Latest: Three addresses in UK Midlands searched in Westminster terror probe

    What we know so far:

  • A man has been arrested after driving a car into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament in London;
  • Scotland Yard is treating this as a terrorist incident;
  • The suspect, a man in his late 20s, was not co-operating with police and had not yet been formally identified.;
  • Two people were treated at the scene in Westminster for injuries that are not thought to be serious;
  • The Met's Counter-Terrorism Command is leading the investigation into the incident and a number of addresses in the Midlans have been searched

Latest: 6.40pm: Police in the UK are searching three addresses in the Midlands after a suspected terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament.

A 29-year-old man, who is a UK national, was arrested on suspicion of preparing an act of terror after the silver Ford Fiesta he was driving collided with cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into a security barrier just before 7.40am this morning.

Detectives believe the privately-owned car was driven from Birmingham late last night, arriving in London just after midnight.

Scotland Yard said the vehicle was driven around the Westminster area from around 6am – more than an hour-and-a-half before the crash – having been in the Tottenham Court Road area between 1.25am to 5.55am.

Counter-terrorism officers are carrying out searches at two addresses in Birmingham and a residential property in Nottingham as part of the probe.

Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism head Neil Basu said the suspect, who is being held in custody at a south London police station, is not co-operating.

Meanwhile, witnesses have described how a “deadpan” driver ploughed through cyclists outside the Houses of Parliament in a “deliberate” attack.

Kirsty Moseley, of Brixton, south London, was a passenger in the first car behind the “wall” of up to 12 cyclists hit at what she estimated was 25mph.

“I heard a few shouts, looked up and this silver car was driving at high speed the wrong way into the cyclists,” the 31-year-old told the Press Association.

“Rather than continuing, which would’ve meant driving into us, the driver veered off to my right over the central reservation.

“It’s absolutely amazing there was only one cyclist seriously injured, he went straight through them. People were thrown everywhere.”

Ms Moseley, who works in marketing and spoke to police as a witness, continued: “(He had) two hands on the steering wheel and he did not look back over his shoulder to look at the damage he’d created – he was just looking deadpan straight in front of him,” she said.

“He wasn’t shouting anything, he wasn’t screaming, he didn’t look crazed or out of control – he was just deadpan.”

Geoffrey Woodman, a strategy consultant from Battersea, south-west London, had stopped at the traffic lights by Parliament Square on his cycle to work when the car swerved into cyclists and towards the security barriers.

“I was getting off the bike and put my foot down, then there was a sound like tyres screeching,” he said.

“This car turned round to the left and swerved into the wrong lane of traffic and into the bank where all the cyclists wait.”

Forensic officers by the car that crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

He said most people managed to jump off their bikes to safety but one woman who “seemed in some distress” was clipped by the bonnet of the car as it passed.

“It went through everyone and turned round, continuing down the next 50 metres before turning into the lay-by where taxis pick up politicians, smashing into the barrier,” he said.

Mr Woodman added that paramedics from a passing ambulance, captured on camera passing behind the car, stopped to help the cyclists and armed police arrived on the scene “within 10 seconds”.

Ewalina Ochab, who asked to be identified only by her name, told PA: “I think it looked intentional – the car drove at speed and towards the barriers.”

Jason Williams, 45, from Kennington, south London, was walking to work when he saw the crash and heard a “loud bang”.

“I saw a car going at high speed towards Parliament. It hit a bollard,” he told PA.

“It looked deliberate. It didn’t look like an accident. How do you do that by accident?”

Cyclist James Maker, 30, of Chelmsford, Essex, passed within minutes of the crash to see a cyclist injured on the floor and the car crashed into the barrier.

“It was a woman, they were clearly quite injured, they weren’t moving and they were in the recovery position,” the head of policy at the County Councils Network told PA.

Cyclists in the aftermath of the crash (Geoffrey Woodman)

Fellow cyclists were helping her, he said, adding: “There were a couple of cyclists who had clearly been involved who were sitting on the floor and perhaps had minor injuries.

“I must be honest, I’ve got a young son and a wife and my initial reaction was as long as paramedics were seeing to the woman I wanted to get away from the incident.”

Mr Maker then saw the silver Ford Fiesta crashed into the barrier outside Westminster Palace.

“You’ve got to have an intent to go for that barrier, there’s so many security barriers and the way the car ended up in that part it would appear deliberate to me. It’s gone up the driveway and hit the actual barrier thinking perhaps it would open,” he said.

Update 5.05pm: A terror suspect accused of deliberately crashing a car outside the UK Houses of Parliament was not known to the security services, Scotland Yard has said.

The man, in his late twenties, was arrested on suspicion of terror offences after the silver Ford Fiesta he was driving collided with cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into security barriers just before 7.40am on Tuesday.

The suspect, who is understood to be from the Birmingham area, is being held in custody at a south London police station.

Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism head Neil Basu said he is not co-operating.

“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident and the investigation is being led by officers from the counter-terrorism command,” he told reporters.

“We have not formally identified him yet. On the details we have at the moment, we don’t believe this individual was known to MI5 or counter-terror police.”

The silver car can be seen driving along the road next to Parliament Square before moving to turn right towards Westminster Abbey in footage of the incident aired on BBC News.

As an ambulance passes the car on its right-hand side, the vehicle swerves left, crossing oncoming traffic and colliding with cyclists before entering a small road and crashing into a security barrier.

(PA Graphics)

A police officer can be seen jumping another barrier that runs along the side of the road to get away.

Images posted to social media showed a man wearing a black puffer jacket being led away in handcuffs from the car as armed police officers swarmed the scene.

There was nobody else in the vehicle and no weapons were found, police said.

Mr Basu added no other suspects have been identified and there is “no intelligence at this time of further danger” to Londoners.

Two people were taken to hospital, while a third person with minor injuries was assessed at the scene, the London Ambulance Service (LAS) said.

One was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital before midday, while a woman is being treated for serious but not life-threatening injuries at St Mary’s Hospital.

After a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, Theresa May urged the country to come together and carry on as normal.

In a statement released by Downing Street, the Prime Minister praised the “formidable courage” and professionalism of the emergency services who “ran towards” danger.

She said: “The threat to the United Kingdom from terrorism remains severe.

“I would urge the public to remain vigilant but also to come together and carry on as normal, just as they did after the sickening attacks in Manchester and London last year.

“The twisted aim of the extremists is to use violence and terror to divide us. They will never succeed.”

Reacting to the suspected attack, US President Donald Trump said on Twitter: “These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”

Witnesses described the car ploughing through cyclists in what appeared to be a deliberate act.

The car, right, which crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament (Ewelina Ochab/Twitter/PA)

Ewelina Ochab told the Press Association: “I think it looked intentional – the car drove at speed and towards the barriers.”

Geoffrey Woodman, a strategy consultant from Battersea, had stopped at the traffic lights by Parliament Square on his cycle to work when the car swerved into cyclists and towards the security barriers.

“I was getting off the bike and put my foot down, then there was a sound like tyres screeching,” he told PA.

“This car turned round to the left and swerved into the wrong lane of traffic and into the bank where all the cyclists wait.”

He said most people managed to jump off their bikes to safety but one woman who “seemed in some distress” was clipped by the bonnet of the car as it passed.

Mr Woodman said paramedics from a passing ambulance stopped to help before armed police arrived on the scene.

Cyclist James Maker, 30, of Chelmsford, Essex, passed the scene in Westminster minutes later and saw a woman injured on the ground and the car crashed into the barrier.

“I looked to the right-hand side and there was a cyclist on the floor, clearly injured,” he told PA.

“It was a woman, they were clearly quite injured, they weren’t moving and they were in the recovery position.”

Jason Williams, 45, from Kennington, was walking to work when he saw the crash.

“I saw a car going at high speed towards Parliament. It hit a bollard,” he told PA.

“It looked deliberate. It didn’t look like an accident. How do you do that by accident? It was a loud bang.”

Streets around Parliament Square, Millbank and Victoria Tower Gardens were cordoned off as police, ambulances and firefighters arrived.

Bus driver Victor Ogbomo, 49, passed the scene just after the crash.

“All I saw was the smoke coming out of a vehicle, a silver vehicle… I just stopped the bus,” he said.

“The police said we have to move back, then in less than five minutes the response team came.”

The Houses of Parliament are surrounded with security barriers of steel and concrete.

The measures were extended in the wake of the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017 when Khalid Masood ploughed a car into crowds on Westminster Bridge, killing four people.

Emergency services attending Khalid Masood, top, and police officer Keith Palmer, bottom, outside the Palace of Westminster after Masood ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Masood abandoned his car then stabbed and killed unarmed Pc Keith Palmer before he was shot by armed police in a courtyard outside Parliament.

The terrorist threat against the UK is seen as unprecedented.

The British Prime Minister’s official spokesman said there were 676 live investigations being carried out by the security services and counter-terror police at the end of June, up from more than 500 in March.

Some 13 Islamist plots and four by far-right extremists have been foiled in the past 18 months, he added.

There are roughly 3,000 active “subjects of interest” at any one time – while there is also a wider pool of more than 20,000 individuals who have previously featured in probes whose threat must be kept under review.

Earlier this year, the Government unveiled a refreshed counter-terror strategy.

Under the blueprint, MI5 intelligence will be shared with bodies outside the security community in an attempt to stop suspects before attack plots can crystallise, while anti-terror laws are to be strengthened to allow earlier interventions.

- Press Association

Update 12.23pm: A meeting of the British Government's emergency cobra committee will be held at 2pm.

This afternoon's Cobra session will be a meeting of officials, with no cabinet ministers expected to attend at the moment, No 10 said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is currently away in Switzerland on the second leg of her summer holiday.

In a statement on the attack, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said "all Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city".

"The response of Londoners today shows that we will never be cowed, intimidated or divided by any terrorist attack," he said.

He added: "I have been and will continue to be in close touch with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Transport for London and the other emergency services. My heartfelt thanks goes to the brave first responders who were so quickly on the scene following the attack."

Emergency services attending Khalid Masood (top) and police officer Keith Palmer (bottom) outside the Palace of Westminster after Masood ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Khan urged members of the public to "remain calm and vigilant", and report any information about the incident to the Metropolitan Police.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: "My thoughts are with those hurt and injured outside Parliament this morning in what is being treated as a terrorist incident.

Our thanks go to our emergency services who responded immediately. Their bravery keeps us safe day in, day out.

Donald Trump said on Twitter: "Another terrorist attack in London...These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!"

The London Ambulance Service has added that a third patient with "minor injuries" was treated at the scene.

A spokesman said the two people taken to hospital had "non-life threatening" injuries.

The patient being treated at St Thomas' Hospital was discharged by midday, a Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said.

Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, tweeted: "Our thoughts are with those who have been injured in the incident outside the Houses of Parliament this morning, and our thanks go out to the quick and effective response of our police and medical services.

Thank goodness the barriers are in place and worked.

The last emergency service vehicle stationed within the cordon on Millbank between College Green and Lambeth Bridge has left.

A police patrol car remains in place by the roundabout where dozens of reporters, photographers and broadcast crews remain.

The suspect was not co-operating with police and had not yet been formally identified.

But on the basis of the information known so far, "we don't believe this person is known to either MI5 or counter terrorism police," said Met Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu.

After footage emerged appearing to show police vehicles behind the suspect's silver Ford Fiesta, Mr Basu said: "There was not a police car in pursuit of the vehicle."

Geoffrey Woodman, a strategy consultant from Battersea, had stopped at the traffic lights by Parliament Square on his cycle to work when the car swerved into cyclists and towards the security barriers.

"I was getting off the bike and put my foot down, then there was a sound like tyres screeching. This car turned round to the left and swerved into the wrong lane of traffic and into the bank where all the cyclists wait."

He said most people managed to jump off their bikes to safety but one woman who "seemed in some distress" was clipped by the bonnet of the car as it passed.

It went through everyone and turned round, continuing down the next 50 metres before turning into the lay-by where taxis pick up politicians, smashing into the barrier.

Mr Woodman said paramedics from a passing ambulance, captured on camera passing behind the car, stopped to help the cyclists and armed police arrived on the scene "within 10 seconds".

"They reacted really quickly and the area felt pretty secure. I'd say their response was outstanding," he added.

Update 11. 20am: Footage from a rooftop camera shows the moment a car was crashed into barriers at Westminster this morning.

Two vehicles, which appear to be police vans with their lights flashing, can be seen behind the car shortly before the crash in footage of the incident aired on BBC News.

The silver Ford Fiesta is seen coming along the road next to Parliament Square before moving to turn right towards Westminster Abbey.

As an ambulance passes the car on its right-hand side, the vehicle swerves left, crossing oncoming traffic and a pavement before entering a small road and crashing into a security barrier.

A police officer can be seen jumping another barrier that runs along the side of the road to get away.

Scotland Yard could not immediately comment on whether the terror suspect's car was being followed.

Update 10.30am: Scotland Yard is treating today's Westminster crash as a terrorist incident.

Scotland Yard said: "At 07:37hrs on Tuesday 14 August, a silver Ford Fiesta collided with a number of cyclists and pedestrians, before crashing into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

"The driver of the car, a man in his late 20s, was arrested at the scene by armed officers. He has been taken to a south London police station where he remains in police custody.

He was arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences.

"There was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and is being searched. No weapons have been recovered at this stage."

The force spokesman added: "At this stage, we are treating this as a terrorist incident and the Met's Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the investigation."

The length of Whitehall is completely shut off to traffic, with the cordon extended up to where the road meets Trafalgar Square.

Cyclist James Maker, 30, of Chelmsford, Essex, passed the scene in Westminster within minutes of the crash to see a woman injured on the floor and the car crashed into the barrier.

"I looked to the right-hand side and there was a cyclist on the floor, clearly injured," he told the Press Association.

It was a woman, they were clearly quite injured, they weren't moving and they were in the recovery position.

Fellow cyclists were helping her, he said, adding: "There were a couple of cyclists who had clearly been involved who were sitting on the floor and perhaps had minor injuries.

"I must be honest, I've got a young son and a wife and my initial reaction was as long as paramedics were seeing to the woman, I wanted to get away from the incident."

The head of policy at the County Councils Network then saw the silver Ford Fiesta crashed into the barrier outside Westminster Palace.

You've got to have an intent to go for that barrier, there's so many security barriers and the way the car ended up in that part it would appear deliberate to me.

"It's gone up the driveway and hit the actual barrier thinking perhaps it would open," he said.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Huge thanks to our emergency services for their rapid reaction to incident in Westminster this morning. My thoughts are with those injured."

British Transport Police (BTP) said it would be putting extra officers on patrols in England, Scotland and Wales on Tuesday afternoon and into the evening following the Westminster terror attack.

Superintendent Chris Horton from BTP said: "We know incidents such as this are likely to cause concern, so our officers will be highly visible both on board trains and at stations.

"We are there to reassure the travelling public, so please don't be alarmed if you see our officers, including firearms officers, on your journey."

On arrival at Parliament, Boris Johnson said: "If it is indeed confirmed to be a terror incident, then it's very sad and very troubling indeed.

"Hopefully people will be able to go about their normal days as soon as possible."

Update - 9.36am: A Scotland Yard statement said: "While we are keeping an open mind, the Met's Counter-Terrorism Command is leading the investigation into the Westminster incident."

A number of armed police officers were stationed at a cordon beside Parliament.

Westminster Bridge and Tube station were both closed.

The cordon was widened twice and sniffer dogs were seen scanning the area.

Scores of commuters on foot and cycling arrived at the police tape trying to get to work.

Workers at Portcullis House have been allowed through the extended cordon and were seen queuing to get into the building.

Jason Williams, 45, from Kennington, was walking to work when he saw the incident.

He told the Press Association: "I saw a car going at high speed towards Parliament.

"It hit a bollard. A dark looking man, I would say maybe Asian, Mediterranean."

He added: "It looked deliberate. It didn't look like an accident. How do you do that by accident? It was a loud bang."

Update - 9.17am: Two people were treated at the scene in Westminster for injuries that are not thought to be serious, London Ambulance Service said.

Assistant Director of Operations Peter Rhodes said: "We were called at 7.40am today (14 August) to reports of an incident on St Margaret Street, SW1.

"We sent a number of resources to the scene including three ambulance crews, responders in cars and an incident response officer.

"We have treated two people at the scene for injuries that are not believed to be serious and have taken them to hospital."

Local businessman Jason Williams said he had seen a man drive a car into a bollard outside the Houses of Parliament.

"He had driven it at speed - more than 40 mph. There was smoke coming out of the car," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

The car (arrowed right) which crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. Pic via Twitter feed of Ewelina U Ochab.

"I have seen people on the ground, lying on the road. I don't know if they have actually been hit by the vehicle or not. I saw at least 10 people lying down.

"I was told basically to move away, to run. I have run for my life."

An eyewitness, who gave his name only as James, described how he had been cycling past Parliament shortly after the incident happened.

"There was a cyclist clearly injured on the floor, there was a number of cyclists off their bikes. As I went past, an ambulance turned up," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

"As I carried on down I was told to get off my bike by a police officer. He said there'd been an incident. As I looked up as I got off my bike, I saw there was a car in the barrier.

"My natural reaction was to get away from the scene."

8.20am: 'I think it looked intentional,' says witness as pedestrians injured in Houses of Parliament car crash

Streets around Parliament Square, Millbank and Victoria Tower Gardens have been cordoned off while police, ambulances and firefighters arrived at the scene in London.

The Metropolitan Police said on Twitter: “At 7.37am today, a car was in collision with barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

“The male driver of the car was detained by officers at the scene.

“A number of pedestrians have been injured. Officers remain at the scene.

“We will issue further info when we have it.”

More than 10 police vehicles and at least three ambulances remain outside Parliament.

Firearms officers and at least two police dogs are stationed inside Parliament Square.

Officers have cordoned the whole square off and are asking the public and press to move away from the scene.

Eyewitness Ewalina Ochab told the Press Association: "I think it looked intentional - the car drove at speed and towards the barriers."

The car which crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. Pic via Twitter feed of Ewelina U Ochab.

She said: "I was walking on the other side [of the road]. I heard some noise and someone screamed. I turned around and I saw a silver car driving very fast close to the railings, maybe even on the pavement."

"The person driving did not go out" of the vehicle, she said.

The vehicle did not appear to have a front registration plate when it crashed, she added.

Members of the public and press have been moved back further from the area as police put up a "Terrorism Act cordon", according to an officer at the scene.

The cordon has been extended past the Cenotaph on Whitehall - a five-minute walk from the scene at Old Palace Yard.

Westminster station has been closed for both entry and exit due to the security alert, Transport for London said.

Passengers are still able to change between lines at Westminster.

Scotland Yard said: "At this stage, officers do not believe that anybody is in a life-threatening condition.

"Cordons are in place to assist the investigation.

"Westminster tube station is closed."

Bus driver Victor Ogbomo, 49, was driving passengers past the front of Westminster when he saw the crash.

"All I saw was the smoke coming out of a vehicle, a silver vehicle ... I just stopped the bus," he told the Press Association.

"The police said we have to move back, then in less than five minutes the response team came.

"They went to the vehicle, so we had to push back. I saw the car in the barrier, I didn't know how it got there.

"I think someone was inside the vehicle because many police went towards the vehicle."

He said officers had their guns out when they arrested the driver.

- Press Association

 

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