London attack: 5 dead, 40 injured in UK Parliament strike

The UK Parliament attack and the car rampage on Westminster Bridge in London left five dead and at least 40 injured. Here are the latest updates

Livemint, Agencies
Updated23 Mar 2017
A policeman points a gun at a man on the floor as emergency services attend the terror attack scene in Westminster. The UK Parliament attack and the Westminster Bridge car rampage left five dead and at least 40 injured. Photo: AP
A policeman points a gun at a man on the floor as emergency services attend the terror attack scene in Westminster. The UK Parliament attack and the Westminster Bridge car rampage left five dead and at least 40 injured. Photo: AP

Five people were killed and about 40 injured in London on Wednesday after a car ploughed into pedestrians at Westminster Bridge and a suspected Islamist-inspired attacker stabbed a policeman close to the UK Parliament.

The dead, in what police called a “marauding terrorist attack,” included the assailant and the policeman he stabbed. The other three victims were among those hit by the car as it sped across Westminster Bridge before crashing into railings just outside parliament.

Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack as “sick and depraved”.

“The location of this attack was no accident,” she said in a statement outside her 10 Downing Street office late in the evening. “The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.”

Any attempt to defeat those values through violence was “doomed to failure”, May said.

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 members of the public and 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,” Rowley said.

He said the police’s “fast-paced investigation” was working on the assumption that the attack was “Islamist-related terrorism”. Police believed they knew the identity of the attacker but would not provide details at this stage, he said.

It was the deadliest attack in London since four British Islamists killed 52 commuters and themselves in suicide bombings on the city’s transport system in July 2005, in London’s worst peacetime attack.

Here are the live updates on the UK Parliament attack:


5.34 am IST: Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer said police suspect “Islamist-related terrorism” was behind the UK Parliament attack. “Islamist-related terrorism is our assumption,” Mark Rowley told journalists. The male assailant was shot dead after mowing down pedestrians and stabbing a policeman. (Reuters)

4.58 am IST: Eiffel Tower in Paris turns off its lights in show of respect to those killed in the London attack. (BBC Breaking News, Twitter)

4.00 am IST: British police say five people died in the terror attack outside Parliament. Counter-terrorism chief Mark Rowley said one policeman, three civilians and the attacker died. He said a further 40 people were wounded. The assailant has not been identified. Rowley said police think they know the identity of the man but would not reveal details. He said Islamic extremism is suspected in the attack. (AP)

3.50 am IST: Buckingham Palace officials say Queen Elizabeth II will postpone plans to open the new Scotland Yard headquarters. The palace said Wednesday night that the queen’s visit, which had been set for Thursday, will be postponed. The change is due to security concerns raised by the UK Parliament terror attack. (AP)

3.45 am IST: Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull says the police presence at the Australian Parliament House has been increased in response to the London attacks. “Australia’s heartfelt sympathy and resolute solidarity is with the people of the United Kingdom with whom we stand today as we always have in freedom’s cause. Staunch allies in the war against terrorism,” Turnbull told reporters on Thursday.

2.44 am IST: Britain will not change its terrorism threat level despite the London attack, May said in a televised address outside her Downing Street office. (AFP)

2.42 am IST: The British prime minister confirmed that four people died in the attack and praised the security services who ran toward danger. (AP)

2.37 am IST: “Parliament will meet as normal [tomorrow]...we will all move forward together, never giving in to terror,” says Theresa May. (ABC News)

2.31 am IST: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected,” says Theresa May of the London attack. “We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.” (ABC News)

2.27 am IST: Theresa May says the location of the London attack was no accident, condemns “sick and depraved terrorist attack” outside the UK Parliament and Westminter Bridge. (Reuters)

UK PM Theresa during a televised address after the Uk Parliament attack, at Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Photo: AP

2.12 am IST: Lights on the Eiffel Tower will be switched off at midnight (Paris time) on Wednesday in solidarity with those killed and injured in the London attack. The decision was taken by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who had earlier expressed her “solidarity” in a message to her London counterpart Sadiq Khan, adding: “Paris and London have very close links which have become stronger in the last few decades.” She said the two capitals “share a common love of freedom and an attachment to democracy” and were “tolerant and cosmopolitan cities, open to the world.”

1.36 am IST: A French government plane is set to fly to London to bring the families of three French students wounded in the UK Parliament attacks. French President Francois Hollande announced the move in a statement Wednesday night after speaking with British PM Theresa May. May confirmed to Hollande that three French high school students from France’s western Britanny region were wounded in the attacks, the statement said.

1.31 am IST: Romania’s foreign ministry says two Romanians were wounded in a deadly attack in London’s Westminster that left four dead. The ministry said the two had been taken to a hospital for treatment. There were no further details on the identity of the two or how seriously they were injured. The ministry said it had been informed by authorities in London.

1.06 am IST: Theresa May has ordered flags to fly at half mast over Downing Street for innocent lives lost in Westminster attack. (Al Jazeera English)

1.00 am IST: India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said in a tweet that she is in constant touch with the Indian High Commission in London. There is no Indian casualty reported so far.

1.00 am IST: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says London “remains one of the safest in the world” despite the attack at Westminster attacks. “London is the greatest city in the world,” Khan said in a video statement. “We stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.” (CNN)

12.56 am IST: Spain has condemned the attack in London’s Westminster and offered condolences to the British people in a telegram sent to his British counterpart Theresa May. “An execrable terrorist act like the one that took place today is a reminder that we face complex challenges for the security of our societies,” said Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy in the telegram.

Israel also expressed solidarity with the victims of the London attack. Deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely said in a statement. “Israel expresses its deep shock at the terror attack in London today and its solidarity with the victims and with the people and government of Great Britain. Terror is terror wherever it occurs and we will fight it relentlessly.”

12.33 am IST: The Italian interior ministry said the nation’s top security and intelligence officials will huddle in Rome on Thursday for “an evaluation of the terrorist threat” after the attacks in London. The ministry said minister Marco Minniti convened the Committee of Strategic Anti-terrorism Analyses following “the tragic facts in London”. Italian security was already on high alert for a European Union summit bringing EU nation leaders to Rome Friday for a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, and a ceremony in the Italian capital Saturday. (AP)

12.32 am IST: One British lawmaker was hailed by some as a hero in Wednesday’s attack on the British Parliament. Conservative parliamentarian and Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood, whose brother was killed in the Bali terror attack in 2002, performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the police officer who was stabbed and later died. About 10 yards away was the attacker who was shot dead by police after scaling the security wall toward Parliament’s grounds. Photographs showed Ellwood’s bloodied hands and face from the police officer’s wounds while the alleged attacker was seen nearby. (AP)

12.18 am IST: The UK prime minister is being kept updated and will shortly chair the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) meeting, said her spokesperson. (Reuters)

12.17 am IST: British PM Theresa May condoles the UK Parliament attack and the Westminter Bridge incident. “The thoughts of the PM and the government are with those killed and injured in this appalling incident, and with their families”, said her spokesperson. (Reuters)

12.03 am IST: London rail station Canning Town reopens after security alert, says British Transport police. (Reuters)

12.02 pm IST: British interior minister Rudd says “our top priority is people’s security” after UK parliament attack, adding that the citizens will unite to fight those who want to hurt British values. (Reuters)

11.56 pm IST: Investigators are considering the possibility that the attack on the British parliament was inspired by Islamic State propaganda, a European government official told Reuters.British investigators have some leads on the identity of the attacker who was shot but have not yet confirmed all the details, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said investigators are considering the possibility that the attack was inspired by Islamic State propaganda. (Reuters)

11.49 pm IST: British police confirms four people dead in London attacks, including one police officer, and the attacker, while 20 others were injured. Police operation is ongoing. (Reuters)

11.37 pm IST: Scotland Yard delivers update on UK Parliament attack in London, says at least four people are dead. (CBS News)

11.33 pm IST: UK’s top anti-terrorism officer says currenly believe there was only one attacker.

11.31 pm IST: UK’s top anti-terrorism officer said a car was driven over Westminster Bridge, hitting members of public and police. At least 20 people have been injured, he said, while confirming that one police officer was killed in the twin London attacks.

11.29 pm IST: The US Department of Homeland Security said it would lend support to Britain’s investigation in the UK Parliament attack, but said the security posture in the US was unchanged. “We are in close contact with our British counterparts to monitor the tragic events and to support the ongoing investigation,” it said in a statement. “At this time our domestic security posture remains unchanged.”

11.27 pm IST: French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both expressed their support and solidarity with Britain after the attacks at the British Parliament in London. “We are all concerned with terrorism,” Hollande told reporters during a visit in Villepinte, outside Paris. “France, which has been struck so hard lately, knows what the British people are suffering today.”

Merkel said, “I want to say for Germany and its citizens: we stand firmly and resolutely by Great Britain’s side in the fight against all forms of terrorism.”

11.24 pm: New York police ramped up security at British sites across the city, including the British Consulate and the British Mission to the UN, senior NYPD officials said at a news conference.

11.18 pm IST: Police are still searching for one of the two people believed to have launched Wednesday’s attack outside the UK Parliament, assistant editor of the Daily Telegraph newspaper Christopher Hope tweeted, citing people in the government. A BBC journalist said two assailants were believed to have been in a vehicle involved in the attack. “BBC understands from multiple sources two assailants in vehicle on Westminster Bridge,” BBC correspondent Dominic Casciani said on Twitter.

11.15 pm IST: White House said US President Donald Trump has spoken with UK Prime Minister Theresa May about the London attacks.

11.12 pm IST: BBC reports that one of those killed in the London attacks was a police officer.

11.09 pm IST: “We condemn these horrific acts of violence,” says US secretary of state Rex Tillerson on the UK Parliament attack and Westminster incident, expresses condolences to victims of London attacks.

11.02 pm IST: A UK reporter for Daily Telegraph says senior government sources say police still looking for a suspect in the houses of parliament.

10.52 pm IST: Three French citizens injured in London attacks, French diplomatic source has said. (Reuters)

10.37 pm IST: British police said there had been an unspecified number of casualties in the UK parliament attack and the Westminster Bridge incident. “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,” Commander B.J. Harrington told reporters. “We 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.” (Reuters)

10.35 pm IST: British PM Theresa May will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency security committee on Wednesday after what the police described as a “terrorist incident” outside the UK parliament. “There is a COBR meeting taking place today,” a spokesman at the office of the British prime minister said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

10.32 pm IST: Woman pulled alive from River Thames after London attack, has serious injuries. says Port of London authority. (Reuters)

10.31 pm IST: London Ambulance Service says it has treated at least 10 patients on Westminster Bridge. “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,” said London Ambulance Service Deputy Director of Operations Pauline Cranmer in a statement. (Reuters)

10.30 pm IST: “Full counter-terrorism investigation under way” after Westminster terror incident, says London Met Police commander. (BBC Breaking News in Twitter)

10.20 pm IST: “We are locked in House Of Commons”, UK MP Keith Vaz tells NDTV after the Westminster attacks. (NDTV)

10.11 pm IST: Sky News tweeted two people dead in UK Parliament attack in London.

10.10 pm IST: Scotland’s devolved parliament will increase security measures with immediate effect following Wednesday’s attack on Britain’s parliament at Westminster in London. “While there is no intelligence to suggest there is a specific threat to Scotland, Edinburgh or Holyrood (the devolved parliament), we have increased security with immediate effect at the Scottish Parliament as a precaution,” parliament’s chief executive office said in a statement. “We are aware of a developing situation at Westminster this afternoon and are monitoring matters very closely,” it added.

10.08 pm IST: US President Donald Trump was briefed on the UK Parliament attack in London. “I was just getting an update on London. Some big news having to do with London,” Trump said, as he entered the Roosevelt Room in the White House for a meeting on women’s healthcare. Separately, the US State Department said it was closely monitoring the “concerning situation” and was in particular trying to find out whether any US visitors had been caught up in it.

“Our embassy in London is monitoring the situation closely, “ acting spokesman Mark Toner said. “We stand ready to provide all possible consular assistance should we become aware of any affected US citizens.” (AFP)

10.03 pm IST: Houses of UK Parliament, Westminster underground station and road on lockdown. Members of Parliament locked in House. Air ambulance at the scene to address the injured.

10.00 pm IST: A New York Times report says a motorist on Westminster Bridge, next to Parliament, operating a large vehicle, mowed down at least five people before coming to a halt, but it was not clear if the motorist was also the assailant. Witnesses said they had heard gunfire near Portcullis House, an office building for lawmakers and members of their staff. The police said officers had been summoned to the bridge around 2:40 pm because of reports of “a firearms incident”.

But basic details remained unclear an hour after the episode.

9.51 pm IST: One woman has died and other people are being treated for “catastrophic” injuries after the UK Parliament attack in London on Wednesday, British news agency Press Association reported, citing a junior doctor at a central London hospital. (Reuters

9.47 pm IST: Witness Rick Longley told the Press Association that he saw a man stab a policeman outside Britain’s Parliament. “We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out,” he said. “They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben. “A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman. “I have never seen anything like that. I just can’t believe what I just saw.”

9.37 pm IST: Facebook has activated its safety check following the UK Parliament attack in London. (CNN)

9.32 pm IST: Scottish Parliament suspends debate on second independence referendum following attack outside UK Parliament. (BBC)

9.28 pm IST: US state department says closely following the UK Parliament attack. (Reuters)

9.27 pm IST: British lawmaker Grant Shapps said on Twitter that he was walking through the cloisters of the House of Commons to vote when he heard four gunshots. Police told lawmakers to get down on the ground and crawl to cover. “Police response instant. Heard commotion, looked round. Police weapons drawn, 4 shots, police ordered us to hit ground & get back, get back,” he said. (AP)

9.26 pm IST: The White House says US President Donald Trump has been briefed on the UK Parliament attack. Trump himself said during a brief appearance Wednesday before reporters at the White House that he was just getting the news. He called it “big news”. Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, says the US will continue to monitor the situation in the UK and update the president. (AP)

9.22 pm IST: Crowds being moved out of Parliament Square, policeman tells BBC, suspect vehicle outside UK Parliament.

9.21 pm IST: 10, Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May was safe. She was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar car from the Parliament.

9.10 pm IST: UK police say they are treating a gun and knife incident at Britain’s Parliament “as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.” The Metropolitan Police says in a statement that the incident is ongoing. It is urging people to stay away from the area. Officials say a man with a knife attacked a police officer at Parliament and was shot by officers. There are also reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge. (Reuters)

9.05 pm IST: The Metropolitan Police said on it’s official Twitter account that it was called at about 2:40pm London time to reports of an incident at Westminster Bridge. It described as a “firearms” incident.

9.03 pm IST: A European security official says there was increased chatter on jihadi networks Tuesday following the announcement of UK’s laptop ban aboard flights from certain mostly Muslim countries. He said, however, there was no information that the incident was terror-related. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about ongoing security operations. (AP)

9.01 pm IST: US President Donald Trump “has been briefed on the situation in the UK”, ABC News has quoted the White House Press Secretary as saying.

8.57 pm IST: Scotland Yard says it was called to firearms incident on Westminster Bridge amid reports of several people injured. (BBC)

8.55 pm IST: BBC reports Wednesday’s incidents as two separate ones—car on Westminster Bridge and attacker in UK Parliament grounds.

Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

8.51 pm IST: Witnesses said a vehicle struck several people on the bridge, and photos showed a car plowed into railings. (AP)

8.49 pm IST: Reuters photographs show four people lying near UK parliament, bleeding heavily. One of the photographs showed a body lying under the wheels of a London bus. (Reuters)

8.46 pm IST: There are also reports of further violent incidents in the Palace of Westminster, confirmation from the police awaited: lawmaker. (Reuters)

8.45 pm IST: Assailant who stabbed policeman inside UK parliament has been shot, says a lawmaker. “The alleged assailant was shot by armed police, an ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualities,” he said. (Reuters)

8.44 pm IST: UK prime minister Theresa May is safe after UK parliament attack, says spokesman. (Reuters)

8.43 pm IST: Leader of the house of commons says policeman stabbed inside parliament perimeter. (Reuters)

8.42 pm IST: Britain’s MI5 says it is too early to say if the incident is terror-related. (AP)

8.39 pm IST: The House of Commons session was suspended and members of parliament who were in the chamber were told to remain there. (Reuters)

Roads are closed off by police after sounds similar to gunfire have been heard close to the Houses of Parliament, London. Photo: AP

8.33 pm IST: UK parliament will be in lock down until incident clear, says leader of the house of commons. (Reuters)

8.32 pm IST: Alleged assailant was shot at uk parliament by armed police, says leader of the house of commons. (Reuters)

8.21 pm IST: A least a dozen people have been injured on Westminster Bridge after large bangs were heard outside the British parliament, a Reuters photographer said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

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