WESTMINSTER ATTACK

This section also includes information on the London Bridge attack.

In 2017, two separate attacks were carried out within a few months of each other in Central London. Both of these were carried out by Islamic extremists and had multiple casualties. The first one came in March in Westminster, and the second in June at London Bridge. This section provides details on both of these attacks, however, focuses mainly on the attack in Westminster.

Westminster Attack Message
Westminster Attack Message

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Terrorism Memorial
Terrorism Memorial

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Westminster Attack Map
Westminster Attack Map

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Westminster Attack Message
Westminster Attack Message

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The Westminster attack occurred on the 22nd March 2017 when Khalid Masood drove his car into pedestrians along the pavement on Westminster Bridge, before getting out and stabbing a police officer. He was subsequently shot and killed by an armed police officer and died at the scene. It was later discovered, through reading his final text message, that he had carried out the attack as jihad for revenge against Western military action in Middle Eastern countries.


The attack took place mid-afternoon when Masood’s car mounted the pavement and rammed down pedestrians at around 77 miles per hour. In doing so, he injured over fifty people and killed three. One of these was a Romanian tourist who was thrown off the bridge and into the Thames below. Having driven down the bridge, Masood crashed his car into the railings at the Palace of Westminster. Running out from the vehicle, he entered Parliament Square and here stabbed PC Keith Palmer, killing him. An armed Police Officer on site saw Masood and shot him dead. The entire attack happened remarkably quickly, beginning and ending in 82 seconds.


Masood has been born in the UK by the name of Adrian Russell Elms and attended school in Tunbridge Wells. Having become a heavy cocaine user, he served two terms in jail in 2000 and 2003 and here converted to Islam, changing his name. In 2010 he had been subject to an MI5 investigation regarding a bomb plot; however, it was decided he didn’t pose a threat. At the time he carried out the attack he was 52, which is much older than many jihadi terrorists, who tend to be under the age of 30.

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The London Bridge attack took place in June of 2017, a month after the Manchester Arena bombing that you’ll learn about in the next section. In this attack, three men copied the attack from Westminster Bridge by driving into pedestrians on London Bridge, before exiting their vehicle and attacking people with knives in the area around Borough Market. The attackers were eventually shot dead, but managed to kill eight and injure forty eight people.


This attack, being one of three major terrorist incidents that took place within a few months of each other, generated a backlash against the Islamic community. Leaders in the Islamic community had come out and strongly condemned the attacks. Over 130 Imams refused Islamic burials to the attackers and said they did not represent Islam. This news was not widespread reported by media outlets however.

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UK Terrorism

UK Terrorism

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Image Attribution:
DAVID HOLT from London, England, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
ktanaka, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
OpenStreetMap contributors, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
ChiralJon, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons