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U.K. Parliament Under Lockdown After 'Firearms Incident'

The U.K. House of Commons is under lockdown and police have raced to the scene of the incident on Westminster Bridge.

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Police secure the area on the south side of Westminster Bridge close to the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The leader of Britain's House of Commons says a man has been shot by police at Parliament. David Liddington also said there were "reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity." London's police said officers had been called to a firearms incident on Westminster Bridge, near the parliament. Britain's MI5 says it is too early to say if the incident is terror-related. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Police secure the area on the south side of Westminster Bridge close to the Houses of Parliament in London, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The leader of Britain’s House of Commons says a man has been shot by police at Parliament. David Liddington also said there were “reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity.” London’s police said officers had been called to a firearms incident on Westminster Bridge, near the parliament. Britain’s MI5 says it is too early to say if the incident is terror-related. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Police say they are responding to an ongoing situation near the U.K.'s Parliament, in the heart of London, and the leader of the House of Commons has stated that it appears a police officer was attacked.

“We are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.


“There has been a serious incident within the estate,” Commons Leader David Lidington told members of Parliament. “It seems that a police officer has been stabbed. That the alleged assailant was shot by armed police. An ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualties.”

NPR has not independently confirmed these casualties.

The U.K. House of Commons is under lockdown after a car crashed nearby, as NPR’s Frank Langfitt in London reports. Here’s more:

“This is the bridge that goes right up to Big Ben, it crosses the Thames. And it appears that a vehicle went across the bridge, went down the sidewalk. And we can see from aerial helicopter shots that in fact there are at lease four or five people being treated, lying on sidewalk. Then it came across the bridge, it crashed into a gate, the front end is smashed up. “And then somehow a man — we don’t know if it’s the same person — but someone got actually inside the gates of the Parliament building and apparently stabbed a police officer.”

The Metropolitan Police said on Twitter that armed officers are among the law enforcement personnel “on scene and dealing with the incident.” It said police were called to the scene at around 2:40 p.m., local time.

The nearby Westminster metro station is closed “due to a police investigation,” city authorities said.

House of Commons business was suspended for approximately 15 minutes before Lidington gave his brief address on the security situation.

During the lockdown, members of the House of Commons nearly filled the chamber’s famed green benches — moments earlier, they had sat empty after a sparsely attended debate over pension plan rules.

MPs later voted to adjourn parliament for the remainder of the day, despite the continuing lockdown.

“Let’s just make the best we can of this horrible situation,” said Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle.

“For this to happen right in the heart of the city is very shocking,” Frank added, as is the fact that an attacker appears to have gotten into the heavily-fortified premises of Parliament.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a tweet that President Trump has been briefed on the ongoing situation.

This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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