LONDON (AFP): Two police officers were stabbed early Friday in central London and hospitalized after encountering “a male with a knife,” the capital’s police said, amid massive security ahead of the queen’s funeral.
A suspect who was tasered and arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and assaulting an emergency worker is also in hospital following the incident at around 6:00 am (0500 GMT), the Metropolitan Police added.
“Police encountered a male with a knife in the area of Leicester Square,” it said in a statement, referring to a square in the heart of the British capital, less than a mile from where the queen’s coffin is lying in state.
“Two officers received stab wounds and are currently being treated in hospital. We await further updates on their conditions.”
The Met added officers had deployed a taser and the suspect was taken to an unspecified hospital for treatment, “where he remains at this time.”
The force said “enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing,” but the attack was not terror related.
It comes amid a massive security operation in central London as Queen Elizabeth II lies in state in parliament ahead of Monday’s state funeral.
The first to be staged in the UK in nearly six decades, it is set to be attended by leaders and royalty from around the world.
Thousands of police from across the country have been deployed to London, while 1,500 army personnel are on standby to help manage crowds and security, as tens of thousands of people queue to file past the late monarch’s coffin.
It has been lying in state in parliament’s Westminster Hall since late Wednesday, where it will remain until early Monday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the attack on the officers “utterly appalling.”
“These brave officers were doing their duty and assisting the public at this momentous time for our country,” he said, noting police “run toward danger to protect others” and “we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
Khan added he was in close contact with the Met’s new Commissioner Mark Rowley, who only took up the post on Monday.