Five Koreans injured in London attack
One Korean victim, a woman in her 60s, was seriously injured amid the scuffle to flee, as an assailant plowed his car into pedestrians at Westminster, leaving some 40 victims in what is being described as the worst terror attack on British soil since the 2005 London bombings, in which 56 people were killed and 784 injured.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs here confirmed Thursday that the woman received surgery for a serious head injury at a nearby hospital. It said that the four other Korean victims, three women and one man who are in their 50s and 60s, suffered varying lighter injuries, including fractures.
At around 2:40 p.m. on Wednesday, a knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage and crashed his vehicle, a Hyundai Tucson, into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge.
The victims included French students and tourists, some of whom lay sprawled on the pavement while others fell into the River Thames below.
The assailant went on to crash his vehicle into the railings of the Houses of Parliament. Brandishing a knife, he stabbed a police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. The attacker was shot and died at the scene.
Five people were killed, including the assailant and police officer, and some 40 others were injured, according to British police. Police put the Westminster area on lockdown.
A group of some two dozen Korean tourists, mostly in their 50s and 60s, were in the area when the incident happened.
The Korean Embassy in London immediately sent two officials to the two hospitals that these five victims were being treated in to offer necessary support.
The Korean woman, who injured her head after she was knocked over when people tried to flee the deadly driver, received surgery at London’s St Mary’s Hospital and was awaiting results as of Thursday afternoon.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the other four victims have been released from the hospital and will return to Korea Friday.
The Foreign Ministry sent out a warning text message to Koreans visiting the United Kingdom in response to the terror attack.
Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief, said police believed there was only one attacker and that Islamic extremism was suspected in the attack.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack “sick and depraved.”
She added, “The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.”
She then vowed, “We will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
Cho June-hyuck, the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, said in a briefing that Seoul “strongly condemned the barbaric attack against civilians near the Parliament in London” and offered prayers for the deceased, their bereaved families and the British people.
He said the Korean government, in lines with British Prime Minister May’s address, vows to “actively partake in the international solidarity in the fight to eradicate terrorism.”
The latest attack outside of the Houses of Parliament in London is reminiscent of the attack by a failed asylum seeker in Germany who drove a tractor-trailer into a Christmas market in Berlin on Dec. 19, killing 12.
Similarly, another assailant drove a stolen truck through a Bastille Day parade in Nice, France, killing 86 people in July last year.
BY SARAH KIM [email@example.com]