Theresa May praises swift police response during London attack

The suspect drove a car into pedestrians walking along Westminster Bridge, crashed it & then ran up to stab a police officer guarding parliament.

Armed police officers stand guard outside of the Houses of Parliament in central London on 22 March 2017 after a man drove his car through a crowd of people and stabbed a policeman. Picture: AFP.

LONDON – UK Prime Minister Theresa May has praised those who responded to a terrorist attack in London, as police continue to investigate the man responsible and his motives.

Five people, including the attacker, died on Wednesday while 40 others were injured.

The suspect drove a car into pedestrians walking along Westminster Bridge, crashed it and then ran up to stab a police officer guarding parliament.

May says the location of the attack was carefully chosen and has described it as sick and depraved.

“We’ll come together as normal, never allowing the voices of hate and evils to drive us apart.”

Police say extra officers will be on patrol today across London and the identity of the attacker is believed to be known.

The policeman who died has been named as Keith Palmer, a 48-year-old father and husband.

While London Mayor Sadiq Khan has assured the city remains safe world leaders have sent condolences and have offered support.

WATCH: Witnesses describe 'horrendous' London attack

Mark Rowley, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters the attack started when a car was driven over Westminster Bridge, hitting and injuring members of the public and three police officers.

“A car then crashed near to parliament and at least one man, armed with a knife, continued the attack and tried to enter parliament,” Rowley said.

He said the police’s “fast-paced investigation” was working on the assumption that the attack was “Islamist-related terrorism”. Police believed they knew the identity of the attacker but would not provide details at this stage, he said.

It was the deadliest attack in London since four British Islamists killed 52 commuters and themselves in suicide bombings on the city’s transport system in July 2005, in London’s worst peacetime attack.

It took place on the first anniversary of attacks by Islamist militants that killed 32 people in Brussels.

Reuters reporters inside parliament during Wednesday’s attack heard loud bangs and shortly afterwards saw the knifeman and the stabbed policeman lying on the ground in a courtyard within the gates of parliament.

The dead police officer was identified as Keith Palmer, 48, with 15 years of service.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)