LONDON • London suffered a terror attack yesterday that left two dead near Parliament, including a police officer who was stabbed, and multiple people injured.
It appeared that a vehicle travelled down Westminster Bridge, mowing down people there, and then drove into the fence outside Parliament.
A man then ran through the gate and past security, where he wielded a knife, attacked a police officer and was shot.
The Press Association reported that one woman had died, and described other victims as having suffered "catastrophic" injuries.
The BBC subsequently reported that the stabbed officer had died from his injuries.
The Metropolitan Police, an hour after the attacks were reported, said they are treating it as a "terrorist incident until we know otherwise".
The House of Commons, which was in session when the incidents happened, was suspended, and Members of Parliament who were in the chamber were told to remain there.
Witnesses said they heard two to three gunshots.
A staff member in Parliament who did not want to be named told Agence France-Presse: "I definitely heard shots. I saw someone in dark clothing go down."
A statement from Downing Street said British Prime Minister Theresa May is safe.
The Guardian reported footage filmed by a staff member showing Mrs May being rushed into a car about 35m from the gates outside Parliament minutes after the incident began.
Witnesses told British media that a sport utility vehicle crashed into at least five people and a railing near Parliament, before the driver fled.
A Reuters photographer said he saw at least a dozen people injured on Westminster Bridge, with photographs showing at least four people lying on the bridge bleeding heavily.
The Port of London Authority (PLA) said a woman was pulled from the River Thames alive after the attack, adding that she was being treated for serious injuries.
He added that the river had been closed to all non-emergency traffic in the immediate area.
French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that French students were among those injured at the bridge.
In a statement, police urged 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 to "allow the emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident".
The police said it was keeping an open mind about the motive.
The Muslim Council of Britain later issued a statement condemning the attack. "While it is still too early to speculate on the motives, our thoughts and prayers are for the victims and those affected," it said.
The United States State Department said it is closely following the "concerning situation".
Ms May was expected to chair a meeting of the government's emergency security committee later yesterday, said her office.
Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe", meaning that an attack by militants is considered highly likely.
The incident took place on the same day that Belgium was marking one year since its most deadly attack, when 32 people were killed in suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and a metro station.
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