British counterterrorism police are investigating a man who was detained after driving a car at police outside Buckingham Palace before grabbing “a four-foot sword” and injuring three officers while shouting the Islamist war cry “Allahu akbar”.
London police force said officers subdued the 26-year-old man who deliberately drove at a police van near Queen Elizabeth II’s London residence, one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
“Uniformed officers then confronted the driver of the vehicle and during that confrontation the driver reached for a four-foot sword [in the car],” said Dean Haydon, commander of the Metropolitan Police counterterrorism branch.
Three London police officers were slightly injured while struggling to arrest him, he added.
Commander Haydon described the arrest as an isolated incident, adding that police presence was already heightened in London because of the long Bank Holiday weekend.
The suspect was taken to hospital with minor injuries and remains in custody . No one other than the attacker and the police officers was injured.
No royals were at palace during incident, according to media reports.
Buckingham Palace said tours of those parts of the palace open to the public were unaffected by the incident.
Witness Kiana Williamson said she saw officers trying to wrestle a man out of a car that had stopped near the palace.
In less than a minute, “the man had been restrained and looked almost unconscious by the side of the road”, Ms Williamson said.
Last year a man convicted of murder climbed the palace wall and was detained on the grounds while the queen was at home.
Meanwhile, a 30-year-old Belgian of Somali origin died after running at soldiers on patrol with a knife in an attack near Brussel’s central pedestrian zone.
The case passed from local to federal prosecutors, who typically handle terrorist cases.
A spokeswoman for the prosecution service said they were treating the case as one of attempted terrorist murder. The man was not known for terrorist activities.
Brussels mayor Philip Close said the alert status, already just one off the maximum level, had not been increased.
“Initial indications are … that it is an isolated attack, a single person,” Close told reporters beside a street blocked by police.
-ABC and wires