UK: 5 die, assailant killed in Westminster ‘terror attack’

23rd Mar 2017
UK: 5 die, assailant killed in Westminster ‘terror attack’

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

 

LONDON (AA):- At least five people were killed Wednesday and 40 others injured in a terror attack in U.K.’s capital, British police confirmed. Several people have been arrested linked to the Westminster terror attack in a raid in Edgebaston, Birmingham. The car involved in the attack was hired in Birmingham.

A single unidentified attacker drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing at least three victims and injuring dozens before attacking and fatally injuring a police officer in the Old Palace Yard, the courtyard directly outside parliament.

Three police officers from Scotland Yard were among the injured, Mark Rowley, high-ranking anti-terror officer, said in a press briefing.

The attacker was previously known to the police, Rawley added.

Police Constable Keith Palmer, 48, was identified as the slain officer.

Palmer was stabbed to death by the assailant who was then shot dead by police.

Prime Minister Theresa May said following an emergency high security meeting (COBRA) that the attacker carried out the “sick and depraved” act and deliberately chose the parliament which stands for democracy, freedom and rule of law.

“These streets of Westminster – home to the world’s oldest parliament – are engrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe,” May said. “And the values our Parliament represents – democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law – command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere.”

She said it “was why it is a target for those who reject those values and any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to fail”.

Spokesman from the Muslim Council of Britain, said they werr “shocked and saddened by the incident at Westminster. We condemn this attack and while it is still too early to speculate on the motives, our thoughts and prayers are for the victims and those affected. We pay tribute too to the police and emergency services who handled this with bravery. The Palace of Westminster is the centre of our democracy and we must all ensure that it continues to serve our country and its people with safety and security.”

Metropolitan Police said it was treating the incident as a terrorist attack and a full scale investigation was underway.

– French students among wounded

Three pupils from the Saint-Joseph de Concarneau high school in Brittany were among those wounded in the bridge incident, according to French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

“Solidarity with our terribly struck British friends, full support for injured French students, their families and their comrades,” French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Twitter.

”We express our full support to the British people. Terrorism concerns us all and France know how the British people are suffering today,” said French President Francois Hollande.

UK westminster terror attck police ofice r killed

[Photo: PC Keith Palmer murdered by terrorist in Westminster. Police Photo]

Lockdown

Metropolitan Police asked the public to avoid areas of central London surrounding Parliament Square.

Parliament Square is under a complete security lockdown, with all roads into the square cordoned off by police.

St. Thomas Hospital, which was under lockdown, said some victims it received were being treated for “catastrophic injuries”.

Police Commander BJ Harrington earlier appealed for public information and urged the public to stay away from the Westminster area.

– International reaction

In addition to condemnations by Turkish and French officials, international reaction to the attack and expressions of solidarity began soon after the news broke.

U.S. President Donald Trump offered his condolences to May and pledged “the full cooperation and support of the United States Government in responding to the attack and bringing those responsible to justice,” the White House said.

“Deeply shocked by attacks on police & members of public in London,” was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reaction on Twitter. “My thoughts are with injured & our solidarity goes out to the UK,” she added.

“My thoughts are with the victims of the Westminster attack. Europe stands firm with the UK against terror and ready to help,” said European Council President Donald Tusk.

Pedro Agramunt, president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said in a statement: “I strongly deplore today’s serious terrorist incident at Westminster, the home of British democracy, which comes exactly a year after the Brussels attacks”.

He added, “My thoughts are with the families of the victims, the police and the men and women of the emergency services, who responded swiftly and resolutely.

“Whoever carried out this attack, they will fail in their aim of creating division or fear – democracy will never bend to terror.”

*Hajer M’tiri and Michael Hernandez contributed to this story from Paris and Washington

Additional reporting by The Muslim News

[Photo: Police forensics team examine a car in Parliament Square on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer and a knife-wielding attacker were killed in an attack outside parliament Wednesday, March 22 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Ray Tang/AA]

 

 

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