The death toll from Wednesday’s terror attack in London has risen to five. Forty people are wounded, several of them seriously. The attack is treated as “Islamist-related terrorism” by police.
On Wednesday, an attacker drove a car into a crowd of pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman outside the British parliament. Five people have been confirmed dead, including the attacker while 40 more were injured during the deadly attack. “Islamist-related terrorism” is believed to be behind the attack, according to authorities.
Moments after the assailant stabbed an officer, he was shot by police, just yards away from the entrance to the Parliament under the iconic Big Ben clock tower. He died, along with the officer and three other pedestrians on the bridge.
Prime Minister Theresa May described the attack as “sick and depraved.” She insisted that Parliament should resume on Thursday as normal, as a sign that the UK would not give in to terror. “We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
In the wake of the attack, lawmakers, lords, staff, and visitors were locked down inside the parliament for several hours. At the time of the attack, May was near the House of Common and was quickly taken by security back to Downing Street.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, stated that additional police officers will be deployed on the city streets to keep locals and tourists safe. He said “We stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have, and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”
Three French teenagers on a school trip and two Romanian tourists were among the casualties, according to their country’s respective Foreign Ministry.
The fallen police officer has been identified as Keith Palmer, aged 48.
Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, said that authorities had “declared this as a terrorist incident and the counter-terrorism command are carrying out a full-scale investigation into the events today.”
Rowly added that police know the identity of the attacker, thought to be the sole perpetrator, but refused to provide further details. No group had claimed responsibility for the attack, as of Wednesday night
The London incident occurred exactly one year after the terror attacks in Brussels, in which Islamists killed 32 people. The attack with the car resembles last year’s terror incidents in Nice and Berlin.
The attack is the deadliest London has seen since July 2005 when Islamists killed 52 people in a series of suicide bombings on the British capital’s transport system.
According to eye witness accounts, a man dressed in black ran out of the crashed car and towards the entrance to the Parliament holding a knife. He got past a gate into the fenced-in New Palace yard area just under the shadow of Big Ben and stabbed the policeman. He then tried to storm the building but was shot two or three times by officers.
One of the witnesses of the attack was Former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski. He saw the attacker plow into the crowd of pedestrians as he was crossing Westminster Bridge in a taxi. He filmed the attack and uploaded it to Twitter.
Solidarity with the United Kingdom was expressed by leaders around the world. Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, said that she learned of the attacks “with sorrow” and that her thoughts were “with our British friends and all of the people of London.”
French President Francois Hollande told reporters: “We are all concerned with terrorism. France, which has been struck so hard lately, knows what the British people are suffering today.” Hollande added that the families of the three wounded schoolchildren had been flown out to London by the French government to be with their loved ones.
On Wednesday night, Paris’ Eiffel Tower went dark in mourning for the people that were killed in the attack.
The White House condemned that attacks and praised “the quick response of British police and first responders.” Developments are being monitored by President Trump, although despite the attack, the US Homeland Security Department said the country’s security posture had not changed.