A driver has been arrested on suspicion of terror offences after a car collided with cyclists and pedestrians before crashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament today.
The man, in his late 20s, is being held in custody at a south London police station after armed officers swarmed the scene following the suspected terror attack just before 7.40am.
This kind of event has become worryingly common in Europe in recent years, with hundreds of people killed and injured in vehicle attacks since 2016. Cars and vans are easy to obtain, and pedestrians in crowded streets are vulnerable targets. Many of these attacks – often known as rampage attacks or ramming attacks – have been attributed to Islamist terror, though motives can vary.
Protective bollards are now commonplace around crowded areas in city centres and at events, and politicians have discussed ways to prevent extremists from hiring vehicles. However, the number of pedestrian fatalities caused by deliberate violent acts remains small in contrast to the death toll from accidental crashes.
Although we don't know what was behind the Westminster incident yet, here's a look at the other vehicle attacks that have happened across Europe in the last three years.
Grosser Kiepenkerl, Münster, 7 April 2018
A grey Volkswagen minibus was driven at speed into the outdoor seating area of a popular pub in Muenster, killing two people and injuring around 20 more. The 48-year-old driver, who killed himself shortly after the attack, is not thought to have links to Islamist terror groups.
Las Ramblas, Barcelona, 17 August 2017
A hired van drove down Barcelona's Las Ramblas district on a sunny afternoon, killing 13 people and injuring 50 more.
The van is understood to have been hired from the Telefurgo rental chain. Anybody with a driving licence can hire this sort of van – prices in Spain are around £50 to £100 per day, depending on the age of the driver.
Levallois-Perret, Paris, 9 August 2017
A BMW 2-Series Active Tourer was driven into a group of soldiers in a suburb of Paris. Six people were injured, three seriously. The driver was then stopped on the A16 motorway, being shot several times in the process.
The hired BMW was equipped with a GPS tracking system, making it easy for the police to locate.
Champs-Élysées, Paris, 19 June 2017
A Renault Megane containing explosives and weapons (an AK-47 rifle and handguns) was driven into a Gendarmerie vehicle on the famous Champs-Élysées in Paris. Only the attacker was killed in what is understood to be a 'botched' suicide attack.
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Finsbury Park, London, 19 June 2017
A rented van was driven into a group of people outside a Mosque. The driver was heard saying "I want to kill all Muslims" and "this is for London Bridge". One person died.
London Bridge, London, 3 June 2017
A rented van was driven into pedestrians in the London Bridge area. The three attackers then got out of the van and began stabbing people, before being shot by police. A further 8 people died and 48 people were injured, 21 critically.
Drottninggatan, Stockholm, 7 April 2017
A hijacked lorry was driven into crowds on a popular shopping street in Stockholm. Five people were killed, and 14 were seriously injured. A home-made explosive was found in the lorry after the attacker had abandoned it.
Westminster, London, 22 March 2017
AHyundai Tucson was driven into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. The driver then got out and stabbed a policeman to death, before being shot. Five people were killed in the car attack, with 49 injured.
Breitscheidplatz, Berlin, 19 December 2016
A stolen lorry was driven into pedestrians at a Christmas market in Berlin. The attacker had shot the driver of the lorry in order to take it, and then killed 11 pedestrians. There were 56 non-fatal injuries.
Promenade des Anglais, Nice, 14 July 2016
A lorry was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day near the seafront at Nice. 87 people were killed, including the attacker, and a further 458 were injured.