Four people have died in the Westminster terror attack, including a police officer who was stabbed and his attacker, Scotland Yard’s top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley has confirmed.
At least 20 people are also injured after a car crashed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, a popular tourist spot near the British parliament, on Wednesday afternoon.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said no Australians were affected in the attack, while speaking on the Seven Network’s Sunrise program.
The attacker mowed down several pedestrians as he drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster and stabbing the officer.
The knifeman was shot by police in the shadow of Big Ben, as he had tried to force his way into a courtyard just outside the Houses of Parliament.
Conservative parliamentarian Tobias Ellwood, whose brother was killed in the Bali terror attack in 2002, performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the police officer who was stabbed and later died. About 10 yards away from the police officer was the attacker who was shot dead by police after scaling the security wall toward the Parliament’s grounds.
Ellwood, who served in the British military and served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kuwait and Cyprus, applied pressure to the police officer’s multiple lacerations.
Photographs showed Ellwood’s bloodied hands and face from the police officer’s wounds while the alleged attacker was seen nearby.
Rowley said they believed there was just one assailant, but a thorough search of the area, which is the hub of British government and civil service, was underway.
He urged Londoners to be alert but not alarmed.
Reuters reporters inside parliament heard loud bangs and shortly afterwards saw two people lying on the ground in a courtyard just outside.
A Reuters photographer said he saw at least a dozen people injured on the bridge. His photographs showed people lying on the ground, some of them bleeding heavily and one under a bus.
The incident took place on the first anniversary of attacks by Islamist militants that killed 32 people in Brussels.
A woman was pulled alive, but with serious injuries, from the Thames, the Port of London Authority said.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said three French nationals were injured. French media reported they were high-school students.
“I just saw a car go out of control and just go into pedestrians on the bridge,” eyewitness Bernadette Kerrigan told Sky News. She was on a tour bus on the bridge at the time.
“As we were going across the bridge, we saw people lying on the floor, they were obviously injured. I saw about 10 people maybe. And then the emergency services started to arrive. Everyone was just running everywhere.”
The House of Commons, which was in session at the time, was immediately suspended and lawmakers were asked to stay inside.
Prime Minister Theresa May was safe after the incident, a spokesman for her office said. He declined to say where May was when the attack took place.
Journalist Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail newspaper told LBC radio that he had witnessed the stabbing of the policeman and the shooting of the assailant from his office in the parliament building.
“He (the assailant) ran in through the open gates … He set about one of the policemen with what looked like a stick,” Letts said.
“The policeman fell over on the ground and it was quite horrible to watch and then having done that, he disengaged and ran towards the House of Commons entrance used by MPs (members of parliament) and got about 20 yards or so when two plain-clothed guys with guns shot him.”
Reuters reporters inside parliament saw a large number of armed police, some carrying shields, pouring into the building. A helicopter ambulance landed on Parliament Square.
Meanwhile hundreds holed up in Westminster Abbey for security as the attack unfolded.
Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe” meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.