Four people were killed and at least 20 injured in London on Wednesday after a car plowed into pedestrians and an attacker stabbed a policeman close to the British parliament in what police called a “marauding terrorist attack”.
The dead included the assailant and the policeman he stabbed, while the other two victims were among the pedestrians hit by the car as it tore along Westminster Bridge before crashing into railings just outside parliament.
“We’ve declared this as a terrorist incident and the counter-terrorism command are carrying out a full-scale investigation into the events today,” Mark Rowley, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters.
“The attack started when a car was driven over Westminster Bridge, hitting and injuring a number of members of the public, also including three police officers.
“A car then crashed near to parliament and at least one man, armed with a knife continued the attack and tried to enter parliament.”
Reuters reporters inside parliament at the time heard loud bangs and shortly afterwards saw the knifeman and the stabbed policeman lying on the ground in a courtyard within the gates of parliament.
A Reuters photographer saw at least a dozen people injured on the bridge. His photographs showed people lying on the ground, some of them bleeding heavily and one under a bus.
A woman was pulled alive, but with serious injuries, from the Thames, the Port of London Authority said. The circumstances of her fall into the river were unknown.
Three French schoolchildren aged 15 or 16 were among those injured in the attack, French officials said.
The attack took place on the first anniversary of attacks by Islamist militants that killed 32 people in Brussels.
Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept updated and was due to chair a meeting of the government’s crisis response committee. Reuters