NEWS

Assailant Shot, At Least A Dozen Injured In Incident At UK Parliament

Parliament in lockdown.

22/03/2017 17:28 SAST | Updated 23/03/2017 07:47 SAST
REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Police tapes off Parliament Square after reports of loud bangs, in London, Britain, March 22, 2017.

An assailant was shot outside the British parliament by armed police, the leader of the House of Commons said on Wednesday after loud bangs were heard and a Reuters photographer saw at least a dozen injured people on a nearby bridge.

A parliamentary official earlier said two people had been shot outside parliament and the building was in lockdown. The House of Commons session was suspended and members of parliament who were in the chamber were told to remain there.

Police said they had been called to an incident at Westminster Bridge, officers were on the scene and it was being treated as a firearms incident.

A Reuters reporter inside the building said medical staff were treating two people inside the gates of the parliamentary estate.

Nearby Westminster underground train station was closed at the request of police.

Two people were seen lying on Westminster Bridge, bleeding heavily.

REUTERS
Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A policeman was stabbed inside the perimeter of Britain's parliament building on Wednesday, an assailant was shot outside and several people lay bleeding on a nearby bridge, Reuters witnesses and officials said.

A Reuters photographer saw at least a dozen people injured on Westminster Bridge and photographs showed people lying on the ground, bleeding heavily. The number of casualties was unclear.

The House of Commons, which was in session at the time, was immediately suspended and lawmakers were asked to stay inside.

Prime Minister Theresa May was safe after the incident, a spokesman for her office said. He declined to say where May was when the attack took place.

The leader of the House, David Lidington, said in the chamber that an assailant who stabbed a policeman had been shot by police.

Amid confusing scenes, it appeared the incident may have unfolded in several locations, including the busy bridge where tourists often congregate to take pictures of Big Ben and other attractions.

The incident took place on the first anniversary of attacks on Brussels in Belgium.

Reuters reporters inside parliament said a large number of armed police, some carrying shields, were pouring into the building.

Britain is on its second-highest level of "severe" meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

In May 2013, two British Islamists stabbed to death soldier Lee Rigby on a street in southeast London.

In July 2005, four British Islamists killed 52 commuters and themselves in suicide bombings on the British capital's transport system in what was London's worst peacetime attack.

REUTERS
Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

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