The police said that about 2:20 p.m., the car “mounted the pavement and collided with a number of pedestrians.”
Of the 11 people who suffered various injuries — mostly leg and head wounds, according to the London Ambulance Service — nine of them were taken to the hospital, including the man arrested, the police said. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.
The Natural History Museum, one of several tourist attractions in the area, including the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert, released a statement on Twitter that said, “There’s been a serious incident outside the museum,” adding that the institution was working with the police.
The museum was sealed off with crime-scene tape and police cars as officers tried to clear hundreds of tourists and families from the scene. A woman with a blood-soaked bandage on one foot was pushed in a wheelchair to an intersection.
Large crowds of tourists, including student groups, their plans for museum visits interrupted, milled around on the sidewalk, trying to find out what had happened.
As a helicopter hovered overhead, a police officer shouted: “All the museums are closed. Please clear the area.”
The Metropolitan Police later tweeted: “The incident in #ExhibitionRoad #SouthKensington earlier is not being treated as a terror-related incident. It is a road traffic collision.”
The London area has been hit with five attacks in the past six months, and the terror threat level is set at “severe,” indicating that officials believe an attack is highly likely.
The last one was an assault with an explosive device on a train at the Parsons Green subway station that injured at least 30.
In March, five people were killed and at least 40 more injured when a knife-wielding assailant in a sport utility vehicle ran over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. He then got out and stabbed a police officer outside the Parliament building.
On June 3, three men carrying knives and wearing fake suicide bomb vests rammed their van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed several people in the nearby Borough Market, killing eight.
Two weeks later, a van driver plowed into a crowd of Muslims as they finished prayers at the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, leaving one dead.
In addition, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 59 others when he blew himself up near one of the exits of the Manchester Arena at the end of a concert in May by the American pop singer Ariana Grande.
In a tweet on Saturday, Prime Minister Theresa May thanked the “first responders” and “the actions of members of the public.” She added, “My thoughts are with the injured.”
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