A knife-wielding man has gone on a deadly rampage in the heart of Britain’s seat of power, ploughing a car into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a police officer inside the gates of Parliament.
Five people were killed, including the assailant, and 40 others were injured in what Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned as a “sick and depraved terrorist attack.”
Lawmakers, lords, staff and visitors were locked down after the man was shot by police within the perimeter of Parliament, just metres from entrances to the building itself and in the shadow of the iconic Big Ben clock tower.
An Australian permanent resident was among those injured in the attack, Attorney General George Brandis told Senate question time on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Brandis said the woman was receiving treatment in hospital and consular staff were providing assistance.
A doctor who treated the wounded from the bridge said some had “catastrophic” injuries. Three police officers, several French teenagers on a school trip, two Romanian tourists, and five South Koreans were among the casualties.
Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said unarmed policeman Keith Palmer, 48, three civilians and the attacker died. Forty others were injured.
Islamic extremism was suspected in the attack, Rowley said, adding that authorities believe they know the assailant’s identity but would not reveal it while the investigation was ongoing.
The threat level for international terrorism in the UK was already listed at severe, meaning an attack was “highly likely.”
Speaking outside 10 Downing St. after chairing a meeting of government’s emergency committee, COBRA, May said that level would not change. She said attempts to defeat British values of democracy and freedom through terrorism would fail.
“Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal,” she said. Londoners and visitors “will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
US President Donald Trump was among world leaders offering condolences, and in Paris, the lights of the Eiffel Tower were to be dimmed in solidarity with London.