The Latest: US State Dept monitoring UK Parliament situation


LONDON (AP) — The Latest on reports of an incident outside Britain’s parliament (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

The U.S. State Department says it is closely monitoring the incident outside London’s Parliament and urged Americans in London to avoid the area.

Spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday: “We stand ready to assist in any way the U.K. authorities would find helpful.”

He added that the U.S. Embassy in London is closely following the news and stands ready to help any affected Americans.

He said: “Our hearts go out to those affected.”

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3:50 p.m.

Witness Rick Longley told the Press Association that he saw a man stab a policeman outside Britain’s Parliament.

“We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out,” he said.

“They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben.

“A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman.

“I have never seen anything like that. I just can’t believe what I just saw.”

Lawmaker Adam Holloway told the AP he saw people running and immediately ran into his offices in Parliament to be with his staff. “A lot of us are locked in with our staff at the moment,” he said.

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3:50 p.m.

The White House says U.S. President Donald Trump has been briefed on a gun and knife incident at Britain’s Parliament in London.

Trump himself said during a brief appearance Wednesday before reporters at the White House that he was just getting the news. He called it “big news.”

Trump’s spokesman, Sean Spicer, says the U.S. will continue to monitor the situation and update the president.

Britain’s Parliament was on lockdown after — according to officials — an assailant stabbed an officer then was shot by police.

London Police also said officers were called to an incident on nearby Westminster Bridge

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3:40 p.m.

British lawmaker Grant Shapps said on Twitter that he was walking through the cloisters of the House of Commons to vote when he heard four gunshots. Police told lawmakers to get down on the ground and crawl to cover.

“Police response instant. Heard commotion, looked round. Police weapons drawn, 4 shots, police ordered us to hit ground & get back, get back,” he said.

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3:40 p.m.

The former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski posted a video on Twitter that seems to show people lying injured in the road on Westminster Bridge.

Sikorski, a senior fellow at the Harvard Centre for European Studies, says he saw at least five people lying on the ground after being “mown down” by a car.

Sikorski told the BBC he “heard what I thought what I thought was just a collision and then I looked through the window of the taxi and 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.”

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3:35 p.m.

London police say they are treating a gun and knife incident at Britain’s Parliament “as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise.”

The Metropolitan Police says in a statement that the incident is ongoing. It is urging people to stay away from the area.

Officials say a man with a knife attacked a police officer at Parliament and was shot by officers.

There are also reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge.

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3:25 p.m.

A European security official says there was increased chatter on jihadi networks Tuesday following the UK’s adoption of an electronics ban aboard flights from certain mostly Muslim countries.

He said, however, there was no information that the incident was terror-related.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about ongoing security operations.

—By Paisley Dodds.

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3:15 p.m.

The leader of Britain’s House of Commons says a man attacked a police officer at Parliament and has been shot by police.

David Lidington says the Parliament complex is in lockdown.

He says there are reports of further violent incidents neaby, and police say they have been called to a firearms incident on nearby Westminster Bridge.

Witnesses said a vehicle struck several people on the bridge, and photos showed a car plowed into railings.

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3:05 p.m.

The leader of Britain’s House of Commons says a man has been shot by police at Parliament. David Lidington 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.

A session of Parliament was suspended after the incident.

Britain’s MI5 says it is too early to say if the incident is terror-related.

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2:55 p.m.

A session of Britain’s House of Commons has been suspended as witnesses reported hearing sounds like gunfire nearby.

The Commons’ speaker suspended the session as police responded to an incident.

Journalists at the Parliament building said they were told to stay in their offices.

The Press Association news agency reported that two people were seen lying within the grounds of Parliament.

Police had no immediate confirmation.