London has suffered a terror attack today targeting Parliament and Westminster Bridge.
The attack appears to have consisted of a vehicular assault upon pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, and a knife attack on London’s Parliament Building. Authorities have stated that there was a single attacker, who drove down Westminster Bridge before crashing into the railings of Parliament Square.
The attacker then made his out of the vehicle, stabbing a police officer fatally before running into the front yard of the Palace of Westminster where he was shot fatally by police.
The official statements about a single attacker stand at odds with reports from the BBC that eyewitnesses saw a “bald, white man” and a “black man with a goatee beard” take part in the attack on Parliament. Reporters on the scene as well as the New York Times have stated that police were searching for a second suspect. Scotland Yard has told the public to avoid Parliament Square; Whitehall; Westminster Bridge; Lambeth Bridge; Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube.
Eyewitnesses to the attack also claimed that they heard either one, or a series of explosions at the beginning of the attack. Reports of explosions were carried by The Express, who reported multiple blasts, as well as the Daily Mail, which featured footage of what they said was the House of Commons being suspended after an explosion. It appears these reports may have been describing the impact of the vehicle as it crashed in Parliament Square, however.
ABC News cited a European security official who said that there was increased chatter on jihadi networks Tuesday following the UK’s adoption of an electronics ban aboard flights from certain mostly Muslim countries. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about ongoing security operations. Gizmodo has also reported that the London incident may have been hinted at a day before it occurred by a user posting in online imageboard 4chan. The attack comes on the one year anniversary of the 2016 Brussels terror attacks.
Reports say that there are now five dead and over 40 injured. The identity of the dead attacker is said to be Khalid Masood, a 52 year old married man who had a string of criminal convictions and had been investigated by MI-5 for potential ties to terror. ISIS has now claimed responsibility for the attack, calling Masood a “soldier of the Islamic State.” Disobedient Media has previously highlighted ISIS’ move to control many aspects of organized crime in Western Europe and their heavy recruitment drives targeting individuals with histories of criminal activity.
In a bizarre episode the morning after the attack, a “terror expert” from counter-terror think tank Quilliam stated three times in an interview with the BBC that the attacker was still alive, despite police claiming he had been shot dead. The BBC’s reporters did not correct her at any point during the interview.