Crash outside UK Houses of Parliament treated as terror incident, police say

Posted at 4:40 AM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 07:24:17-04

A car crashed into security barriers outside the UK’s Houses of Parliament during rush hour Tuesday morning, injuring two people. The driver, a man in his late 20s, has been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offenses.

The man’s car collided with several cyclists and pedestrians, before crashing into the barrier, shortly after 7:30 a.m., police said.

The crash is being treated as a terrorist incident and counter terror police are leading the investigation, police added.

The driver was alone in the car and no weapons were recovered at the scene. He remains in custody in a south London police station.

London Ambulance Service said the two people treated for injuries were not believed to be in a serious condition. Both were taken to hospital.

Following the incident, the nearby Westminster Underground station was closed, according to Transport for London, while roads nearby were cordoned off.

The area is popular with tourists visiting the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.

Parliament is currently in summer recess.

Eyewitness Ewelina U. Ochab said she saw the incident take place from the other side of the pavement.

“I heard some noise, and someone screamed. I turned around and I saw a silver car driving from the crossing — very fast and close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement,” Ochab said.

“The car drove at speed… There was a loud bang from the collision and a bit of smoke. The driver did not get out. The guards started screaming to people to move away. One elderly man rushed me to hide behind a monument, just in case.”

Jackie Laidley from London, who works as a manager in the Cabinet office, told CNN she couldn’t reach her workplace because of police cordons.

“We’re kind of stuck waiting to hear from our bosses what to do,” she said.

“We’ve had attacks over the years… You just thank your stars that you’re really not caught up in it. When you live in London in a big city anything like this can happen,” she added.

Sisters Siti Atikah binti ABD Razak, 19, and Siti Nadhirah binti ABD Razak, 21, were visiting from Malaysia when they planned to visit Westminster Abbey on Tuesday.

Earlier in the week they had heard about a shooting in Manchester, northern England, but said that despite the incidents they had no plans to cut short their trip to the UK.

“There is some fear, but it’s a fear to overcome,” Siti Nadhirah told CNN.” We have to be brave to see new things in the world.”

Security measures in the area were reinforced after the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017.

Four people were killed in that incident when a 52-year-old British man, Khalid Masood, rammed a rental car onto the sidewalk on Westminster Bridge. Masood then stabbed an unarmed police officer.