Man arrested ‘on suspicion of terrorist offences’ after car crash outside UK Parliament – CBC.ca
British police said they believe a man deliberately drove a car into pedestrians and cyclists on Tuesday before ramming it into barriers outside the U.K’s Houses of Parliament in London in what appeared to be the second attack on the building in just under 18 months.
Police said three people were injured after a silver Ford Fiesta was driven through a group of cyclists and pedestrians during the early morning rush hour before smashing into a protective barrier on a lane used for accessing the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the British government.
The driver, a man in his 20s, was arrested by armed officers at the scene moments later.
“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method, and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident,” London’s assistant police commissioner Neil Basu said.
The driver, a man in his twenties, was arrested by officers at the scene and police are treating it as a ‘terrorist incident’ 0:18
In March 2017, Khalid Masood, 52, killed four people on nearby Westminster Bridge and stabbed to death an unarmed police officer on the grounds of Parliament before being shot dead.
It was the first of five attacks on Britain last year which police blamed on terrorism, three of which involved a vehicle being used as a weapon.
No weapons found
Basu said the suspect in Tuesday’s incident was in custody but was not co-operating with detectives. Although he had not been formally identified, the man was not believed to be known to security forces, Basu said.
“He was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. “There was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and is being searched. No weapons have been recovered at this stage.”
Camera footage showed the vehicle taking a wrong turn into a group of cyclists waiting at traffic lights before veering across the road and into a lane leading to Parliament and then hitting the barrier as two police officers jumped to safety.
Two people were taken to hospital and one woman was still receiving treatment for serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
A man has been detained on suspicion of terrorism offences 0:24
Armed officers swarmed the scene and cordoned off a large area around the Parliament in central London, usually bustling with tourists and government workers.
Witness Jason Williams said the car had struck a barrier on a lane used for access to the Parliament building with force. He said he thought it was deliberate.
“It’s a very serious incident,” he told reporters. “There was smoke coming from the vehicle.”
Armed police stand in the street after a car crashed outside the Houses of Parliament in London. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)
Images shot by a Euronews journalist showed police pointing their guns at a vehicle. Footage on social media showed a handcuffed man being led away by heavily armed police. Other footage showed a cyclist lying on the street.
“I saw the cyclists, injured cyclists. I’ve seen people, about 10, on the road, lying down, but I haven’t seen any fatalities,” Williams said.
London’s Ambulance Service said it had treated two people for injuries at the scene and they had been taken to hospital. A third person with minor injuries was “assessed” at the site of the crash.
Our latest statement in response to the incident in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Westminster?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Westminster</a>.<br><br>Two patients were treated at the scene and taken to hospital and a third patient with minor injuries was assessed at the scene. <br><br>Follow <a href=”https://twitter.com/metpoliceuk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@metpoliceuk</a> for more information. <a href=”https://t.co/0muUedQgbZ”>pic.twitter.com/0muUedQgbZ</a>
Westminster Underground station, which is close to Parliament, was closed to the public and the building cordoned off.
Parliament is in summer recess and most lawmakers are not using the building.
“The threat to the United Kingdom from terrorism remains severe. I would urge the public to remain vigilant,” Prime Minister Theresa May, who is on holiday abroad, said in a statement.
Man arrested after vehicle swerves into opposite lane outside British Parliament, hitting cyclists and pedestrians 1:07
Britain is on its second highest threat level of “severe,” meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.
Last week, a Muslim convert admitted plotting to kill more than 100 people by driving a truck into pedestrians on London’s Oxford Street, the capital’s major shopping thoroughfare.
In October last year, 11 people were injured when a car collided with pedestrians near London’s Natural History Museum, raising fears of an attack, but police later said the incident was a road traffic accident.
With files from The Associated Press
The car that crashed outside the Houses of Parliament is surrounded by members of the emergency services in Westminster. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)