The U.K.’s Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism branch is currently classifying Friday night's police attack as an act of terrorism, after a suspect drove his vehicle at police officers outside Buckingham Palace and reached for a four-foot sword.
According to multiple reports, the suspect drove a blue Toyota Prius at a marked police vehicle. The officers used 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile gas, commonly referred to as CS gas, to subdue the suspect. He reportedly reached for a four-foot long sword and yelled “Allahu Akbar” while being tackled by officers. The standoff left three of the officers injured.
“It was quickly declared a terrorist incident last night,” Metro Police Counter Terrorism Commander Dean Haydon said during a press conference Saturday. “That’s due to the location. It was outside Buckingham Palace. The individual deliberately drove at police officers. He was in possession of a four-foot sword. Officers were injured during the incident.”
The suspect is a 26-year-old man from the Bedfordshire town of Luton and currently remains in police custody in London. Buckingham Palace was put on lockdown Friday night after the incident, and Saturday it was revealed that the suspect was being held under the Terrorism act as well as suspicion of grievous bodily harm and assault on police.
U.K. Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Theresa May publicly thanked the officers in a series of tweets for “acting quickly and bravely to protect the public.”
...demonstrating the dedication and professionalism of our police. 2/2— Theresa May (@theresa_may) August 26, 2017
Friday’s attack comes just over one week after a man purposely drove into a crowd in Barcelona, Spain and left 13 people dead and over 100 others injured. On August 21, Spanish authorities confirmed they killed the driver identified in the Barcelona attack as 22-year-old Moroccan national Younes Abouyaaqoub.