In what authorities are treating as a terrorist attack, several people were injured in Central London on Tuesday after a car knocked down cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.
The incident occurred shortly after 7:30 a.m. (British time) during the morning rush hour. The driver of the silver Ford Fiesta was immediately arrested at the scene by police and held on “suspicion of terrorist offenses.” The man, who has not been named, has been described as in his late 20s.
Police said there was nobody else inside the vehicle and that no weapons have currently been discovered. The area around Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster – a popular tourist site – was cordoned off for hours.
Scotland Yard said later Tuesday morning that it was treating the event as a “terrorist incident.” The Yard’s counter-terrorism team is leading the investigation.
Peter Rhodes, assistant director of operations for the London Ambulance Service, said in a statement that “two patients were assessed at the scene and taken to hospital, and a third patient with minor injuries was assessed at the scene.” Police said none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening. St. Thomas’ hospital issued a statement shortly before 12 p.m. saying the hospital had now discharged the patient in its care.
The incident comes more than a year after an attack in the same area, in which four bystanders, including an American tourist, and a police officer were killed. On March 22, 2017, an Islamic terrorist drove along the sidewalk of Westminster Bridge and plowed into pedestrians before crashing the car and running into the Palace of Westminster, where he stabbed an unarmed police officer. An armed officer shot the attacker, who died at the scene. The police officer who was stabbed also died.
British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: “My thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster and my thanks to the emergency services for their immediate and courageous response.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan thanked “first responders who were on the scene so quickly.” Khan issued a subsequent statement saying that “all Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city. The response of Londoners today shows that we will never be cowed, intimidated or divided by any terrorist attack.” He also reiterated that the message from the police was to “remain calm and vigilant.”