Was The UK Parliament Attack Terrorism?

by Ann-Derrick Gaillot
Leon Neal/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Mirror reports that a shooting outside of the Houses of Parliament in London has reportedly left people injured and at least one person dead, and police were called to address an incident at nearby Westminster Bridge where people were reportedly mowed down by a car. London's Metropolitan Police said that it was treating the Westminster incident as a terrorist situation "until we know otherwise." Update: UK police officially declared the incident as a terrorist attack and said a full counter-terrorism effort was underway.

The area was put under a security alert, and according to the Telegraph, witnesses saw a car hit pedestrians and crash into the perimeter fence on the bridge. The driver, armed with a knife, then exited the car and attacked police officers outside of Parliament before being shot. Multiple people have been injured, including one police officer who was stabbed. An air ambulance was quick to respond at the scene.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May was reportedly safe and evacuated from Parliament. The number injured is still being determined. A little over an hour after its initial reports, the Telegraph reported that one woman died on the Westminster Bridge, while others were hurt, some with very serious injuries.

Scotland Yard is urging people to avoid "Parliament Square; Whitehall; Westminster Bridge; Lambeth Bridge; Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube." Additionally, the Westminster Tube station has been closed as emergency personnel respond to those injured at the scene.

A British Member of Parliament told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the House of Commons was about to vote when the MPs were informed of what had happened outside. The Commons chamber has since been evacuated, though Parliament and surrounding buildings stayed in lockdown.

This tragic incident on the Westminster Bridge echoed 2016 terrorist attacks in Nice and Berlin, in which large trucks were used by attackers to kill holiday celebrants. Undoubtedly, it will take more time for the details of what happened in London to be uncovered and confirmed. And until then, several people are taking to social media to urge others to think twice before sharing photos and videos of injured victims or unconfirmed information about the attacker and the incident.

Meanwhile, though the incident is a suspected terrorist attack, journalist Jenan Moussa reported that no one had yet claimed responsibility for the attack on the extremist communication channels she is monitoring. Details may change, though, as this situation is currently developing and being investigated by police.