A knife-wielding assailant driving a sport utility vehicle mowed down panicked pedestrians and stabbed a police officer outside Parliament on Wednesday. The attack unfolded around 2:40 p.m.
At least four people, including the assailant, were killed and at least 40 others injured. It appeared to be the most serious such assault in London since the deadly subway bombings more than a decade ago.
Britain has not suffered a large-scale terrorist attack since July 7, 2005, when bomb attacks on subway trains and on a bus killed more than 50 people. Political violence is relatively rare in Britain, where gun ownership is stringently restricted.
At least three police officers were among those injured on the bridge. Also among the injured were three 10th-grade boys from a group of visiting students from the Brittany region of France, and a woman who fell or plunged into the River Thames.
Mr. Hollande’s government said it had chartered a plane to London with families of the French victims.
The number of injured apparently included five South Korean tourists who were overwhelmed by a crowd fleeing the scene, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday morning. Three men suffered fractures, and a woman had surgery for a head injury, the ministry said.
For more than two hours, astonished lawmakers inside the House of Commons, some of whom had ducked for cover, were told to stay in place as officers searched the premises office by office.
Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed into a vehicle and spirited back to her office. She held a meeting of the government’s emergency committee and issued a statement on Wednesday night from her 10 Downing Street residence denouncing “the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our Capital this afternoon.”
Mrs. May, who spoke with Mr. Hollande and President Trump, said in her statement that Parliament would meet as normal on Thursday. She vowed to never permit “the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
Jeremy Shapiro, a former State Department official now at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said that the London attack was consistent with the recent pattern of attacks in which a vehicle was used to kill people, citing assaults in France, Germany and Israel.
“We’ve seen a gradual movement away from terrorist attacks on the West to attacks on softer and softer targets with more improvised weapons,” he said. “In a way, it’s a sign of desperation and a demonstration of the effectiveness of counterterrorism in the West. It’s spectacularly easy to kill a bunch of people with a car or a truck if you don’t care who they are.
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