London police treating car crash outside Westminster as a terrorist incident – Washington Post

by William Booth August 14 at 5:57 AM Email the author

LONDON — A man crashed his car into security barriers outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament during Tuesday morning’s rush hour, injuring “a number of pedestrians” in what police are calling a terrorist incident.

The driver was arrested at the scene on “suspicion of terrorist offenses,” said a police statement.

 The suspect, a man in his late 20s, was taken to a south London police station where he remains in police custody. 

“At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident and the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the investigation,” the Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

Scotland Yard added that none of the injuries were life-threatening. London Ambulance Service said its staff treated two people at the scene.

Several witnesses told British news media that the crash appeared to be intentional. His silver Ford Fiesta sideswiped cyclists, some of who remounted their bicycles and gave chase.

The name of the driver has not been released.

The Palace of Westminster, where Parliament convenes, bolstered security around the buildings in March 2017, after Khalid Masood drove his car into crowds along Westminster Bridge, killing four people. In that attack, Masood leaped from his smashed car with a knife and began slashing at police and passersby. He killed one policeman before he was shot and killed by armed officers.

“I saw a car going at high speed toward Parliament. It hit a bollard,” Jason Williams, 45, told ITV news, referring to a traffic barrier on the sidewalk. “It looked deliberate. It didn’t look like an accident. How do you do that by accident? It was a loud bang.”

He estimated the car was traveling at 40 to 50 mph.

The vehicle crashed into a barrier outside the Parliament building, across the street from Westminster Abbey. Photographs taken at the scene show armed police surrounding a silver sedan, with automatic weapons pointed at the car.

Witness Ewalina Ochab told Britain’s Press Association, “I heard some noise and someone screamed. I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement.”

She also believed the crash was intentional.

Prime Minister Theresa May thanked the emergency services for their “immediate and courageous” response to the attack. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was in contact with the Metropolitan Police commissioner and  applauded “first responders who were on the scene so quickly.” 

This story is developing.