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UK Prime Minister Theresa May describes attack on Parliament as 'sick and depraved'

News Agencies | Updated on: 23 March 2017, 8:10 IST

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has described the major terror attack on the Parliament, which shook the nation on Wednesday, as "sick and depraved."

"I have just chaired a meeting of the Government's emergency committee, COBRA, following the sick and depraved terrorist attack on the streets of our Capital this afternoon," she said.

May praised the "exceptional bravery of the police and the security services, who ran towards the danger as they encouraged others to move away." She also paid tribute to the officer who was killed by the attacker.

May said it was "no accident that the attacker chose the Parliament which stands for democracy, freedom and rule of law," and added that was why it was a "target for those who rejected those values."

"But let me make it clear today, as I have had cause to do before: any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to failure," she said.

May also said that the Parliament would be open as normal on Thursday.

"Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal.And Londoners - and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great City - will get up and go about their day as normal.They will board their trains, they will leave their hotels, they will walk these streets, they will live their lives.And we will all move forward together. Never giving in to terror. And never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart," she said.

Earlier, the lockdown of Westminster following the attack came to an end, after several hours.

Around 1000 people, including Parliament workers as well as MPs, were locked down in Westminster Abbey. They were interviewed by the police to see if they had any information that could help the inquiry.

Four people died, including a police officer, and at least 20 people were injured in the attack outside the Houses of Parliament here.

Mark Rowley, the head of counter-terrorism at the Met, said the police officer, who was stabbed by a lone attacker attempting to enter the House of Commons, had succumbed to his injury. The suspect was also shot and killed as reported by The Guardian.

Prior to this, at least 20 people, including three officers, were reported hurt when an attacker drove a vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, near the Parliament.

One woman was believed to have been thrown over the bridge into the river Thames - and later pulled alive from the water - while another fell on to a hard surface below the bridge.

Speaking to reporters outside the central London hospital, junior doctor Colleen Anderson from St Thomas' hospital said a female pedestrian had also died.

Here are the top developments so far:

. Home Secretary Amber Rudd condemned the attack on "our shared values", but said they would never be destroyed.

. The U.K. Parliament confirmed it would be open as usual on Thursday despite the attack on it and the lockdown of Westminster.

. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said London "remains one of the safest in the world," despite today's terror attack."London is the greatest city in the world," Khan said in a video statement.

"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.". U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed condolence to the victims and their families

"On behalf of the United States, I express my condolences to the victims and their families. The American people send their thoughts and prayers to the people of the United Kingdom. We condemn these horrific acts of violence, and whether they were carried out by troubled individuals or by terrorists, the victims know no difference," a statement from Tillerson's office said.

. U.S. President Donald Trump described the incident as "big news" after he was updated on the situation. He is also said to have called U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May following the attack

. Large areas of central London were shut off to and workers in the Palace of Westminster, including MPs, were placed in lockdown for several hours

. In total five London hospitals treated casualties. Staff from St Thomas's, yards from the attack on Westminster Bridge, rushed to help the injured there

. The most seriously hurt were taken to three of the capital's four regional trauma centres - King's College in Camberwell, St. Mary's in Paddington and the Royal London in Whitechapel. The Chelsea and Westminster hospital also dealt with some of the injured

. The flag above Scotland Yard was flown at half mast to honour the heroism of its fallen officer and other victims of today's attack.

. King's College Hospital confirmed that the major trauma unit have treated eight victims, six males and two females.

. Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents tens of thousands of rank-and-file officers, paid tribute to the officers involved in the incident.

. Former prime minister David Cameron also tweeted to express shock over the incident.

. London Mayor Sadiq Khan issued a statement saying that an urgent investigation was underway and his thoughts were with those affected and their families. He also expressed his thanks to the police and emergency services for their rapid response.

. Tourists riding the London Eye were stranded on the iconic attraction when the area was locked down after a terrorism incident near the Parliament. Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the policeman who was stabbed.

. The Met police are appealing for pictures or video footage of the incident.

. Intelligence agencies have immediately put together teams to work on identifying who was involved in the attack and whether there was a link to a terrorist group. A police officer was stabbed and his attacker shot after a major terrorist incident at the Houses of Parliament in which several people have been injured

. The attacker mowed down several pedestrians as he drove a grey Hyundai i40 across Westminster Bridge before crashing it into railings then running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster and stabbing the officer

. Witnesses said he was shot by police as he approached a second officer while clutching his knife

. The Port of London Authority confirmed that a seriously injured woman has been recovered from the Thames river, however, it is yet to be confirmed if she fell or jumped from the bridge

. The House of Commons has been put in lockdown, with many MPs confined to the Commons chamber after parliamentary business was suspended

. Plans for a London-wide emergency have been put into place as a precaution, but police are hopeful the incidents are over

. Theresa May is to chair a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee to discuss the immediate response to the incident, Downing Street said

. A Downing Street source confirmed to Guardian that Prime Minister Theresa May was "okay". May was seen being ushered into a silver Jaguar car as what sounded like gunfire rang out at parliament during the incident at around 2.45pm

. The police say no terrorists have got into the parliament building. They say two have been caught on Westminster Bridge, and one officer is down

. It has been confirmed that at least 10 patients have been treated for injuries on the Westminster Bridge

. The London Eye, opposite the House of Parliament on the other side of Westminster Bridge, is also in lockdown, with some being held inside the attraction's pods.


First published: 23 March 2017, 8:10 IST