Five Dead In Westminster Terror Attack
Five people have died and at least 40 were injured after an attacker drove a car along a pavement in Westminster, stabbed a policeman and was shot dead by police in the grounds of Parliament.
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”.
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.
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 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.
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.”
Turkey condemns London terror attacks
Top Turkish officials condemned suspected terrorist incidents outside Britain’s parliament Wednesday in which a police officer was killed and at least two others, with dozens injured.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter of condolences to British Prime Minister Theresa May.
“I want to emphasize that Turkey deeply feels and shares the United Kingdom’s sorrow. Turkey always stands in solidarity with the friendly and allied United Kingdom in the fight against terrorism, one of the greatest threats to international peace and security,” he said.
Erdogan also offered condolences via Twitter to the people of the country. “I extend my sympathies to the victims’ families and the British people. I wish a speedy recovery to those who were injured.,” he wrote.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also reacted to the incident, saying: “Associating terrorism with Muslim countries is a grave mistake. Terrorism is a global catastrophe.”
“Solely associating terrorism with Muslim countries is the gravest mistake. Terrorism is a global catastrophe,” Yildirim added.
He added that all countries should unite on the issue of terrorism and fight it together, while also urging against double standards on the issue.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu condemned the incidents on his official Twitter account.
“We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks in London that took place in the Westminster area where parliament is located.
Turkey and the Turkish people, who have been subjected to similar attacks many times, share the sorrow of Britain and the British people,” he wrote.
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