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Police treating Houses of Parliament car crash as a terrorist attack

PUBLISHED: 14:07 14 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:07 14 August 2018

Police activity on Millbank, in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. (Picture: Sam Lister/PA Wire)

Police activity on Millbank, in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. (Picture: Sam Lister/PA Wire)

A driver has been arrested on suspicion of terror offences after a car collided with cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

A policeman attends the scene near the Houses of Parliament, Westminster in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 14, 2018. See PA story POLICE Westminster. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA WireA policeman attends the scene near the Houses of Parliament, Westminster in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 14, 2018. See PA story POLICE Westminster. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The man, in his late 20s, is being held in custody at a south London police station after armed officers swarmed the scene following the suspected terror attack just before 7.40am on Tuesday, August 14.

A police officer attends the scene near the Houses of Parliament, Westminster in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 14, 2018. See PA story POLICE Westminster. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA WireA police officer attends the scene near the Houses of Parliament, Westminster in central London, after a car crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday August 14, 2018. See PA story POLICE Westminster. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Images posted to social media showed a man, wearing a black puffer jacket, surrounded by police and being led away in handcuffs from a silver-coloured Ford Fiesta.

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

The force said the crash is being treated as a “terrorist incident” and the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terror command is leading the investigation.

Two people were taken to hospital after being treated at the scene for injuries, which are not believed to be serious, the London Ambulance Service (LAS) said.

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with those injured in the incident and thanked the emergency services for their “immediate and courageous” response.

And Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich North, said: “This is very worrying and my thoughts are with the injured people.

“I would like to thank the emergency services for what they’ve done today. They work hard to keep us all safe, in Parliament today but anywhere, anytime throughout the country too.”

Scotland Yard said: “At 7.37am on Tuesday, August 14, 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.”

A 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 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.

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.

In addition to five attacks that occurred last year, authorities say they have stopped 13 Islamist and four extreme right-wing plots since the Westminster atrocity in March 2017.

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