Car Ramming Attack outside British Parliament Treated as ‘Terrorist Incident’
Tuesday morning’s car ramming in which a driver ran over several cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into security barriers before the Houses of Parliament in the UK capital London has officially been classified as a “terrorist incident” by the British police.
The 29-year-old driver was arrested immediately after crashing. He swerved into cyclists and pedestrians shortly after 07:30 BST, injuring three people, BBC News reports.
Two people were treated in hospital for their injuries in the car ramming in downtown London but have been discharged.
“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident,” said Scotland Yard’s head of counter terrorism Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu.
“[There is] no intelligence at this time of further danger [to London or the UK as a whole],” he added.
The suspect is not believed to be known to MI5 or the UK’s counter-terrorism police but is not co-operating with the officers. Searches are taking place in Birmingham and Nottingham.
The suspect has not been formally identified, and is kept at a police station in south London. Security Minister Ben Wallace is quoted as revealing that the suspect was a British national but originally from another country.
No-one else was in the car during the terrorist attack before the British Parliament, and no weapons have been found.
“For the second time in as many years the home of our democracy, which is a potent symbol of our precious values of tolerance and freedom, has witnessed terrible scenes just yards from its door,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement following a government meeting of its Cobra emergency committee.
The silver Ford Fiesta used for the terrorist attack is known to have traveled from Birmingham to London on Monday night, arriving in the capital just after midnight, according to information released by the British police.
The vehicle was in the Tottenham Court Road area from approximately 01:25 BST until 05:55. It was then driven around the Westminster and Whitehall area from approximately 06:00 until the incident
Westminster Tube station was closed for entry and exit, and streets around Millbank and Parliament Square cordoned off for several hours after the crash. The British Parliament is not currently sitting.
British Transport Police said it was increasing patrols in England, Scotland and Wales and that its officers would be “highly visible on trains and at stations”.
The British Houses of Parliament are surrounded with security barriers of steel and concrete. Security measures at the building have been tightened since 2001 and the July 7 terrorist attacks in London.
The measures were extended after the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017 when Khalid Masood, a British national, ploughed a car into crowds on Westminster Bridge, killing four people.
The UK Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said as of the end June 2018 there were 676 live investigations into potential terrorist plots.
He also revealed that since March 2017, a total of 13 Islamist plots and four far-right plots had been foiled.
(Banner image: BBC News)