britain, where gun ownership is seriously restricted.

In 1979, a lawmaker was assassinated near the Parliament building. Airey Neave, a Conservative Party member, was killed when his car was blown up.

President Trump was briefed on the shooting, according to the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer.

“We are closely following the concerning situation outside the U.K. Parliament,” the State Department’s acting spokesman, Mark C. Toner. “Our hearts go out to those affected. We stand ready to assist in any way the U.K. authorities would find helpful. The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of our highest priorities. Our Embassy in London is monitoring the situation closely.”

Reporting was contributed by Dan Bilefsky, Anne-Sophie Bolon, Sewell Chan, Lillie Dremeaux, Steven Erlanger, Stephen Farrell, Iliana Magra, Prashant S. Rao, Amie Tsang and Michael Wolgelenter from London and Gardiner Harris from Washington.