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U.K. Parliament Attacker Is Shot; Panic on Westminster Bridge

The couple said they had seen a middle-aged man holding a knife. He ignored warnings from the police, running though the gates into the compound of Parliament, she said.

“They were shouting to warn him,” Ms. Wilkinson said. Soon after, she and her partner heard three gunshots and saw the man on the ground.

Three construction workers who were inside the grounds of Westminster Palace said they heard shots fired in rapid succession before they were escorted off the premises. “It was bang-bang-bang,” one of them said.

Reuben Saunders, an American student at Cambridge University who was visiting Parliament, said he was on his way out of the building when he saw a police officer being attacked by the assailant.

“He was at the gate, I heard screaming,” Mr. Saunders said, adding that the assailant had two knives or similar weapons. “I saw the man on the ground being repeatedly stabbed, or pummeled,”

“There was another policeman standing by,” he added. “I thought he should have shot, but maybe he was unarmed.”

Mr. Saunders said that two or three other police officers arrived and, at that point, he retreated. “There were two or three gunshots,” he said.

Corinne Desray, a teacher who was outside Parliament with 39 teenage students on a three-day school trip from northern France, said they heard three shots. “My colleague saw bodies lying on the floor and someone said a policeman has been knived,” she said. “I told the kids to leave quickly. We’re heading back to the bus.”

Kirsten Hurrell, 70, who owns a newsstand opposite the clock tower known as Big Ben, said she saw a car swerve across a bicycle lane and into a fence around Parliament. She saw a body lying on the ground and called emergency services. “At first I thought it was an accident but then I was told the car had already mowed down quite a number of people on Westminster Bridge,” she said, adding: “Now that it is a terrorist incident, it is a bit more daunting.”

Robert Vaudry, 52, a fund manager from Stratford-upon-Avon, England, said he emerged from the Westminster subway station around 2:40 p.m. for a meeting with a lawmaker when he realized that something was amiss.

“I came out of the Tube and there were two armed policemen,” he said in an interview. “One grabbed my arm, pushed me to the left and said, ‘Get out of here,’ ” he said. “They were shouting at everyone to get away.”

As he spoke, police officers were cordoning off the area. One officer shouted, “We need everyone to move back past Downing Street.”

Christopher Hope, a journalist for The Daily Telegraph, reported at 2:41 p.m. that he had heard shots fired outside Parliament.

Kevin Schofield, a journalist at the political website Politics Home, reported that a police officer had been injured, and that he had seen an assailant carrying a knife or a gun.

Radoslaw Sikorski, a former foreign minister of Poland who was in the area, was in a taxi on Westminster Bridge when the pedestrians were hit by the other vehicle.

“I didn’t see the impact, I heard it, it sounded like a car hitting a sheet of metal,” he said. “I saw these people lying on the tarmac, on the pavement. I saw five people down, one unconscious and one bleeding heavily from his head. He was not moving. The taxi driver rang the emergency services, and people rushed to help.”

Mr. Sikorski said he did not see the car or the driver that crashed near Parliament.

Britain has not suffered a large-scale terrorist attack since July 7, 2005, when bomb attacks on subway trains and on a bus killed more than 50 people. Political violence is relatively rare in Britain, where gun ownership is seriously restricted.

In 1979, a lawmaker was assassinated near the Parliament building. Airey Neave, a Conservative Party member, was killed when his car was blown up.

President Trump was briefed on the shooting, according to the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer.

“We are closely following the concerning situation outside the U.K. Parliament,” the State Department’s acting spokesman, Mark C. Toner. “Our hearts go out to those affected. We stand ready to assist in any way the U.K. authorities would find helpful. The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of our highest priorities. Our Embassy in London is monitoring the situation closely.”

Source: NYT > World

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