London’s Metropolitan Police say that a man wielding a four foot sword outside Buckingham Palace on Friday repeatedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before officers took him down with pepper spray.
The incident that took place outside the palace of the British monarchy is being treated as a terrorist incident.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) August 26, 2017
The altercation unfolded just after 8:30pm when a man driving a blue Toyota Prius was confronted by officers in a restricted area on Constitution Hill.
The driver of the vehicle is alleged to have reached for a four-foot sword before he managed to be immobilized by police using CS spray. Three Metropolitan police officers received minor injuries during the incident.
A 26-year-old man from the Luton area has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, and is being held on terrorist charges, according to a Met Police statement.
W“Officers from the Counter Terrorism Command are now investigating and searches are being carried out in the Luton area today [Saturday],” said Commander Dean Haydon, of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
“We believe the man was acting alone and we are not looking for other suspects at this stage. While we cannot speculate on what the man was intending to do – this will be determined during the course of the investigation – it is only right that we investigate this a terrorist incident at this time.”
The terrorist threat in the UK remains high, following three major attacks in London and Manchester recently.
However, it is still difficult to stop terrorist attacks in the UK because “93 percent of police officers in the UK are unarmed,” David Lowe, a terrorism expert, told RT, adding that the British authorities need to think about increasing “the number of armed officers in locations like that area around Buckingham Palace as well as in other areas that have been identified as subject to a high risk of attack.”
He went on to say that having “24-hour surveillance” to prevent such attacks is “physically impossible” as “there are a large number of police officers, who would have to be engaged in that.”
Lowe said terrorism prevention is “about all of us working together,” adding that there is a terrorist hotline in the UK and the number of calls to it “increased by 100 percent since the attacks, because people realize that passing on any form of information can be of use.”