Buckingham Palace is on lockdown following the arrest of a Luton man who assaulted three police officers with a machete.
The suspect, in a Toyota Prius, pulled into a restricted area near the Palace shortly after 8:30 p.m. Friday night. According to a statement from police, when two officers exited their own vehicle to confront the man, “the driver reached for a four-foot sword that was in the passenger footwell” and and attempted to hack the law enforcement officials to death.
Officers used CS gas to subdue the attacker, who received only minor injuries and was taken to a London hospital. The two officers also received only minor injuries.
Buckingham Palace was soon surrounded by the Metropolitan Police who cordoned off the area in case of further attacks.
The Sun reports:
The Metropolitan Police said nobody else had been injured and it was too early to say if was terror-related.
Reports on social media claimed he was armed with a sword or machete when he attacked the cops in front of terrified tourists.
Pictures on social media show police cars and a police cordon surrounding the area at the top of The Mall in central London.
One witness described seeing the man wrestled from a car by police after apparently driving his vehicle towards them.
A source said the man drove his car at cops in The Mall before getting out brandishing a knife.
They explained: “The officers wrestled a man from a car who looked like he was driving his vehicle towards them.
“The scuffle took place and he was dragged out the car brandishing a knife, which cut the police trying to detain him.”
Witnesses state that the suspect repeatedly yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he attacked.
Initially, the authorities stated that the attacker’s motivations were unknown. He was being held on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and assaulting police. On Saturday, however, Commander Dean Haydon of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command clarified to The Telegraph that the suspect was also being held on terrorism charges. He is thought to have acted alone, and police are not looking for any accomplices.
Cmdr. Haydon praised the two police officers for their quick response: “Their vigilance, courage and the swiftness of their response demonstrates how our officers are protecting the public.” He went on to call the officers “quick and brave.”
Fortunately, Queen Elizabeth was vacationing at her Balmoral estate in Scotland and was not present at the time of the incident.