5 dead including police officer, assailant in London attack: police

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - The number or people who died in an attack close to Britain's parliament on Wednesday has risen to five after the death of a third member of the public, police said.

Previously, the death toll had stood as four, including the attacker and a police officer.

Britain's top counter-terrorism police officer Mark Rowley told reporters that police believed the attacker was inspired by Islamist-related terrorism. Rowley said police believed they knew the identity of the attacker but he declined to provide details.

Photos and tweets from the incident:

31 PHOTOS
Possible terrorist attack outside UK Parliament in London
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Possible terrorist attack outside UK Parliament in London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: An armed police officer stands guard near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
Terror attack outside U.K. Parliament. 2 men down on road. Man with knife/machete got into Parliament and stabbed p… https://t.co/CxeL2zS6uw
Armed police respond outside Parliament during an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Armed police respond outside Parliament during an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Armed police have taken the precaution of closing the gates at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen is in residence after today's incident.
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Emergency services vehicles seen on Westminster Bridge on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer was stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard also reported an incident on Westminster Bridge where one woman has been killed and several people seriously injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
@Reuters photographer at the scene of shootings near House of Parliament in London says at least a dozen injured on Westminster bridge
At least one body seen being covered by a blanket.
People leave after being evacuated from the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. Britain's Houses of Parliament were in lockdown on Wednesday after staff said they heard shots fired, triggering a security alert. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
An ambulance is driven through a police cordon outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. Britain's Houses of Parliament were in lockdown on Wednesday after staff said they heard shots fired, triggering a security alert. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers surround two individuals on the ground inside the gates of the Houses of Parliament near the entrance, left, in London, U.K. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Shots were fired outside Parliament in London, and at least two people are being treated, according to a Bloomberg reporter on the scene. Photographer: Robert Hutton/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Air ambulance just landed at Parliament Square, Westminster, dozens of police cars https://t.co/TZVTO6IzDR
London's air ambulance arrives at the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. Britain's Houses of Parliament were in lockdown on Wednesday after staff said they heard shots fired, triggering a security alert. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A car on Westminster Bridge has just mowed down at least 5 people. https://t.co/tdCR9I0NgJ
We were called at approx 2:40pm to reports of an incident at #Westminster Bridge. Being treated as a firearms incident - police on scene
Incident in #Westminster: We are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise
Richard tice political campaigner tells me he can see ten bodies on westminster bridge - I can't confirm that from where I am
An armed police officer gestures as he stands guard in Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. British police shot a suspected attacker outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday after an officer was stabbed in what police said was a 'terrorist' incident. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
People leave after being evacuated from the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. Britain's Houses of Parliament were in lockdown on Wednesday after staff said they heard shots fired, triggering a security alert. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A police officer stops traffic as the Jaguar car of British Prime Minister Theresa May (R) is driven away from the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
An armed police officer guards inside a police cordon outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Police officers surround two individuals on the ground inside the gates of the Houses of Parliament near the entrance, left, in London, U.K. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Shots were fired outside Parliament in London, and at least two people are being treated, according to a Bloomberg reporter on the scene. Photographer: Robert Hutton/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Police tapes off Parliament Square after reports of loud bangs, in London, Britain, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
The injured being treated in New Palace Yard at Westminster Palace https://t.co/I7uRyOv2D4
Government source says PM is OK
Police trying to resuscitate one of the Commons attackers. Still seems to be breathing
House of Commons has been suspended following gunshots in Parliament, MPs are leaving the chamber
BREAKING NEWS -- Two people shot outside Houses of Parliament in London
Armed police officers stand guard inside a security cordon, outside of the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 22, 2017 during an emergency incident. Britain's Houses of Parliament were in lockdown on Wednesday after staff said they heard shots fired, triggering a security alert. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS (Photo credit should read DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
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"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 their way back from a commendation ceremony," Rowley said.

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

Reuters reporters who were inside parliament at the time heard loud bangs and shortly afterwards saw the knifeman and the stabbed policeman lying on the ground in a courtyard just outside, within the gated perimeter of the parliamentary estate.

A Reuters photographer said he saw at least a dozen people injured on the bridge. His photographs showed people lying on the ground, some of them bleeding heavily and one under a bus.

A woman was pulled alive, but with serious injuries, from the Thames, the Port of London Authority said. The circumstances of her fall into the river were unclear.

Victims being treated at the scene:

21 PHOTOS
Victims being treated after attack in London
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Victims being treated after attack in London
Members of the emergency services tend to individuals injured during an incident on Westminster Bridge near the Houses of Parliament in central London, U.K. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Multiple shots were fired near the U.K. Parliament on Wednesday in London during an incident that also saw people hit by a car on Westminster Bridge. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
An injured person is assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
An injured man is assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
An injured woman is assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is taken away for treatment by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Injured people are assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
An injured person is assisted after an incident on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is taken away for treatment by emergency services medic near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is taken away for treatment by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Members of the public are treated by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is helped by friends and emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: A member of the public is loaded into an ambulance by emergency services near Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament on March 22, 2017 in London, England. A police officer has been stabbed near to the British Parliament and the alleged assailant shot by armed police. Scotland Yard report they have been called to an incident on Westminster Bridge where several people have been injured by a car. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
A police officer gathers items after an incident while members of the emergency services treat injured individuals on Westminster Bridge near the Houses of Parliament in central London, U.K. on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Multiple shots were fired near the U.K. Parliament on Wednesday in London during an incident that also saw people hit by a car on Westminster Bridge. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Three French schoolchildren aged 15 or 16 were among those injured in the attack, French officials said.

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

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"I just saw a car go out of control and just go into pedestrians on the bridge," eyewitness Bernadette Kerrigan told Sky News. She was on a tour bus on the bridge at the time.

"As we were going across the bridge, we saw people lying on the floor, they were obviously injured. I saw about 10 people maybe. And then the emergency services started to arrive. Everyone was just running everywhere."

The House of Commons, which was in session at the time, was immediately suspended and lawmakers were asked to stay inside.

Prime Minister Theresa May was safe after the incident, a spokesman for her office said. He declined to say where May was when the attack took place.

Reactions from inside UK Parliament during attack lockdown

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Reactions from inside UK Parliament during attack lockdown
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Reactions from inside UK Parliament during attack lockdown
ALL LOCKED UP IN chamber ! https://t.co/Qxi5EywtVF
Thanks to all who texted to ask. I and my staff are safe and currently under lock down. Thanks to police & security… https://t.co/9VVg1f7PWP
https://t.co/6cHc93ZPBc
Police telling us we are safe here. But if police tell us to run 'run.' Ministers caught up here including Brexit Minister David Davis.
Just been told we're not going anywhere anytime soon.
The moment UK Parliament was suspended as "sounds similar to gunfire" were heard outside⏩ https://t.co/h6w3AiuWcw #PMQs #london #britain
Police, security, House Staff & armed unit have us locked down in parliament. Staff locked in office. All safe but thoughts with injured.
Armed police inside Central Lobby. Hundred or so people locked in here with me. Man next to me has just fainted. It's hot and tense
Colleagues taken out of the library at gun point by counter terrorist armed police officers.
Looks like a Minister has blood on him But he's ok. Think he was helping cops.
A blanket has been put over person down who we think was police officer. First aiders have stopped treating them
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Journalist Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail newspaper told LBC radio that he had witnessed the stabbing of the policeman and the shooting of the assailant from his office in the parliamentbuilding.

"He (the assailant) ran in through the open gates ... He set about one of the policemen with what looked like a stick," Letts said.

"The policeman fell over on the ground and it was quite horrible to watch and then having done that, he disengaged and ran towards the House of Commons entrance used by MPs (members ofparliament) and got about 20 yards or so when two plain-clothed guys with guns shot him."

Britain is on its second-highest alert level of "severe" meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.

In May 2013, two British Islamists stabbed to death soldier Lee Rigby on a street in southeast London.

In July 2005, four British Islamists killed 52 commuters and themselves in suicide bombings on the British capital's transport system in what was London's worst peacetime attack. (Additional reporting by Kylie Maclellan, Elizabeth Piper, Costas Pitas, Alistair Smout, Michael Holden, Kate Holton, Elisabeth O'Leary and London bureau, writing by Estelle Shirbon, editing by Stephen Addison, Mark Trevelyan and Guy Faulconbridge)

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