Five people are dead, including a police officer, and another 40 are injured after suspected terrorist attack in Westminster, London.
The lone attacker was shot dead by police after fatally stabbing a policeman inside the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.
British prime minister Theresa May has called the attack “sick and depraved” but has pledged that the nation will unite in the face of violence.
“Parliament will come together as normal… and Londoners will get up and go about their day as normal… they will walk these streets, they will live their lives… never giving into terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart,” she said.
World leaders including French president François Hollande, German chancellor Angela Merkel and US president Donald Trump have reacted to the London terror attack, and expressed their support.
Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull this morning extended his sympathies.
He told a media briefing he had not being informed whether any Australians had been involved in the attack.
While he had not yet spoken to British PM May, he said he “looked forward to doing so”.
He also announced that as a precaution parliament house in Canberra would have extra police on duty.
“(AFP) Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin has confirmed there will be increased police presence today,” he said.
“That is an appropriate response. It indicates the degree, the care and the caution that is taken by our security agencies in keeping us safe. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely.”
Here’s his written statement in full.
Australia’s heartfelt sympathy and resolute solidarity is with the people of the United Kingdom with whom we stand today as we always have in freedom’s cause. Staunch allies in the war against terrorism.
The attack on the British Parliament is an attack on parliaments, freedom and democracy everywhere.
Westminster is rightly known as the mother of parliaments.
Almost every element of our parliamentary tradition here in Australia is modelled on that of the Houses of Parliament in London — the birthplace of our great, free, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law which sustains it.
We send our condolences, especially to the families of the victims, those injured, including a police officer murdered by the terrorist as he attempted to enter the Houses of Parliament.
It is a reminder of the risk that our security agencies, our police forces, or intelligence services, and the men and women of the Australian ADF, the risk to their lives and safety that they take on as they defend us every day.
We owe them our deepest gratitude every day for their service in keeping us secure.
The Metropolitan Police in London have confirmed that they are treating it as a terrorist attack.
We have conveyed our condolences to the British Government through the Ambassador and the High Commissioner.
I have received briefings this morning on the attack from our Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Tony Sheehan, the High Commissioner in London, Alexander Downer, the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin and the Director General of Security, Duncan Lewis.
The AFP Commissioner has confirmed there will be an increase in police presence in Parliament House here in Canberra today.
But Australians should be reassured that our agencies are today, as every day, working relentlessly to keep Australians safe.
We are very alert to the vulnerabilities of places of mass gathering and the risk of lone attackers, like the perpetrator, the terrorist in London.
Keeping Australians safe is our highest priority. It is the first duty of my government, and, indeed, every government.
We have, since September 2014, disrupted 12 planned attacks and there have been 62 persons charges with terrorist-related offences since then. We have strengthened our counter terrorism and national security laws to ensure our agencies have the powers they need, our soldiers have the ability to kill the terrorists in the field, whatever their role, and that convicted terrorists will not be released at the end of their sentence if they remain a threat to society.
We work very, very closely indeed with our allies, including the United Kingdom and the United States and many other partners around the world.
But we must be clear-eyed about the risk. It is real and that is why the threat, the terror threat level is set at probable.
But we will never, ever let the terrorists win. We will defeat and destroy them on the battlefield, we will defeat and defy them at home. We will never change the way we live. We will never let them divide us. We will never let them intimidate us or challenge our democratic way of life or the freedoms for which generations of Australians have served and died to keep secure.
The challenge that we face here in Australia is, as I said, a very real one. But, we have the finest security agencies in the world. Our police, our intelligence services, our defence forces are the best in the world.
We are never complacent. We are constantly alert. Every day, every night, keeping Australians safe.
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