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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  March 22, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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could you tell what kind of weapons they used? >> i know just from being coming in and out of the parliamentary estate for years they're like a sort of machine gun, they look like a machine gun, but you know, sort of large and not a pistol, but i don't know what was used. i just couldn't, i couldn't say. >> and who is telling you what to do no you're on lockdo? are there officers there telling you to stay in place? >> yes, we had a police officer come into the office and tell us to get away from the windows, because shots were being fired, and then we had an announcement on the intercom throughout parliament saying that the parliamentary estate was in lockdown and we had to remain where we were, and that hasn't changed. >> tom, were politico, thank you so much for your eyewitness account, and as we continue this
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coverage of this extraordinary apparent terror attack at the heart of london, in parliament, in westminster, on the westminster bridge, adjacent to the houses of parliament, with the prime minister safe at downing street, the queen safe at buckingham palace, i'm turning it over to my colleague, katy tur for continuing msnbc kofrlage. >> we'll continue with the breaking news out of london. shots fired outside of britain's parliament this afternoon, one assailant was shot during what police describe as a terrorist incident. there are reports of several people wounded and injured, it appears a british police officer was stabbed during the attack. journalists on scene reported hearing gunshots, just after 2:30 p.m. london time. that's 10:30 a.m. here in washington. car allegedly driven by the attacker struck several pedestrians walking along the westminster bridge, before crashing into the gates in front of parliament. number of people have been taken
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into hospitals. the bbc reports some had "catastrophic injuries." eyewitnesses describe the scene. >> we heard gunshots, what we thought was gunshots, turned around and we saw the car plowed into a lady. >> coming across the bridge we heard a bang and saw three people in the road. >> reporter: how many people do you think he hit, did you see him hit? >> from what i have seen in my own eyes between six and seven people laying down. >> joining us live is c's matt bradley on lambeth bridge. you can't get close to the scene because everything is on lockdown but run through it for us, what exactly happened and what is the current state of events out there in london. >> reporter: what i can see from here katy is more or less a logjam of police officers and med media who descended on the scene i'm close to the houses of
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parliament, i'm an lambeth bridge, immediately to the west of westminster bridge where the incident began with that car ramming as far as we know right now. this bridge, lambeth bridge was easy to walk across. there's police presence on the end of the bridge, but walking across it, i was allowed to just kind of saunter across, and as i mentioned earlier, a lot of the people that i'm seeing on the streets here, they're not panicked. public transportation except for in the areas immediately around the attack seem to be functioning rather normal. everybody seems to be filing out of their offices, and heading home, and it's not entirely clear whether they were let out early for the day or walking around as normal but it's a striking juxtaposition between the huge police presence that descended on the areas just on the entryways to the bridges, and to the streets surrounding the houses of parliament, and the faces and the expressions of people who are walking by who
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just seemed as though this is a regular day, even as there are emergency vehicles with their sirens wailing driving by and there are helicopters swirling overhead, there are even emergency boats on the river moving bean and forth, relaying back information so it's quite a dramatic scene but of course people here are taking it in stride as you kind of examine the from londoners. >> the brits are known for their stiff upper lip and no stranger to terrorist attacks. but matt, do we know as of now how many suspects there were? how many alleged attackers there were? was it just one person or could there have been more? >> reporter: well that's the big question for everybody, katy. we're wondering whether or not these two incidents, it seems as though would be incredibly timing if they were up rel but the question becomes to what extent were they related? were they executed by one or more people snt incident i'm speaking on westminster bridge, whether or not to what extent it's connected to the incident inside or immediately outside
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the houses of parliament. it's unclear whether we're seeing more than one person. seems there was this ramming with this 4x4, that came before what one witness described to msnbc as a heavyset man armed with either a knife or a baton who set upon one of the guards outside of parliament, either beat him severely or stabbed him. of course, the press conference i believe you just saw from scotland yard provided precious new details. police and authorities are reluctant to give anything more than the bare minimum out of caution they don't want to panic people and besides other than the fact the police are saying they're treating this as a terrorist incident until they have further information there's nothing to necessarily indicate this is a terror incident. it's simply just that they seem to be doing this out of an abundance of caution.
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seemsz the only person seen by one of the people talking to nbc was this "heavyset man" who tried to break into the houses of parliament and attack one of the police officers, whether or not he was the man in the 4x4 who rammed into several people on westminster bridge, i can see in front of me, is yet to be determined. >> to recap what we know, london ambulance service said they treated at least when patients on the westminster bridge where a car ran into a bunch of pedestrians. the westminster bridge leads to parliament and seems if that car was driving towards parliament at the time. this is the nerve center of british power. it is the nerve center of their government, of constitutional power. you've g parliament on one side, and you're seeing video right now of what happened on that bridge, the aftermath and the car that hit the fencing on
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that bridge and struck pedestrians. you can see it looks to be an suv. but british parliament is on the left-hand side of that bridge, just down the road, on the right-hand side, less than half a mile, quarter mile, is ten downing street. that is the residence of the prime minister of the uk, theresa may. we're told that she is safe. and if you kept going straight down that bridge, you would run smack into the queen's residence, buckingham palace. this is where power in the uk lies, it is a significant attack, and even though british police officers do not generally carry guns, this is one of the areas in london where they would be armed. camilla tomne is the royal editor -- royal analyst, she was in parliament at the time that this attack occurred. camilla, tell us, set the scene
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for us. describe what you heard and what happened after. >> sure, katy. it's about 20 to 3:00 this afternoon, just after. mqs, the time every week on a wednesday theresa may addresses parliament and answers questions from the opposition, so a very important date in the westminster calendar, in fact probably the busiest day of every week. it was there we heard a commotion at the other end of the room, in an atrium building, the modern addition to the palace viewer also recognize and where the mps, the politicians and lawmakers meet for coffee, meet with contacts, and it was down the end of the building at the entrance where we heard a huge commotion. we ran down to see what was going on, assumed perhaps it might be somebody trying to gain illegal entry, only to suddenly find loads of people running up an escalator from the cloisters area, old palace yard downstairs, gunshots were heard, a huge commotion, the police storming into the building and telling everyone to get down,
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get down, and ultimately run, run, run. we were then told to go to the back of the building while this commotion was going on. no one really knowing what the threat was or exactly what was happening until people were directly witnessed it or seen some of the scene had reported that a man or men had been shot in the old palace yard area, then of course we heard news, katy, that there had been an attempt to ram the gates, and it was only later that we discovered the incident on westminster bridge. we've all been moved into lockdown mode now, kept there for half an hour and i believe we were moved on to a safer part of the palaces of westminster because of a suspect package having been found in a nearby vehicle. so at the moment, we are obviously hypothecating, we heard scotland yard brief announcement what happened and the situation is ongoing. we are assuming here on the ground these are coordinated incidents and of course you've heard that the police are treating it as a terrorist incident.
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>> camilla, the senior police commander says the attack at london's parliament has been declared a terrorist incident and they are "conducting a full counterterrorism investigation" as we speak, reported by the associated press. camilla, from your vantage point from the conversations you are having right there, what is the talk in terms of number of assailants? is it believed it was just one person, or are there serious concerns that it could be more than one? >> we have heard initially that it was two men that were down, two men that might have been shot down in the old palace yard area. we again haven't got any clarity on whether these are the men who were in the car that both took out some pedestrians on westminster bridge and then it was the same car that went into the railing. we don't know whether they had run. i know the geography of the area so assumptions are being made perhaps there's been an attempt at breaking through railings in a car and then these men jumped out of the car on foot and tried to overcome some of the peace
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officers here. we've heard anecdotal evidence of a police officer having been stabbed and also some anecdotal evidence of perhaps a member of parlment here giving mouth to mouth. i can't confirm that at all, that's just rumor at the moment. >> camilla tomeny in parliament, s stay safe. >> thank you. >> brian is a specialist firearms command joins us from our london bureau. if you can tell me, sir, just a little bit about what sort of alert the british people and the british government and british authorities have been on in the past few years, especially following all the incidents that have been happening across europe, what happened in paris, what happened in nice, what happened in belgium? >> well, in the united kingdom we've been operating under the severe threat of terrorism for quite some time now and the severe threat means essentially an attack is highly likely and as we've seen in europe and elsewhere across the world,
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there have been a number of incidents which have caused the threat level to be at that stage for some time, and as a consequence of that, the authorities have a whole range of contingency plans in place to deal with the sort of tragic scenario that unfortunately we're seeing unfolding on the streets of london today. >> in the area that this happened, brian, that is where metropolitan police would be caring firearms. >> yes, that's absolutely correct, right in the heart of london, it is the seat of government, and it's also very popular with tourists for a whole host of reasons, because of the iconic sites there and heavily protected by a comprehensive system of policing and cooperation with security personnel in the various buildings that are there. so it's no surprise to see that the police have responded very promptly and very efficiently to what befell on the streets today. >> what happens now? where does the investigation go? how long does parliament stay
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under lockdown and the concern that more people could be out there, how does the city as large as london deal with that sort of threat? >> well, we're no stranger to experience of terrorism or disruptive event. we have a long history of this g goin right back to the second world war and before. very much the message in london will be london carries on and is open for business. which isn't about being glib to what's happening today but a recognition this great city does not come to a halt because of one single incident, but what will be happening will be a very thorough, very detailed counterterrorism investigation taking place to understand who this individual is, what network, if any, is he part of, and what else might be in the pipeline to head towards us linked to that. there will be a very strong visible presence, increasing the presence of police in westminster and across the whole of the capital, and i think it's important to stress that these things are part of a contingency
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plan. it's catered for. it's tragic what's happened today but not as if london hasn't expected it, so therefore the plans that will be put into place will be to put more officers out on the streets to prevent and detect but also to reassure the public, because the public are at the heart of everything that the authorities do here, the counterterrorism arrangements in this country work effectively and successfully, because of the cooperation between the police and the public. so that's where i see the direction of travel going in the immediate future. >> brian, thank you. and we want to go now to our correspondent bill neely in london, but before we get to him, we do have a little bit more a few more interviews from eyewitnesses who describe what they saw. take a listen. >> as i was waiting that green light to change, the car speeded up and passed me, that small shop after the traffic light the first victim hit and i did not pay attention afterwards, just the cars, second after that few
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meters and the third, then that was the time it clicked on something bad is going on. >> bill neely is two blocks away from parliament. you're on white hall street. what are you hearing? >> reporter: yes, katy i'm on white hall, about 400, 500 yards from where this happened. the street is cordonned off but back and forth have been coming detectives and we assume anti-terror police. couple helicopters in the air above us. as i think you were saying earlier this could not have happened at a more symbolic place, and at a more symbolic time because this is the very center of british democracy. you've got downing street just up the road. we've got the cabinet office, where the daily anti-terror briefings run by a group called c.o.b.r.a. take place and the houses of parliament at end of the street and the ministry of defense just behind me here. it also happened just after prime minister's questions when the british prime minister is in the house of commons answering
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questions about the whole range of things that are happening in britain, and around the world. so this attack was timed, and the place is significant as well. as you were saying earlier we've got plenty of dots, not all those dots have been joined at the minute. what was the person who was attempting to stab the policeman outside parliament the same person who was in the vehicle, its vehicle that mowed down people on people on westminster. what the anti-terror police and scotland yard are telling us they are treating this as a terror incident but who was behind it we don't know. >> it is early and under normal circumstances in scenarios like this, it takes about 4 hours before a terror group does say that they, 24 hours before a terror group does take responsibility for claim credit for something like this, but who
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would british authorities be looking to first, bill? >> reporter: well i mean british terror authorities keep and indeed the domestic intelligence service mi5 keep a large number of groups on their radar screen, including for example groups called the real i.r.a., the continuity i.r.a., the remnants of the terror campaign that plagued this city for 20 years in the 1970s and 1980s. so they will be completely open-minded about this, but obviously speculation will turn to islamic radical groups including isis. isis has called for precisely this kind of attack in the past throughout europe to use whatever weapons at hand, knives, cars, whatever, to
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attack people where they live. for anyone investigating this incident they will be suspect number one. although there has not been an isis attack in the uk but significant significantly today was the first anniversary of at tacks in brussels that killed dozens of people at brussels airport. that may simply be koins dents but something the anti-terror police will be looking into. just a couple of days ago, the anti-terrorist police here on the river thames, a few hundred yards behind me carried out an anti-terror drill practicing a scenario, people would have been held annive on a boat in the thames and practiced storming that boat heavily armed anti-terror police. the drills in the city going on for years and years and from as long ago as the 1980s and '70s, people had experience of republican irish, republican
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terrorism, the 7/7 bombings here carried out in the middle of the british campaign in iraq which killed dozens of people and many people here have been thinking it's not just a matter of if this might happen but when as they watched terror incidents unfold in germany, in france and in belgium. katy as you will know there are more heavily armed police in this square mile of london than just about anywhere else in the uk. there was a quick response from the police but certainly whoever did this, one or more attackers knew exactly what they were driving into, they knew exactly what they were doing. >> absolutely. everywhere else in london pretty much everywhere else you come across police officers who were not armed, in fact in 2013 just to give you an idea, our viewers an idea of how infrequently officers there use their
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weapons, british police officers in 2013 ohm fired their guns three times during that entire year. bill if you're still with us, i want to ask you one other question. does an attack like this, given how many people the person mowed down on westminster bridge and given how close the person or people were able to get to parliament, does this change london? does this change security in london? does this change the way of life in london going on from here? >> well, i mean, i hesitate to predict anything about the future but i would say probably not, katy. again, people in this city are used to terrorism. they had it during the 1970s and 1980s. they have on alert. there are regular increases and decreases in the level of terror attack here.
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there are regular drills as i was saying, and you know, british people tend on the whole to be rather cool and calm about this. there's been, you know, people are going about their business here. i'm surrounded by a crowd listening to me now, but just 100 yards, 50 yards up the road, people are in shops and restaurants going about their business as normal. you know, we were all waiting just in the minutes after this happened for the possibility of a second or a third or a fourth attack as happened in paris. i think that's what people are aware of. in this city, people are very savvy about how these things tend to take place, so people were braced for something else. we still don't know that this is over. we still don't know that there won't be some other incident in some other part of london, but to answer your question, initially, katy, i don't think this will largely affect the way people go about their lives a
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day-to-day basis here, no. >> bill neely on white hall street just a couple blocks from parliament, thank you very much. we also have joining us keir simmons who is in our nbc news headquarters in new york. keir, usually is based in london, one of our foreign correspondents. keir, i was walking the audience through, our viewers through where exactly this happened, and why it is so significant. we have the westminster bridge, which leads to parliament. you keep going straight, you are going to hit buckingham palace. you make a right, you'll run by downing street, where the prime minister lives and works. to the left you have parliament. this is the nerve center of british power. >> absolutely, katy. this is the seat of government. this is the place where the constitution is based because the queen is not far away and buckingham palace, is there now, was there while this attack was taking place. as you mentioned downing street is there. just to look at that map that helps us to understand the
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sequence of events with the witness accounts we have heard. the red line across the thames is westminster bridge. it appears from the accounts that the person or persons in the vehicle drove from south to north, on the screen right to left across the bridge, running into people as they went. they crashed into a fence, a gate next to the houses of parliament, which is at the end of that red line on the left, and you've seen pictures of that vehicle it appears to be the vehicle, collided with that piece of gate. now, slightly around to the left, if you want to walk through it with me, you can see another incident mark. that is inside the gates of the houses of parliament, but it is still outside the building itself, and that is where the incident occurs, where as according to witnesses, a man attacked a police officer, with a knife, and then is himself shot. now, just looking at that, you
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can see for yourself that it's possible that that man could have run from the vehicle around that corner into parliament square, through the gates, which is the same gates as it happens that the prime minister herself used to drive in to parliament from downing street, when she's going to answer prime minister's questions, as she did today. those are the two key incidents, those two marks, and that line across the bring, adge, and tha tells you one or two people in the vehicle who exit the vehicle, who then carry out the next attack or involved in the next incident. we don't know, and that's what scotland yard are trying to figure out. they have told us that they are looking at incident of a man with a knife, a car hitting pedestrians, and also a person in the river, katy, i am seeing reports that a woman jumped from the bridge from westminster bridge. that's quite a jump to make. she apparently made that leap
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because she was so terrified by the attack that she was seeing unfolding, she was jumping for her life. if that is the case, then we are down to two incidents, the police reporting two key incidents, and those two incidents may be connected, they may be the same person. >> do we know her status >> we don't know her status, and we don't know very much about the status of a number of the people who were injured here. there are also reports of a group of french tourists, there would have been many tourists there, katy, as you know. we could find the victims of this aren't just british but people from around the world. >> keir simmons, stick with us. bill neely who again is two blocks from parliament and bill, you are speaking with a lawmaker who was in parliament at the time, right? >> reporter: yes, katy, joining me on white hall about four or 500 yards from where it happened is martin vickers, a british lawmaker who was there at the time. martin, just describe to me what you heard, what you saw, what you were doing at the time. >> well we were walking through the corridors, the cloisters as
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we know in the old part of the palace, having come through the tunnel from our office on this side of the main road. we were heading towards the voting lobbies, and what we now know i think it was three shots rang out. i was 50, 60 yards behind my colleagues who were headed in the same direction. >> reporter: you could hear thosedistinctly? >> well we heard what we now know were shots and colleagues in front of us turned and run presumably on the advice of the security services. we were told to get out of the building, and the nearest entrance out of the building from where we were is actually out into the tube station, which we duly did, and we've been locked out ever since. i can't get back into my office. some of my staff are still in there. >> reporter: at what point was it apparent to you exactly what those noises were? >> well, to be honest, not until we got out and we were stood out on the embankment. people were checking with their
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phones and very soon we were getting messages about what had happened, and we were able to tune in to the news channel and so on. >> reporter: obviously this is being treated as a terror incident. what is your view of what you now know has happened? >> well obviously it's a sad occasion particularly for the casualties and their families. the important thing is that the democratic process will not be thwarted by a terrorist attack, if that's what it indeed is, and we will of course carry on. parliament will be meeting i guess if not tomorrow, certainly in the next few days, and we will, the democratic process will go on, taken will go on in public. >> reporter: the democratic process was taking place as this happened, and it's no coincidence that it happened here. is it because this is the very heart of british democracy? >> yes, i mean clearly the parliament and all the public buildings are always likely to be a target for terrorism.
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we have an excellent security staff who do a brilliant job day by day, and it's when occasions,ineoccasions, incidents like this happen they do their best to protect us all. >> you heard three what you now know were gunshots? >> what i now know, people such as yourselves are telling me were gunshots. it certainly sounded something like that. >> reporter: was there shock among fellow mps? >> well shock, yes, obviously you are shocked when these sort of incidents happen and it makes you a little bit more apprehensi apprehensive, but we know we're taking risks, that's one of the prices you pay for being in public life. >> reporter: martin vickers, thank you very much for talking to us. and katy, just to recap, we know that there are up to a dozen people injured. there is no confirmation at the moment of deaths, although a junior doctor at st. thomas'
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hospital which is the closest hospital to westminster said that one woman had been killed, and she also said that she treated a police officer in his 30s for stab injuries, but again, just going back to what i was saying earlier, you know, many of the dots have not been joined, and certainly there has been no claim of responsibility for any group. we don't know if it was one man or several men involved in this indent, and again, the exact number of casualties not known. >> we do not know the current status of that police officer who was stabbed, bill? >> reporter: no, correct. we've heard no recent medical updates from st. thomas 'or any hospital nearby >> bear with us, developments coming in minute by minute, breaking news, so we are trying to confirm things as fast as we possibly can. meanwhile we are getting in more interviews from eyewitnesses.
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take a listen. >> all i could hear is bang, bang, bang, it was like loud. i don't know it was a gunshot. i thought it was probably a tourist, someone just did something fireworks something. you move forward and there was a car smashed at the parliament wall. >> joining me now is fawaz gerges, just outside of parliament when the attack happened. fawaz, what did you see? >> well it was very chaotic, hundreds of people running away from the parliament, groups of teens, students, foreign students screaming and crying, police officers all over the place. i mean the place really turned from a lovely area, i mean this is the westminster area, and the garden, very lovely area, suddenly turned into a war zone. helicopters in the sky, armed
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police officers, very much uncertainty, people asking questions, and we were pushed away from the parliament because the police officers were very much trying to clear the area, because of casualties and trying to control the area. >> how hard is it to get into parliament? >> well, it's not very hard at all. if you go at the parliament, you have thousands of people pass on an hourly basis. it's an open area. of course, there are gates but to go inside, of course, it's very difficult because you have dozens of police officers outside and inside, and in this particular case really it was a suicide or a suicide attack because the suspect who basically stabbed the police officer realized that this was a suicide mission. i have no doubt in my mind that he had realized that he was going to be killed, but still he was sending a very powerful message. i mean, this is a very iconic place, as you keep saying. this is the seat of british
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democracy. this is the seat of british power. next door is downing street. so the attack itself is extremely symbolic, even though we do not know the perpetrator, the identity of the perpetrator, we have to be careful and wait for the next few hours to see who is going to take responsibility for the attack. >> how quickly did first responders descend upon the scene? how quickly did parliament put into lockdown and how quickly were you moved out of that area? >> it's unbelievable how swift the response was. i mean, just a few minutes. we've heard, i mean i heardwo bangs, obviously there we shots, but suddenly, it's two minutes, suddenly the entire area was controled by police officers, ambulances, police cars, motorcycles, and suddenly helicopters, quite a few helicopters were in the sky,
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some of them basically landed near the parliament to obviously evacuate some injured but it really was very impressive, the swift response of both the police officers and also i think the medical community, and of course, it took them about ten minutes to control the areas around the parliament, because imagine, you had hundreds of people, but of course people started running in particular you had many tours, students who were basically shouting and crying, some of them, because obviously they were scared for their lives. >> and the french prime minister fawaz has just confirmed a french high school student was among the injured in london. not only is this the seat of british democracy and the nerve center, as i keep saying, of power in the uk, but it's also one of the most highly trafficked tourists areas in the city. you have parliament, big ben,
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westminster abbey, where prince william and kate were married, buckingham palace is down the street, ten down somethiing is street, the london eye is over the thames, westminster bridge is highly trafficked with tourists, highly trafficked with locals as well, so this is an area that was quite busy and should have been quite busy at 2:30 in the afternoon on a wednesday. fawaz, thank you for joining us. msnbc's counterterrorism analyst malcolm nance is also with us. he joins me from nbc news headquarters in new york. it's not a question of if. oftentimes it's a question of when. i lived in london for a short period of time and it was a question of when this would happen next. they had the terror attacks obviously the 7/7 terror attacks back in 2005. there was the soldier who was attacked on a british street corner back in 2013.
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were london authorities prepared for this? >> well, yes. i believe they were very well prepared for the terminal part of a terrorist attack. this is what we call the point of failure, because it's a failure of intelligence up to this point. this is a very, very difficult attack to predict at all. if a single individual or a cadre of two individuals decide to get into their car, pick up which is apparently a bowie style military knife, drive down a bridge and then start, go off and onto the sidewalk and start hitting people, and then make a foot assault with a knife? you're not going to know that until the moment it happened. and that's apparently what we've seen here. however, even though they do call that the point of failure in intelligence, it's the start of where you have your counterterrorist action are, your armed police officers, so-19 counterterrorism officers who break the assault. you can see in the photographs after where the car crashed,
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even the one attacker knifed a policeman, the parliament's counterterrorist forces inside there came in, broke the assault, shot the assailant it appears at least three times and you are now watching the post-assault phase where they are in standby for any follow-on assaults. >> and malcolm, the secretary of state rex tillerson just released a statement on the attack saying "on behalf of the united states i express my condolences to the victims and their families. the american people send their thoughts and prayers to the people of the united kingdom. we condemn these horrific acts of violence and whether they were carried out by troubled individuals or by terrorists, the victims know no difference." rex tillerson is not decisively calling it a terrorist attack at this time. we do know that senior officers in london and in the uk are calling it as such, at least right now.
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malcolm, this is a very highly trafficked area. what sort of alert is the uk on now for another attack coming, and what sort of alert is the rest of europe on, and the united states? >> well, there would have been a measure of alert anyway, because today is the anniversary of the brussels bombings attacks in brussels, belgium, and you know, it's in the counterterrorism world, we tend to pay very close attention to anniversaries, even though sometimes terrorists don't tend to stick to anniversary strike schedules like we would like them to, right, but today you see that on today's anniversary, we do get an attack, and that's relatively rare, but forces inside of england, certainly the so-19, the counterterrorism force in the country, the metropolitan police forces as led by new scotland yard they would have had an elevated level of security, but you wouldn't have noticed it inside the parliament
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area, parliament square, or round westminster bridge. that place, the security is always very very discreet. it's not like the white house, where you have secret service, uniformed division with armed officers at every corner, or around new york city, where you see all of the armed counterterrorism and emergency response force personnel, with long rifles. they only show up in england when an incident happens, and as you see right after the incident, right after the stabbing of the police officer, armed and very heavily armorred counterterrorism forces came out of parliament, engaged the shooter, sorry, the attacker, and resolved the incident for everybody. >> malment coucolm, why are the many more plain clothed police officers, not necessarily showing weapon answer tactical gear, unlike what we see here in the united states. we see hercules forces on the subway in new york city all the time, officers with high-powered
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weaponry guarding our monday ults, gua monuments and subways. >> they have a cultural belief that they don't require what we call high-profile counterterrorism or counterassault forces unless the situation calls for that. they want to main thein their own figure of national calm, so to speak and i respect that. i see the same thing in germany. you see the seam thing in france, but when an incident happens, you suddenly see very heavy forces coming out there. the united states, we love high-profile forces, because we believe that a high profile force creates a deterrent effect against terrorists who may even want to think about assaulting out there, but if you were to go into lafayette park in front of the white house unless you're looking at the white house it's the same thing. you might see a metropolitan police car locally but you generally won't see heavy forces until you are ready up against that fence of the white house. >> out of cursity you're
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walking the streets in london and you don't see any officers, how many people walking around in plain clothes can you expect to be undercover officers? >> well, certainly in white hall that immediate area around the parliament, number ten downing street, you have over there in, you know, new scotland yard it's just a few blocks away, the royal horse guards, those soldiers who were up there in those boxes are armed. they have weapons with ammunition, and everything up to buckingham palace and trafalgar square there's going to be a lot of un, you know, of ununiformed policemen and a lot of very heavy assault teams riding around in bmws that you would never know were counterassault forces. >> and to get our viewers up to speed to remind them of where we stand, there has been an attack in london as we continued to report on, multiple people injured. london ambulance service saying that ten people have been taken away from the westminster bridge, where they were struck
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by a vehicle. man or two men or maybe women, we're not sure yet, seemed to storm parliament, the car crashed into the gates of parliament, stormed parliament, engaged with a police officer, stabbed one police officer, and one person was shot by authorities in london. that is what we know as of now. the secretary of state rex tillerson has released a statement expressing his condolences and the condolences of the united states to the victims in london. president trump has also been briefed. here is some sound from london authorities about the current status of current state of affairs in london as we speak. >> i'd like to repeat our request for the public to avoid the following areas -- parliament square, white hall, westminster bridge, lamb erth street, the victoria embankment
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up to tube station to allow emergency services to deal with this ongoing incident. >> this is very unusual for london police to fire upon somebody. it is more unusual for them to kill somebody. before today the metropolitan police had fatally shot just ten people in the past decade, up to and including 2006. now let's go to jonathan ashworth, a member of parliament's house of commons. he was evacuated from his office. jonathan, tell me what you saw. >> well, i have an office overlooking what we call new scotland yard, the footage where i saw a body on the ground with police trying to, around the body and i saw a car outside of the yard which mounted the pavement which we believe is the car which mowed down citizens on westminster bridge. as we understand it, a man with
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a knife run in and now a policeman lost his life, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. we are in an absolute state of shock thousands of people, in westminster in the same way i imagine thousands of people work on capitol hill in the states. thousands of people visit here every day. we've had school parties visiting here, tourists visiting here and people coming here to talk to their members of parliament about the legislation, because we're a democracy. we're all in complete shock but we're all determined that democracy and freedom and justice will not be defeated, so we're in immense shock but we won't let it defeat us. >> jonathan ashworth, thank you very much. you just heard jonathan mention that the police officer was killed, nbc news has not confirmed that. i want to stress that, but that is what the bbc is reporting at this time.
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sean spicer and the white house press briefing room just at the podium a couple minutes ago, and addressed the attacks in london. let's take a listen. >> good afternoon. first the top i wanted to note that the president has been briefed on the situation in london. he just spoke to prime minister may, and we'll have a readout on that situation and that call soon. we obviously condemn today's attack in westminster, which the united kingdom is streeting as an act of terrorism, and we applaud the quick response that the british police and their first responders made to the situation, the victims in this are in our thoughts and our prayers. the city of london and her majesty's government have the full support of the u.s. government in responding to the attack and bringing those to justice who are responsible. we will provide you with further updates as warranted, and as i mentioned, a readout of the
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president's call with prime minister. turning to the events of today, this morning the president received his daily intelligence briefing, he stopped by in the women and health care -- >> back to the breaking news of the day, you heard sean spicer mention donald trump, president trump has spoken and been briefed by prime minister theresa may. i toss it over to brian williams in new york. >> katy, thanks. we'll check in again with bill neely in london, with anything you've been able to find out, or see developing in front of you. bill? >> reporter: good afternoon, brian, on a chilly march afternoon. at the very heart of british power and british democracy, we're about three hours ago there was what authorities are calling a terror incident. now there are a lot of dots here that haven't completely been joined but we believe a vehicle, a 4x4 went across westminster bridge over the river thames,
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knocking people down, at least ten people, before it then mounted the sidewalk, at the houses of parliament, about 400 yards from here. at least one person got out of that vehicle with a knife, and began attacking at least one police officer, and then shots rang out, and that individual went on to the ground. the timing and the location of this attack, brian, highly significant. as i say, i am standing in white hall, about 300, 400 yards from where this happened. just over here is downing street, behind me is the ministry of defense. you've got the house of parliament here and close by is the cabinet office, where the anti-terror group of police intelligence officials and ministers called c.o.b.r.a. meet sometimes daily to discuss terror attacks and we're near the river thames as well, where just 48 hours ago there was a
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big anti-terror exercise conducted by police officers. so there is no coincidence in where this attack took place. it took place just after prime minister's questions, the moment when the british prime minister is questioned in the house of commons, there were around 400 mps in parliament, when this incident happened, and they were mediately put on lockdown. the place is usually teeming with tourists, and there were tourises, big ben is nearby, tourists on the london eye several hundred feet in the air when this happened and they were also trapped when the power was cut to the london eye. it's also a place where there are dozens of heavily armed officers. in fact there's one just to my left now, keeping us and the crowds back. it is an area that is full of anti-terror police, and there was a very rapid response to this incident. as i say, at least ten people
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injured. we cannot yet confirm reports that one of the policemen who was stabbed has died, but certainly police officers were injured in this incident as well, according to the french, as french high school students. >> bill neely thanks. i'm told to tell you, you need to get over to a police briefing, so we need to let you go to that. jeremy bash, former chief of staff at the pentagon and the cia, is also with us. jeremy, we keep asking you to piece this together as we learn more. what stands out to you right now? >> a couple of things, brian. first the target of the attack was the political center of the united kingdom. second, the method of attack, a car ramming and a stabbing, these are the m.o. of foreign terrorist organizations, or terrorist inspired attackers, and the group that immediately comes to mind of course is isis. now isis has not conducted an attack yet in the uk, but they
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have featured in their videos at least six occasions british sit accident who have joined the ranks of isis, and have said you should launch attacks inside the uk. last november, isis released a toolkit for its followers and said you should use car rammings, you should use stabbings. don't travel to syria. don't travel to iraq. conduct attacks inside your own country. and so i think brian at this hour, without any further information, this s to be t working hythesis, not jt of new scotland yard, but quietly of the british secret service, mi-5, one of the premier counterterrorism organizations in the world, they will be working together with our intelligence officials, primarily the central intelligence agency, the national security agency, and the national counterterrorism center located in northern virginia. they're going to be looking at the scene. they're going to be taking forensics from the alleged assailant, his fingerprints, any other biometric information.
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they'll be taking the license plate, the make and model of the vehicle that rammed into that gate. they'll be cross-matching that against any known information, any claims of responsibility, anything in our digital digital databases that will indicate this attack is somehow indicated to isis or al qaeda or any other foreign terrorist organizations. these are the questions at this hour, brian. and this is what our agencies will be tearing apart along with our british allies. >> last we spoke on the air, 13, 14 hours ago, the subject of terrorism had come up late yesterday but in the form of this hastily put out advisory to incoming flights and airlines into the united states. there was word that the british were going to expand it. it was about something altogether different. as you point out, this would be in keeping with, as we mourn the dead and are thinking about the wounded, the less than spectacular attack, the kind of
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piecemeal, low-kcost, forgive te phrase, terrorist attack we've seen in more recent times. >> that's right. as our security forces have improved their capabilities against the counterterrorism threat, the terrorists themselves have had to basically define their tactics down and go for the easier targets, go for targets in plain sight, go for people standing on the road or the guard standing at the gate. it is worth mentioning, brian, becae you mentioned t of aation threat. the british yesterday did join the american homeland security department in issuing this threat and issuing essentially -- or highlighting this threat and issuing this ban on large electronic devices on certain middle east carriers coming from about 20 locations in the middle east and north africa. to me, brian, as we talked about last night on your show, that sounded very much like there were specific, credible intelligence evidence that isis or foreign terrorist
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organization was going to try to plant an explosive in those larger electronic devices. we don't know if this attack in any way is connected to that threat stream or if, perhaps, it was in response to what the uk announced yesterday. >> jeremy bash, thank you. as we watch, we'll stay in this video, the aerial pictures especially. the map on the lower right, our london-based correspondent keir simmons happens to be here in new york with us this week. keir, we've been trying to resituate people as we look at these pictures. suffice to say, if you're an american troourist who has visid london, you have seen the sights we're talking about today. >> that's right. and it looks now, according to french -- the french government, that a group of 12 french students were on that bridge. and they -- some of them have been victims. three french high school students said to be by the
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french in serious condition. another woman according to reports threw herself from the bridge in terror to try to escape the attack. in terms of what we're looking at there, brian, it does look as if from the images and accounts we've had, what happened is a vehicle drove from the right of that picture in the bottom right-hand side of the screen to the left, across the bridge. that's from the south to the north. they then additi-- that then th collided with the fencing, the gate of the houses of parliament. you can see the red blob in the middle of the screen. car crashes into fence. now another incident aroundhe corner where inside the perimeter of the houses of parliament, where a police officer is stabbed and a man is shot. now, it is possible that from the vehicle the man -- a man could have run around the gate. it's often open. it's where the prime minister
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inters the parliament for questions, which happened today. it's possible that could be the same person. a crucial question we don't know the answer to right now is how many people were involved in this, how many assailants were there. i'm told a statement from scotlandyard that they're preparing to make that statement. we may get an answer to that from the police relatively soon. >> thank you, keir simmons. i'm told itv, the british television network is reporting two dead in this attack. while people run down any bits of meaning, any electronic traffic, we have been reminded one year ago today was the brussels attack. one of the last times we were on the air with wall-to-wall live coverage of a terrorist attack. that's what officials are calling this. that's what at least it's being investigated as because of the
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signs that were apparent upon af arrival for first responders in london. you see that shot we keep repeating of the helicopter rising up over the houses of parliament. our live coverage will continue after this break. come on dad!
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we are back with live coverage coming up on the 2:00 p.m. on the east coast. as we go back to the scene in london, let's update now with how the associated press is reporting this as this hour. a vehicle mowed down pedestrians on london's westminster bridge, killing at least one woman, leaving others with injuries as described as catastrophic. around the same time wednesday a knife-wielding attacker stabbed a police officer and was shot on the grounds outside britain's parliament. sending the compound into lockdown. further, authorities say they are treating the attacks as a terrorist incident. some of those injured were french high school students, according to the prime minister in france. itv is now reporting two dead. they are reporting that both of the deaths happened on the bridge as a result of the
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vehicle incident, the collision there. we have been looking at aerials as close as we can get to the aftermath of the scene. we also want to be sensitive for what our cameras may show. though at this point now, its investigators, first responders have taken as many of those wounded to the hospital as possible. briefing has just started from scotland yard. let's listen in. >> what we know about the inciden incidents, the ongoing operation and what london can expect over the coming days. as you know, we've declared this as a terrorist incident and command are carrying out full-scale investigation into the events today. the attack started when a car was driven over westminster bridge, hitting and injuring a number of members of the public, also including three police officers on eir way back from
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a common enaddition ceremony. the car crashed into parliament and a man with a knife continued the attack and tried to enter parliament. sadly i can confirm that now four people have died. that includes the police officer who was protecting parliament and one man we believe to be the attacker, who was shot by a police officer. the officer's family has been made aware. at least 20 people have been injured. as part of long-established and well-rehearsed plans, parliament has been locked down and met with our plans for ending terrorist attack. that response included uniformed and special is firearms officers. we now have an ongoing operation. whilst we currently believe there was only one attacker, i'm sure the public will understand us taking of precaution in locking down and searching the area as thoroughly and exhausttively as possible. i know the


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