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Man arrested near UK parliament for preparing terror attack

British police detain a man near the Houses of Parliament in central London. Photograph: (AFP)

WION London, United Kingdom Apr 27, 2017, 02.54 PM (IST)

A man has been arrested near the UK parliament after being suspected of preparing terror acts, Britain's metropolitan police said.

The police have locked down Westminster street. Metropolitan police said the man was arrested for possession of weapons near the house of Parliament in central London. Police said the incident is being investigated as "terrorism".

"Detectives are investigating the incident," metropolitan police said.

Police said the man was in his late twenties and was detained on a major street between the parliament and the residence of prime minister Theresa May, on suspicion of committing or instigating acts of terrorism and possession of an offensive weapon.

London's police force said they knew of no immediate further threat as a result of the arrest, and said counter-terrorism officers were continuing their investigation.

 

A man is led away by police in Westminster after an arrest was made on Whitehall in central London. (Reuters)

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Meanwhile, the Scottish parliament said that 3 suspicious packages were sent to political offices between April 25 and 26.

The packages were sent to an elected official, a political party headquarters, and a local council building. Police were investigating and further advice has been issued to elected representatives across Scotland, the assembly said.

An AFP photographer saw firearms officers surrounding the man, who was dressed in dark clothing, and pinning him to the ground at a pedestrian island.

The bearded man, with close-cropped hair, was seen being detained closed to a telephone booth used by countless tourists posing for photographs with the Houses of Parliament in the background.

David Wisniowski, who was working on a building site right next to the incident, told AFP he could see "three knives on the floor, one big one and two small".

Gabrielle Hennessy, 20, a US tourist, described seeing police rush at a man.

"We were walking along Parliament Square and we saw police rush at him. And then he was on the ground surrounded by police. They stood him up and that's when I saw the knife on the ground," she told AFP.

Police taped off the area in question.

An officer in forensic overalls could be seen photographing and picking up the knives, and looking inside a bag on the ground.

The incident happened close to Prime Minister Theresa May's Downing Street office. 

May was outside London on a general election campaign visit at the time, a spokeswoman said. 

"This is an ongoing police operation and we are monitoring it," she said. 

"The prime minister has been informed by officials and she will be updated, as usual for incidents like this."

(WION with agency inputs)

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