Thursday 22 March 2018

Two police injured after knifeman attacks near Buckingham Palace

Police outside Buckingham Palace in London last night after the attack. Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA
Police outside Buckingham Palace in London last night after the attack. Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA

Jack Hardy

A man armed with a knife was arrested outside Buckingham Palace last night, leaving two police officers injured, Scotland Yard said.

The suspect is being held on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and assault on police after being stopped in possession of the weapon at around 8.35pm on The Mall in central London.

One witness described seeing the man wrestled from a car by police having apparently driven his vehicle towards them.

Kiana Williamson said: "We turned up and there was one police van and one car, there was also a civilian's car that had veered towards the police car.

"They were trying to get the man out of the car, shouting, more police were arriving on to the scene and the man was fighting back.

"I saw one injured policeman with an injury to his arm although it didn't look severe.

"He was being tended to by another officer. The man had been restrained and looked almost unconscious by the side of the road.

"I didn't see the car driving but the car had been left at the side of the road and an eye witness had said that he had driven towards the police car."

The whole encounter lasted around one minute, she added.

The Metropolitan Police said it was too early to know whether the incident was terror-related.

Two male officers suffered "minor injuries" to their arms during the arrest, according to the force.

The London Ambulance Service attended to treat the injured men but they were not taken to hospital.

No other people were injured.

Armed police patrolled the entrances to the palace where several police cars and at least two ambulances could be seen.

People filed out of the affected area, saying they had been directed to leave.

Meanwhile, Belgian soldiers shot dead a man in the centre of Brussels yesterday evening after he came at them with a knife shouting "Allahu Akbar (God is great)", in a case authorities are treating as a terrorist attack.

The man, a 30-year-old Belgian of Somali origin, died after being rushed to hospital. The soldiers were not seriously hurt in the attack; one had a facial wound and the other's hand was wounded.

Prosecutors said the man, who was not known for terrorist activities, had twice shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack, which occurred at around 8.15pm local time just outside the city's central pedestrian zone while the soldiers were on patrol.

The case passed from local to federal prosecutors, who typically handle terrorist cases. A spokeswoman for the prosecution service said they were treating the case as one of attempted terrorist murder.

Brussels mayor Philip Close said the alert status, already just one off the maximum level, had not been increased.

"Initial indications are ... that it is an isolated attack, a single person," Mr Close said beside a street blocked by police.

Soldiers routinely patrol the streets of the Belgian capital due to a heightened security alert level after Islamist shooting and bomb attacks in Paris in 2015 and Brussels in 2016.

In June, troops shot dead a suspected suicide bomber at Brussels' central train station.

Irish Independent

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