U.K. Parliament car crash considered terrorist incident

Published On August 14, 2018 | By Michelle Neha | International, News

Forensic investigators work at the crash site after a car crashed outside Parliament in London on Aug. 14. (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

Michelle Neha

Britain’s Parliament was attacked for the second time in 18 months.

Three people were injured when a car crashed into a barricade by the building, which has been cordoned off. Authorities said a man deliberately drove the car into pedestrians and cyclists then rammed his car into the barriers.

The silver Ford Fiesta drove through a group of cyclists and pedestrians during the morning rush hour before hitting a barrier in front of the Houses of Parliament. The driver, a man in his 20s, was arrested by armed officers moments later.

Britain‘s counter-terrorism police chief, Neil Basu, who is also assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said the man was not co-operating with detectives and the incident is being treated as a “terrorist incident.”

Two people were taken to the hospital for serious but non-life-threatening injuries and the third victim was treated on the scene. The Westminster subway station was closed for about six hours before being reopened to the public, but the streets surrounding the crash site remain closed.

Nigel Evans, a Conservative MP, said the incident showed the security measures at Parliament were effective but might still need to be reviewed.

“I’m sure that (debate about) pedestrianization of Parliament Square and which vehicles should be able to access so closely in parliament will be reignited,” he told BBC.

Eyewitness Jason Williams said the attacked appeared planned.

“It looked deliberate. He was going very fast more than 50 miles per hour,” he said. “In my opinion that’s what it looked like, he wasn’t driving slowly, he hit the bollard with force and speed.

“I know, I think, there was a cyclist injured,” Williams said. “So I’ve seen people on the floor, I don’t know if they (were) told, or if that was their reaction, to hit the ground, because obviously us Londoners are becoming quite experienced at this now, unfortunately.” 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the attack.

This incident has put Britain on its second-highest threat level of “severe,” meaning an attack is considered highly likely. Authorities say a dozen Islamist plots had been foiled since Khalid Masood’s attack in Westminster in March 2017, when four people were killed on nearby Westminster Bridge and then stabbed to death an unarmed police officer in the grounds of Parliament before being shot dead by responding officers.

It was the first of five attacks on Britain last year which police blamed on terrorism, three of which had vehicles being used as a weapon.

Last week, Lewis Ludlow, a Muslim convert, admitted plotting to kill more than 100 people by driving a truck into pedestrians on London’s Oxford Street, the capital’s major shopping street.


British Prime Minister Theresa May urged Britons to remain vigilant but to carry on as normal. The House of Commons is currently in recess, returning Sept. 4.

“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 just witnessed terrible scenes just yards from its door,” she said in a statement.

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