London’s Metropolitan Police say four people have died, and 20 injured in an attack on the UK Parliament Buildings. The dead include one armed police officer who was part of the protection unit for Parliament Square, and the suspect himself.
The attack began when the suspect ran over people on Westminster Bridge near the Parliament buildings. Eye witnesses report seeing the attacker stab the police officer. The Metropolitan police are treating the attack a terrorist related incident. They are asking people to stay away from the area. They believe there was only one attacker at this time. The area, known as Westminster, is a high-traffic, high tourist area roughly 10 minutes away from Trafalgar Square.
Reaction from world leaders was swift. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged his government’s solidarity. “On behalf of all Canadians, I offer our full support to Prime Minister May and to the people of the United Kingdom. We stand ready to offer all possible assistance to the British government.” Canada’s Parliament withstood a similar attack in October, 2014 when an armed gunman entered the centre block while former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at a weekly caucus meeting.
U.S. President Donald Trump called May to offer his government’s full cooperation. French President Francois Hollande extended his support saying “terrorism concerns us all, and France knows how the British people are suffering today.” The BBC reports that 3 of the injured victims were French school children.
Metropolitan police have told the public to expect more armed police on the streets in the coming days. The deceased officer was part of the detail assigned to protect Parliament.
Update: March 23, 2017:
Police have named the attacker. 52-year old Khalid Masood was known to police and had previous convictions for violent offenses. He was born Adrian Elms in Kent. According to press reports, there had been no indications Masood was going to attack. Eight arrests were made overnight Wednesday at locations in London, and Birmingham. Those arrested range in age from 21- 58. Police continue to search locations in Birmingham, south-east London, and Carmathenshire, and Brighton.
There was a fifth victim as an unidentified 75-year old man succumbed to his injuries. The other victims being identified are: 48-year old PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade, and 54-year old American tourist Kurt Cochran. Londoners gathered in Trafalgar Square Thursday evening. Home Secretary Amber Rudd was among the speakers, and vowed defeat. “”We are all connected and today we showed that by coming together, by going to work, by getting about our normal business, because the terrorists will not defeat us. We will defeat them,” Rudd told the BBC. Media reports indicate ISIS has taken responsibility. They didn’t offer any evidence to back their claim.