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Parliament attack: man shot by police and five dead including police officer in ‘terrorist incident’ – includes pictures

The Guardian – Guardian Staff – Wednesday 22 March 2017
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Photo: A policeman points a gun at a man on the floor as emergency services attend the scene outside the Palace of Westminster, London. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Five people have died, including a police officer, and at least 20 people have been injured in a major terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament, the Metropolitan police have confirmed.

Mark Rowley, the head of counter-terrorism at the Met, said a police officer had died after being stabbed by a lone attacker attempting to enter the House of Commons. The suspect was shot and killed.

Moments earlier, at about 2.40pm, the attacker drove a vehicle at speed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, near parliament, killing two people.

Rowley said at least 20 people, including three officers, were hurt in the attack on the bridge. A diplomatic source told Reuters three French students were among the injured.

The attacker mowed down pedestrians as he drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster and stabbing the officer.

Witnesses said the attacker was shot by police as he approached a second officer while clutching a knife. A junior doctor at nearby St Thomas’ hospital confirmed at least one woman had died.

Colleen Anderson said a female pedestrian had died. She also said she treated a police officer in his 30s with a head injury who had been taken to King’s College hospital.

“I confirmed one fatality. A woman. She was under the wheel of a bus. She died, confirmed her death at the scene,” she said.

Commander BJ Harrington, Head of the Met’s public order command, said a full counter-terrorism investigation was under way. “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,” he said.

Harrington said the Met 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. Police officers were already at that location as part of routine policing but additional officers, including those with firearms, were immediately sent to the scene.

The acting Met commissioner was driving by parliament on his way to a meeting when the attack took place. he said. He left his vehicle to help officers deal with the incident and is being treated as a witness.

Theresa May was in the Commons lobby when the incident occurred, according to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. He was with other ministers in a cabinet sub-committee when they were told of the incident.

The Commons leader, David Lidington, told MPs that a “police officer has been stabbed” and the “alleged assailant was shot by armed police” following a serious incident within the parliamentary estate.

Lidington said: “There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster but I hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it would be wrong of me to go into further details until we have confirmation from the police and from the house security authorities about what is going on.”

Pictures emerged after the incident showing people lying injured on Westminster Bridge, some of them bleeding..

Reports of a vehicle driving into people on Westminster Bridge and the railings of the Palace of Westminster followed news of a shooting at parliament.

Two people could be seen lying within Old Palace Yard, immediately outside Westminster Hall. The sitting in the House of Commons was suspended while police officers sealed off the area. Staff inside parliament were told to stay inside their offices.

Minutes after the incident, an emergency services helicopter landed in Parliament Square, as sirens were heard outside. Air ambulance medics came from the helicopter to assist the casualties.

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Photo: An air ambulance outside the Palace of Westminster after sounds similar to gunfire were heard. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

Immediately before the incident, at about 2.45pm, people were seen running from the direction of Westminster Bridge and around the corner into Parliament Square.

A Downing Street source confirmed that the prime minister, Theresa May, was “OK”. May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar car as what sounded like gunfire rang out at parliament during the incident.

A meeting of Cobra, the government’s crisis committee, was expected to meet later, with senior officials from government, counter-terrorism officials and police present.

Police asked people to avoid the following areas: Parliament Square, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube.

The London ambulance service deputy director of operations, Pauline Cranmer, said: “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.

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From the Guardian – House of Commons and Westminster Bridge attack – in pictures – Wednesday 22 March 2017

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Photo: Armed police react outside parliament in London. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

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Photo: Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood (centre) helps emergency services attend to a police officer outside the Palace of Westminster. Stefan Rousseau/PA

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Photo: Emergency services staff provide medical attention on Westminster Bridge. Matt Dunham/AP

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Photo: Injured people being assisted on Westminster Bridge. Toby Melville/Reuters

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Photo: A crashed car outside parliament. Luke Steele/Luke Steele/Twitter

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Posted by Teri Perticone

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