A knife-wielding attacker ploughed a car into a crowd of pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman outside the British parliament on Wednesday. Five people are confirmed to have been killed, including the attacker, and around 40 more were injured in the deadly rampage. Authorities said they suspected that "Islamist-related terrorism" was behind the attack.
The assailant was shot by police just yards away from the entrance to the Parliament under the iconic Big Ben clock tower, moments after he had stabbed the officer. He died, as did the officer and three other pedestrians on the bridge. Doctors on the scene described the some of the injuries as "catastrophic."
Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack as "sick and depraved," adding that the UK would not give in to terror. "We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart."
May insisted that Parliament will resume on Thursday as normal.
Lawmakers, lords, staff and visitors were locked down inside the parliament for several hours in the wake of the attack. The Prime Minister was near the House of Commons at the time of the attack and was swiftly ushered by security officers back to her residence in Downing Street.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that the police would deploy additional officers on the city streets to keep locals and tourists safe.
"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," Khan said. "Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism."
Several eyewitness accounts reported a man dressed in black run out of the crashed car and run towards the entrance to the Parliament holding a knife. After getting past a gate into the fenced-in New Palace yard area just under the shadow of Big Ben, the assailant stabbed the policeman. He was then shot two or three times by officers as he tried to storm the building.
An eyewitness who declined to be named told DW that he was travelling by bus towards Westminster Bridge when the driver ordered all passengers to disembark.
"I walked off the bus and saw someone laid down by the side with tourist guidebooks around them," he said. "As I walked along I saw more bodies on the ground, and people holding each other. I saw about 12 on the ground, laid out, and the next guy's leg is all broken and to the side."
Quentin Letts, a journalist at the British "Daily Mail" newspaper, told the BBC that as he saw the attacker running towards the entrance "two plain-clothed guys with guns shouted at him what sounded like a warning, he ignored it and they shot two or three times and he fell."
Former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski witnessed the attacker plough into the crowd of pedestrians as he was crossing Westminster Bridge in a taxi. He uploaded a video of the incident on Twitter.
Sikorski later told the BBC that he had "heard what I thought was just a collision and then I looked through the window of the taxi and [saw] 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."
Among the heroes in the aftermath of the attack was Conservative lawmaker Tobias Ellwood, who performed first aid on the wounded officer, who later died. Ellwood's brother was killed in the Bali terror attack in 2002.
"I tried to stem the flow of blood and give mouth to mouth while waiting for the medics to arrive but I think he had lost too much blood," the Tory politician said. "He had multiple wounds, under the arm and in the back."