An incident has occurred in Westminster and is being treated by the Metropolitan Police as a terrorist attack.
The attack occurred on Wednesday afternoon at 14:40 on Westminster Bridge, in Parliament Square and within the grounds of the Palace of Westminster in central London during which a vehicle was seen mounting the pavement on Westminster Bridge and reportedly collided with up to 20 individuals.
Following that, a man wearing black clothes was seen attacking a police officer with a knife in Old Palace Yard. The attacker drove a vehicle towards the palace gates and stabbed people, killing a police officer.
The threat level for terrorism in the UK was already listed at “severe”, meaning an attack was “highly likely”. Shortly after the incident, additional armed police arrived.
An air ambulance from London HEMS attended the scene, and emergency services attempted to resuscitate the assailant who had been shot at least once on the left side of his chest.
After the incident, Parliament was suspended and MPs were locked into the Commons debating chamber as a precaution, and other Parliamentary staff were told to remain in their offices. In addition, all visitors to Parliament, including journalists and several school trips, were ordered to remain in the building as well. All were later evacuated to Westminster Abbey.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, was quickly evacuated to 10 Downing Street. The UK government’s emergency Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA) committee met in response to the attack.
At 23:00 on 22 March, West Midlands Police raided a flat in Birmingham. A witness claimed that it was the home of the perpetrator of the attack. By the morning of 23 March, six addresses had been raided and eight people arrested.
Four people were killed as a result of the incident, as well as the perpetrator, and at least 40 people were injured.
Keith Palmer, 48, an on-duty police officer assigned to the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection command, was stabbed and subsequently died from his injuries.
Additionally, 12 people received serious injuries, some described as “catastrophic”, and eight others were treated for less serious injuries at the scene.
Injured members of the public were taken to St Thomas’ Hospital, which is located immediately across Westminster Bridge in Lambeth, and to King’s College Hospital, which declared a ‘major incident’ in its designated trauma centre, St Mary’s Hospital, the Royal London Hospital and the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. A woman with serious injuries, who was rescued from the River Thames, is believed to have either fallen from the bridge or jumped off to evade the attacker.
A group of French students aged 15–16, from Concarneau in Brittany, were among those injured. Others included three police officers who were returning from a commendation ceremony, two Romanian citizens, and four students from Edge Hill University in northern England.
The Metropolitan Police said:
“Police were called at approx 2:40pm to reports of an incident at Westminster Bridge. Being treated as a firearms incident – police on scene.”
A spokesman added that “a full counter-terrorism investigation underway” and asked the public to avoid the area and asked that any members of public in the area send them images of the incident.