Sunday 27 August, 2017
PHOTO: A man reached for a large sword when he was confronted by police on Friday. (PA via AP: Lauren Hurley)
British police have arrested a second man in London in connection with what they called a terrorist incident near Buckingham Palace, when a man drove up to a police van then reached for a 1.2-metre sword.
A 26-year-old man deliberately drove at a police van close to the Queen’s official residence late on Friday (local time) and was detained by three police officers, who sustained minor injuries.
The man, who repeatedly shouted “Allahu akbar!” (“God is great” in Arabic), was arrested on the scene.
The second suspect, a 30-year-old man, was detained on Sunday in West London on suspicion of being “involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism”, police said.
He was taken into custody and officers were carrying out searches in west London as part of the probe.
The 26-year-old man remains in custody after a warrant for his detention until September 1 was granted, the police said.
Police had said on Saturday they believed the first man was acting alone and were not looking for other suspects.
Witnesses recall scuffle between swordsman and police
Europe has been on high alert following a string of militant attacks, including four this year in Britain which killed 36 people.
The country’s threat level remains at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.
No members of the Royal family were present in the palace, which is a magnet for tourists in Britain’s capital in the peak August holiday weekend.
“I want to thank the officers who acted quickly and bravely to protect the public last night demonstrating the dedication and professionalism of our police,” British Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted.
Police said the 26-year-old man was from the Luton area, an ethnically diverse town 55 kilometres north of London, where police have carried out investigations linked to other militant attacks, including one earlier this year on London’s Westminster Bridge.
“My partner saw a sword … as well as a policeman with blood on him, looking like his hand or chest was injured”, an unnamed witness told The Times newspaper, who also said tourists were running away from the scene.
Kiana Williamson, another witness, said she saw officers trying to wrestle a man out of a car that had stopped near the palace.
In less than a minute, “the man had been restrained and looked almost unconscious by the side of the road”, Ms Williamson said.