UK prime minister denounces attack on Parliament

Redacción Agencias | 3/23/2017, 7:27 a.m.
UK prime minister denounces attack on Parliament
El atentado fue condenado por el mundo entero | Foto Cortesía

Wednesday's terrorist attack near Parliament that left four people dead and a score injured was "sick and depraved," the United Kingdom's prime minister said hours after the incident.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected, to the victims themselves and to their families and friends, who waved their loved ones off, but will not now be welcoming them home," Theresa May said after chairing an emergency meeting of the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA).

The knife-wielding assailant, who appears to have acted alone, rammed a vehicle into pedestrians and fatally stabbed a police officer before being shot and killed by members of the security forces.

"For those of us who were in Parliament at the time of this attack, these events provide a particular reminder of the exceptional bravery of our police and security services who risk their lives to keep us safe," May said outside 10 Downing St., the official residence of the prime minister.

Besides the officer slain by the terrorist, three other members of the Metropolitan Police were among the injured, she said.

May said that the target of the attack was "the values our Parliament represents."

"The location of this attack was no accident. The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech," the prime minister said.

Shortly before May spoke, London's mayor addressed citizens in a video message.

"Today London suffered a horrific attack near Parliament Square which we are treating as a terror attack," Sadiq Khan said, announcing that additional police - including armed officers - would be deployed to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.

"London is the greatest city in the world and we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism," the mayor said.

Governments around the world offered condolences and expressions of solidarity with the UK in the wake of the attack.

US President Donald Trump telephoned May to convey his sympathies and commend the actions of the UK security forces.

The president also "pledged the full cooperation and support of the United States Government in responding to the attack and bringing those responsible to justice," the White House said.

After learning of the attack in London, the Scottish Parliament suspended the session in which it was to debate whether or not to back a new independence referendum.

"Holyrood suspended out of respect for our sister Parliament and all that's going on in Westminster. Thoughts with all down the road," tweeted the Scottish minister for transport and the islands, Humza Yousaf.

The Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner for Specialist Operations, Mark Rowley, confirmed that four people died, including a police officer, a woman and the assailant, and at least 20 were injured.

He also said that police were "satisfied at this stage that it looks like there was only one attacker."