Two Confirmed Dead In Westminster Terror Attack
Two people are dead, an assailant has been shot, an officer stabbed, and at least a dozen people injured near the Houses of Parliament in London this afternoon at 2.42pm.
The assailant and officer were being treated in the palace yard, but no confirmation that anyone is dead.
Metropolitan police are treating the attack as a major terrorist incident, until they know otherwise.
A junior from St Thomas’ Hospital on the Thames has confirmed that one woman has died following the incident on Westminster Bridge and others have suffered ‘catastrophic injuries’.
A source has also confirmed that a second fatality took place due to their injuries from the incident.
Witnesses have described the assailant as a middle-aged man in his forties carrying a knife about seven or eight inches long.
Official sources have said the three incidents this afternoon are linked, but are still being treated as separate for now.
According to witnesses, the first incident saw a middle-aged man driving a four-by-four Hyundai vehicle across Westminster Bridge, along the pavement, ploughing into 8-10 people who were left lying on the ground.
The second incident involved the same vehicle continued onto Parliament Square before crashing into the railings of the palace of Westminster.
At that point, one man wielding a seven or eight inch knife managed to get into the palace yard before he stabbed a police officer, and then a plain-clothes officer shot him.
Both the officer and assailant are reported to be injured and are being treated in the palace yard, as yet there is no confirmation of either of their deaths.
The attack has taken place on the first anniversary of attacks on Brussels in Belgium.
Britain is currently on its second-highest alert level of ‘severe’ meaning an attack by militants is highly likely.
Counter Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officers have been dispatched, and the fact they have been brought in highlights the seriousness of the situation.
A bomb squad has also been called to Parliament after a suspicious package was found in a vehicle near Parliament.
The discovery of the package halted a planned evacuation of Parliament.
Parliament is on lock-down and Police are going through, searching the parliament building, floor by floor, as well as setting a cordon around the area.
On Westminster bridge there is no definitive number of casualties but the same vehicle who ploughed into pedestrians, was the same one that smashed into railings at the front of Houses of Parliament.
The attack took place while the Parliament chamber was packed full of MPs for Prime Minister’s Questions this afternoon.
Prime Minister Theresa May was quickly taken away from the scene by security and driven away from the scene in a silver Jaguar.
Sky News’s Alan Parry said:
I was just outside Westminster tube station when I heard an almighty crash and a vehicle that looked like a 4×4 had crashed into the railings (at parliament). There was smoke coming from underneath the bonnet. I saw a pedestrian or a cyclist who had clearly been hit.
The driver of the car sprinted away from the scene. That was followed by four what sounded very much like gunshots. Then all of a sudden all hell was let loose and police descended everywhere. The whole area was locked down.
It was a frightening couple of minutes.
Air ambulances and other security services have secured the area, while a large area is being searched.
At least eight people are being tended to along the whole length of Westminster bridge after the car drove across the pavement.
Ambulances are treating people on the bridge, while there are more ambulances lined up to be used when they are needed.
Reports say shots were being fired and an explosion was heard near Westminster bridge.
Commons Leader David Lidington told MPs a police officer has been stabbed and the ‘alleged assailant was shot by armed police after a firearms following a serious incident within the parliamentary estate’.
Westminster underground has been shut down and local workers are being evacuated from the area.
Describing the attack, Journalist Kevin Schofield said:
We heard a very loud bang outside the press gallery. We heard lost of shouting, there were men running around. Then I looked to my left and someone rushed through gates at Westminster and attacked a policeman.
Another policeman came and rescued him and the man who assaulted him got up and appeared to be carrying a knife. We heard lots of gunfire. Five or six rounds.
The London Eye, further down the River Thames is on lock-down and there are people who are stuck in the pods on the iconic Ferris wheel.
Latest reports suggest that a woman has been pulled alive from the river Thames with serious injuries, but as yet there is no further information regarding her involvement in the incident.
The incident is unfolding right now, and this article will be updated with further information as we get it.