A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism offenses after a car was driven into barriers near the UK’s Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London on Tuesday morning, injuring three people. Police said counter-terrorism officers were leading the investigation and that they were treating it as a terrorist incident.
The collision “appears to be a deliberate act,” according to police, who said the suspect was not currently cooperating.
The suspected attack came months after a spate of similar vehicle attacks in 2017, including one in the same area of the city. Here’s what we know so far:
At 07:37 a.m. a silver Ford Fiesta crashed into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, after reportedly swerving into the wrong lane and hitting a group of cyclists.
Armed police quickly surrounded the vehicle and arrested its driver, a man in his late 20s, who was the sole occupant. A video showing police vehicles crowding the car quickly went viral on Twitter.
Photos from the scene showed multiple people lying in the road. A video captured by a rooftop camera appeared to show the moment the car left the road and crashed into barriers, narrowly avoiding two police officers.
The area was put into lockdown and Westminster underground station closed.
Police said that one man had been discharged from hospital, another was treated at the scene, and that one woman was in hospital being treated for “serious but thankfully non life-threatening injuries.”
What have eyewitnesses said?
Eyewitnesses said the car appeared to deliberately target members of the public, according to the BBC.
“I heard lots of screams and turned round,” said Barry Williams, a BBC member of staff who was in the area at the time. “The car went onto the wrong side of the road to where cyclists were waiting at lights and ploughed into them. Then it swerved back across the road and accelerated as fast as possible and hit the barrier at full pelt.”
“It was a small silver car and he hit it at such speed the car actually lifted off the ground and bounced,” Williams continued. “Then the police just jumped. Two officers managed to leap over the security barriers and then the armed police vehicles all sped towards the scene.”
Another witness, Jason Williams, told the BBC the driver had “driven at speed – more than 40 mph.”
“There was smoke coming out of the car,” he added. “I saw at least 10 people lying down. I was told basically to move away, to run. I have run for my life.”
“It looked deliberate,” he said. “It didn’t look like an accident.”
What were the other similar attacks?
On March 22, 2017, a car mounted the sidewalk on Westminster Bridge – just south of where Tuesday’s attack occurred – and hit 11 pedestrians before the attacker exited the vehicle with a knife and attempted to enter Parliament, fatally wounding a police officer before being shot.
And on June 3, 2017, eight people were killed when three men used a vehicle to deliberately hit pedestrians on London Bridge, before exiting the vehicle with knives and attacking civilians. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.
Just weeks after that, a man was killed after a van mounted the sidewalk and hit a group of Muslims leaving a mosque in Finsbury Park, North London.
Those incidents prompted officials to install concrete and steel barriers around the area to prevent a similar event happening again. It appeared to be one of these barriers that the car crashed into on Tuesday.
What have officials said?
Police said that counter-terrorism officers were leading the investigation into the incident, and that intelligence indicated there was no wider threat to London or the rest of the U.K.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, praised first responders.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “My thoughts are with those injured in the incident in Westminster and my thanks to the emergency services for their immediate and courageous response.”
The U.K. Parliament is currently on its summer vacation, meaning most lawmakers are away.
This is a developing story. Please refresh for updates
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