Breaking: Four Dead, At Least 10 Injured in Suspected Terror Attack in London
Details are still emerging of the suspected terrorist incident in London. Here's what we know so far.
An attack near the British Parliament Wednesday left at least four people dead, including one police officer, and 10 injured. One alleged assailant was reportedly gunned down by police. A London police spokesperson said they were treating this as a “terrorist incident” until receiving information to the contrary, and put out a statement asking people to avoid a substantial section of London “to allow the emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident.”
Commander B.J. Harrington said at a briefing that there is an ongoing investigation by the counter-terrorism command underway and asked citizens to come forward with any information they might have. At present, those who monitor pro-Islamic State channels have seen “chatter,” but, so far, no claims.
Some 300 Members of Parliament are still on lockdown in the House of Commons. “We’re huddling around TVs in the voting lobbies to find out what is gong on,” Labour MP Clive Efford wrote in a statement from the locked-down building. “There is a calm quietness around the place. We all knew a day like could come,” he said.
It is as yet unclear whether there is one incident or two — there are reports of a knife attack outside of Parliament and an attack also by Westminster Bridge, where a car reportedly drove into people before driving into the railings of the Palace of Westminster. Short footage of the aftermath was provided by former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who was on the scene.
No. 10 Downing Street released a statement saying Prime Minister Theresa May is “safe and at work,” though it didn’t specify where she was.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump spoke on the phone with May and offered her government condolences and full U.S. backing. Spicer didn’t add further details on the specifics of the call.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said U.S. “domestic security posture remains unchanged” in light of the attack.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also released a statement after the attacks Wednesday. “Whether they were carried out by troubled individuals or by terrorists, the victims know no difference,” Tillerson said.
Wednesday was a busy day for Parliament, with question time for the prime minister, which means the chambers would have been full. House of Commons business has been suspended.
A Reuters photographer near the incident said large bangs were heard near Westminster and at least a dozen are injured. A London-based journalist said shots were fired and that journalists were confined to the press gallery in the parliamentary building (they were asked to leave the press gallery at 5 pm local time).
Buckingham Palace also shut its gates following the attack. Queen Elizabeth II is safely inside.
The London Ambulance Service declared a “major incident” responding to the attack. London Mayor Sadiq Khan released a statement thanking the police and emergency services, and urging his citizens to follow the Metropolitan Police for more information.
Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the terror attacks in Brussels that killed 32 and injured over hundreds.
Check back for further updates as the story develops.
This story is being updated as new information comes in.
Photo credit: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Emily Tamkin is the U.S. editor of the New Statesman and the author of The Influence of Soros, published July 2020. Twitter: @emilyctamkin