Britain places alert level at “severe” after terror attack

It is probably not a coincidence that terrorists tried to attack the British parliament.

In a development that is likely to have wide ranging ramifications for Britain, Islamist-inspired attackers stabbed a policeman and plowed a car into pedestrians close to Britain’s parliament.

The “marauding terrorist attack,” had among its victims a policeman and 3 others who were hit by the car which sped across Westminster Bridge before crashing into railings just outside parliament.

Calling the attack as “sick and depraved” British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned it saying, “The location of this attack was no accident.”

“The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech,” she added.

As per Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, Mark Rowley, the attack started when a car moving on Westminster Bridge hit and injured members of the public and three police officers.

“A car then crashed near to parliament and at least one man, armed with a knife, continued the attack and tried to enter parliament,” said Rowley.

The police’s “fast-paced investigation” was working on the assumption that the attack was “Islamist-related terrorism”.

As of now, the policemen believe they know the identity of the attacker, they would however not divulge any information at this stage.

Keith Palmer, 48, has been identified as the police officer who has been knifed by the terrorists.

Act of Grace

Despite the designs of the terrorists, a woman was pulled out of the Thames with serious injuries. The circumstances of her fall aren’t clear.

Although three French schoolchildren aged either 15 or 16, were injured in the attack, they are however safe, said French officials.

Tobias Ellwood, a junior Foreign Office minister, was seen trying to resuscitate Keith Palmer, who was lying unconscious.

“We stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have, and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Parliament’s lower House of Commons, which was in session, was suspended and lawmakers were advised to stay inside the building for several hours.

May said, parliament would convene on Thursday, in a sign that the attack would not disrupt life in the capital.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Donald Trump were among the foreign leaders who expressed solidarity.

Presence of Mind

Radoslaw Sikorski, the former Polish Foreign Minister, who witnessed the attack from a taxi as he crossed the bridge, had the presence of mind to tape the attack as he saw the victims fall.

“I heard something that sounded like a small car crash. Then I looked out of the window and saw that there was one person lying on the asphalt,” said Sikorski.

“I did not see the face of the person lying on the asphalt, but the person was not moving, it was not showing any signs of life. One of the men I saw, his head was bleeding very badly. But the person I filmed — no, that person was not showing any signs of life.”

Quentin Letts, a journalist from the Daily Mail also witnessed the attack from his office in the parliament building.

“He (the assailant) ran in through the open gates … He set about one of the policemen with what looked like a stick,” said Letts. “The policeman fell over on the ground and it was quite horrible to watch and then having done that, he disengaged and ran toward the House of Commons entrance used by MPs and got about 20 yards or so when two plain-clothed guys with guns shot him.”

After the attack, Britain has been placed in the second-highest alert level of “severe” meaning that an attack by terrorists is considered highly likely.

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