And so the grim game of “terrorist or crank?” begins anew. Let’s get the NBC live feed up and then I’ll update below. It’s unclear as I write this, by the way, that the man who hit bystanders with his car is the same man who showed up at Parliament with the knife. The latter, at least, has been neutralized: British cops shot him at the scene, but not before he managed to stab a police officer. Stand by.
Update: From the Daily Mail story, an eyewitness:
“We were taking photos of Big Ben and we saw all the people running towards us, and then there was an Asian guy in about his 40s carrying a knife about seven or eight inches long.
“And then there were three shots fired, and then we crossed the road and looked over. The man was on the floor with blood.”
“Asian” in Britain typically refers to people from South Asia, not the Far East. In other words, Indians, Pakistanis, etc. But it’s early yet. Grain of salt on everything.
Update: Eyewitnesses tell NBC that a dozen or so people are down on the ground on Westminster Bridge. Whether this is jihadism or something else, “ramming” attacks have grown increasingly popular with terrorists in recent years and are favored by ISIS, for obvious reasons. They cost next to nothing, they’re almost impossible to sniff out in advance, and they make every pedestrian in a targeted city fearful for his or her life.
Update: This map will give you a sense of how close Westminster Bridge is to Parliament. Assuming the driver is also the man with the knife, the entire attack might have taken less than a minute.
Update: The NYT has photos of the injured on the bridge.
Update: The toll is climbing, with the BBC reporting four people dead and other outlets claiming another 20 injured.