At least three people have died in one of the most dreaded attacks in recent times in Britain. The attacker, a man wielding an “eight inch” knife was shot outside Parliament after reportedly charging the gates. The police have said that they are treating the attack in Westminster as a terror incident ‘until we know otherwise’. The latest terror incident has taken place one year after 32 people were killed and more than 320 injured in coordinated attacks in Brussels.
Agency reports on Thursday said police arrested seven people as part of their investigation. Meanwhile 29 people are still being treated in hospital, seven of whom were said to be in critical condition.
Here is all we know about the incident.
1) What happened outside Parliament?
The attack that started at 2:40 pm, took place when a car driven by the unidentified attacker over the Westminster Bridge, mowed down pedestrians, injuring several of them including three police officers. The attacker is said to have jumped out of the car and knifed several victims including the deceased policeman, later identified as PC Keith Palmer. The attacker was shot when he tried to scale the Parliament complex wall in a suspected bid to attack the parliamentarians who were present in the house. Mark Rowley, a senior counter-terrorism officer later told the press that they have declared the incident as a terrorist incident and “the counter-terrorism command are carrying out a full-scale investigation into the events today”. Police believe the attacker struck alone and was inspired by Islamist-related international terrorism, reports The Guardian.
2) What do we know about the victims and those injured?
A woman lies injured after a shottingt incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Apart from the police officer who died after being stabbed by the attacker, a woman was pulled alive from the river Thames but is reported to have suffered serious injuries. The circumstances of her fall into the river are not known. Three French high school students, four British university students and two Romanians were among those injured when the attacker drove into pedestrians. The identity of the other victims are not known yet.
3) Who were present inside Parliament at the time of the incident?
Prime Minister Theresa May was present in the voting lobby at the time of the attack. The Sun reports that May was rapidly bundled into a silver Jaguar by an undercover cop and later into a black vehicle, 40 yards from the gates where the attack took place, and taken to Downing Street. Some MPs were confined to the Commons chamber for nearly five hours after parliamentary business was suspended.Former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who witnessed the attack from a taxi as he crossed the bridge, said he saw five victims and made a video of the scene.
A car on Westminster Bridge has just mowed down at least 5 people. pic.twitter.com/tdCR9I0NgJ
— Radosław Sikorski (@sikorskiradek) March 22, 2017
London mayor Sadiq Khan released a video statement on Twitter where he has vowed “Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”
Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism. pic.twitter.com/LTLhgZ7OLQ
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 22, 2017
4) Why is British MP Tobias Ellwood being hailed as a Hero?
UK MP Tobias Ellwood
British MP Tobias Ellwood and a counter-terrorism minister raced to give first aid to the police officer who later died. Pictures showed him with blood on his face as he administered CPR. Tobias Ellwood, a former soldier lost his brother in the 2002 Bali terror attack. The police and first responders have also been hailed for the quick response shown by them to contain the potential damage the attacker had planned on the Parliament complex.
5) What have world leaders said about the incident?
Theresa May, Prime Minister, United Kingdom: “The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city. The values our parliament represents – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law – command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere. That is why it is a target for those who reject those values.”
Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany: “Even if the background to these attacks has yet to be cleared up, I would like to emphasise on behalf of Germany and its citizens: we stand resolutely on Britain’s side in the fight against any form of terrorism.”
François Hollande, President, France: “Terrorism affects us all. France, which has been so badly hit in recent times, knows what the British people are suffering today”
Spoke to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London. She is strong and doing very well.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 23, 2017
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 23, 2017