An armed police officer rushes to the scene of an incident outside the Houses of Parliament in central London. Picture: AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas
BRITAIN’S Houses of Parliament are in lockdown after a machete-wielding attacker charged through the gates of Westminster and stabbed a police officer in what is being described as a “terror incident”.
The alleged assailant was shot by police in the gardens of Parliament in London about 2.45pm Wednesday (1.45am Thursday AEDT).
The lone attacker also reportedly mowed down a dozen pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge before crashing into the gates outside Portcullis House, The Sun reports.
Dramatic pictures show bodies littering Westminster bridge, with The Daily Star reporting that about 12 people have been injured.
Commons Leader David Lidington told MPs a “police officer has been stabbed” and the “alleged assailant was shot by armed police”.
London police say they are treating the attack “as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.”
Footage from the scene in London as UK police investigate a "firearms incident" near British parliament https://t.co/XjaTGVM6dc pic.twitter.com/nJsVT98nBO
— CNN (@CNN) March 22, 2017
Police officer reportedly down after three or four shots fired within Parliament https://t.co/G2qfNqh3Os pic.twitter.com/pN1clCiJA0
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) March 22, 2017
A car on Westminster Bridge has just mowed down at least 5 people. pic.twitter.com/tdCR9I0NgJ
— Radosław Sikorski (@sikorskiradek) March 22, 2017
Man receiving medical attention outside Westminster Hall. I heard loud explosion on Westminster bridge. Public running away
— Christopher Hope (@christopherhope) March 22, 2017
Former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski posted a video on Twitter that seems to show people lying injured in the road on Westminster Bridge.
Mr Sikorski, a senior fellow at the Harvard Centre for European Studies, says he saw at least five people lying on the ground after being “mown down” by a car.
He told the BBC he “heard what I thought what I thought was just a collision and then I looked through the window of the taxi and someone down, obviously in great distress.
“Then I saw a second person down, and I started filming, then I saw three more people down, one of them bleeding profusely.”
A video grab from the Twitter account of Polish politician and journalist Radoslaw Sikorski shows a man on the ground receiving assistance on Westminster Bridge. Picture: AFP/Handout/ Radoslaw Sikorski Emergency personnel tend to an injured person close to the Palace of Westminster, London. Picture: Yui Mok/PA via AP
A witness told S ky News the alleged assailant was seen walking towards a policeman with a knife in his hand, having already assaulted another policeman.
Early reports indicated two people were seen to be lying within Old Palace Yard, immediately outside Westminster Hall.
Sounds of an explosion were also reportedly heard, but this has not been confirmed.
A witness reported: “We heard a loud bang, lots of shouting and men running around.
Someone rushed through, attacked a policeman.
“He appeared to be carrying a knife or a gun. We then heard gunfire, five or six rounds.
“The man approaching one of the police officers with a knife.”
Armed police officers enter the Houses of Parliament in London. Picture: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth An Air Ambulance on the scene after sounds similar to gunfire near the Houses of Parliament in London. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA via AP
A medical helicopter has landed outside the Houses Parliament to treat victims and a Hazardous Area Response Team has been dispatched.
The sitting in the House of Commons has been suspended as police officers sealed off the area around the incident.
Citing witnesses, CNN reports people inside parliament are “herded into a meeting room”.
Staff inside Parliament were told to stay in their offices and away from windows.
Immediately before the incident, a crowd of passers-by was seen running from the direction of Westminster Bridge and around the corner into Parliament Square.
Met Police have said: “We were called at approx 2:40pm to reports of an incident at #Westminster Bridge. Being treated as a firearms incident — police on scene.”
US President Donald Trump been briefed on the incident.
The alleged assailant has been shot by police. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA via AP