Woman killed, several injured in UK Parliament
An assailant has been shot by armed police outside the Houses of Parliament in Britain’s capital, London, after he stabbed a police officer and several other people in the vicinity of the parliament building.
British news agency, Press Association, reported citing a junior doctor at a central London hospital that a woman had died as the result of the incident while other people were being treated for “catastrophic” injuries.
Russia’s RT reported that in another incident, up to 12 people were injured after a car mowed down pedestrians on the nearby Westminster Bridge.
According to Reuters, the UK parliament building has been shut down after the attack with dozens of armed police carrying shields entering the building. MPs have been advised to remain inside the building.
David Lidington, the leader of parliament’s lower House of Commons told MPs: “What I am able to say to the house is there has been a serious incident,” AFP reported.
“It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police,” he noted, adding, “There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster.”
According to Lidington, an air ambulance was at the scene to take away casualties.
Following the incident, traffic was halted on Westminster Bridge with emergency vehicles swarming the area and police completely shutting off the bridge to traffic.
According to AFP, Westminster station on the London Underground train network, which is opposite the Houses of Parliament, was also closed,
At least a dozen people were reportedly injured on a nearby bridge. A Reuters reporter says he has seen at least four people injured outside the parliament, some bleeding heavily and apparently unconscious.
No group or individual has so far assumed responsibility for the incident and a British security source have told Reuters that the motivation of the attack remains unclear.
British police sources say they are treating the incident as a terrorist incident until proven otherwise.
London’s Metropolitan Police said on Twitter, “We were called at approx 2:40 pm to reports of an incident at Westminster Bridge. Being treated as a firearms incident — police on the scene.”
It added, “Officers — including firearms officers — are on scene and dealing with the incident.”
A parliamentary official earlier said two people had been shot outside the parliament and the building was in lockdown.
The House of Commons session was suspended and members of parliament who were in the chamber were told to remain there.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was safe but did not specify where the prime minister was during the attack.
Police said they had been called to an incident at Westminster Bridge, officers were on the scene and it was being treated as a firearms incident.
According to later reports, the Scottish parliament has suspended a debate on authorizing the government to seek a new independence referendum after Wednesday’s attack on Britain’s Houses of Parliament.
The Westminster incident took place on the first anniversary of attacks in the Belgian capital Brussels that left over 30 people dead and more than 300 others injured.