London : Five people died and nearly 40 others injured when a knife-wielding man rampaged through a street in his car and tried to storm the British symbol of democracy in London, hitting pedestrians and stabbing a police officer near the Parliament in an “Islamist-related terrorism” attack.
The dead included the attacker, who was “known” to the Metropolitan Police, and the 48-year-old police officer he stabbed. The police identified the officer as Keith Palmer.
Three civilians were killed when the man plowed his grey Hyundai i40 through the pedestrians on Westminster Bridge just outside the British Parliament.
The knife-man then tried to gain entry to the Parliament via the main entrance and stabbed a police officer.
Plainclothes armed officers shouted warnings at him before shooting a number of rounds.
He was later seen covered by blankets, presumed dead.
Dozens of injured people were rushed to hospital from the scene and one woman was confirmed dead by doctors at St Thomas Hospital near Parliament hours later.
UK Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the stabbed police officer but said he “died at the scene”.
The first mass casualty terrorist strike on Britain in over a decade was condemned as “sick and depraved terrorist attack” on democratic values by Prime Minister Theresa May.
The Scotland Yard has urged public to “remain vigilant” and said a review of policing strategy in London was underway, with additional policemen being deployed across the city.
Mark Rowley, Britain’s national head for Counter Terrorism Policing and the acting deputy commissioner, has refused to comment on the identity of the attacker, but said “our working assumption is he was inspired by international terrorism” and and “Islamist-related terrorism”.
“We are forensically examining a complicated crime scene that covers a wide area,” Rowley said in a statement about the Met department’s “fast-time examination” of the attack.
The lock down on Parliament, for several hours because of fears there could have been further attacks, has been lifted.
The UK threat level has been at ‘Severe’ for some time and the police said they were not considering to change the level.
The Indian High Commission in London has set up a special “Public Response Unit” for any Indians caught up in the terror attack.