by Erin Florio, cntraveler.com
The attack occurred in Westminster, one of London’s most popular areas for tourists.
Early this morning in central London, a driver plowed his Ford Fiesta into a group of cyclists and the barrier gates outside the Houses of Parliament, sending three people to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The driver, who hasn’t been identified, was immediately taken into police custody and is being treated as a terrorist suspect, reports the Telegraph. Parliament Square has since reopened to the public after being initially closed this morning, and all public transport is operating as normal, too.
“Given that this appears to be a deliberate act, the method and this being an iconic site, we are treating it as a terrorist incident and the investigation is being led by officers from the Counter Terrorism Command,” said Neil Basu, the Met’s Assistant Commissioner for counter-terrorism, in a statement. Witnesses told the Telegraph that the car appeared to be speeding as it went past Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster before hitting the cyclists and ramming into the barrier.
The area, home to many major London sites including Big Ben, sees about 1.5 million visitors each year and is no stranger to vehicular terrorism. Last March, 52-year-old Khalid Masood drove his car into pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge. Fifty people were injured, five fatally. Three months later, a van rammed into pedestrians on London Bridge near Borough Market, killing eight.
If you are in London or planning to visit soon, or concerned about terror threats when traveling abroad, there are ways to keep yourself as safe as possible. Before traveling, enroll in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which allows you to upload details about your trip, including your passport number, flight details and destination, to receive e-mail alerts regarding safety and security information for the duration of your travels. On the ground, register with the nearest U.S. embassy so there are records of your whereabouts. After an incident, you can also use Facebook’s Safety Check feature, which lets you “mark yourself safe” in an area where an incident has occurred.