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Policeman, Pedestrian Killed In Westminster Terrorist Attack

RFE/RL March 22, 2017

The British Parliament has come under what police described as a terrorist attack -- with an assailant driving a car into a group of pedestrians, and a man who got out of the vehicle running inside the Parliament's security perimeter, where he fatally stabbed a police officer before he was shot by security.

At least one woman was killed in the March 22 attack when a driver sped across Westminster Bridge at a high speed and slammed into as many as 12 pedestrians before crashing into a railing near Parliament and the Big Ben clock-tower.

The BBC reports that the police officer who was stabbed in the attack died later in a hospital.

Reports said one person -- a thick-set man dressed in black -- got out of the car waving an object and ran inside the Parliament's security perimeter through a vehicle entrance used by lawmakers.

The assailant stabbed one police officer inside the entrance gate and then ran further into the parliamentary estate.

Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports that a second man in the vehicle was arrested outside of the parliamentary compound.

London's ambulance service said it treated 10 people on Westminster Bridge who were injured by the vehicle.

House of Commons Leader David Lidington said the assailant was shot by plainclothes police as he was running toward the Parliament building.

Hospital officials said several people who were struck by the assailant's vehicle suffered "catastrophic" injuries.

The BBC reported that a group of French school children who were walking on the northern end of Westminster Bridge were among those struck by the assailant's vehicle.

French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later confirmed that three French schoolchildren, aged 15 to 16, were among the injured.

Westminster Bridge spans the River Thames and is used for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. It meets the Palace of Westminster compound near its northern end.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said she was safe after the attack.

She had been in the House of Commons at the time of the attack and was quickly shuttled away by security to her office at 10 Downing Street, where she called for an emergency security meeting at her Cabinet Office Briefing Room.

A full counterterrorism investigation was launched by London Metropolitan Police.

Meanwhile, the Parliament was placed on lockdown and lawmakers were sequestered in a secure area along with others in the compound before people were allowed to start leaving.

British Special Forces and heavily armed police were deployed inside the Parliament building after the attack, as military helicopters flew overhead.

The violence outside the British Parliament came on the first anniversary of three coordinated suicide bombings in Brussels that killed 32 victims and injured more than 300 others.

Extremists in the so-called Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Brussels attacks.

Authorities said later that the Brussels attacks were carried out by members of a terrorist cell that had been involved in the November 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people and injured 368 others.

With reporting by Reuters, BBC, and AP

Source: http://www.rferl.org/a/u-k-parliament- attack-shots-fired/28384559.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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