Sunday, June 4, 2017 8:43 am
At least, six people have been killed and almost 50 people were injured in a “rampage” in central London.
A white van ploughed into a crowd of people on the bridge at speed shortly after 10pm. Then three men then stabbed people with 12-inch knives at nearby Borough Market, with a transport police officer among those injured.to hit the UK in less than three months.
Three attackers were shot dead by police in the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. Police said they believed there were no more than three attackers.
The London Ambulance Service said 48 people had been taken to five hospitals across the capital and a number of other people were treated at the scene.
The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks “terrorist incidents.” As dawn broke over the capital, a large area on the south bank of the River Thames remained cordoned off and police told people to avoid the area, leaving tourists and revellers struggling to get home.
Bursts of gunfire echoed through the streets – likely from armed police – and at least three blasts rang out as police performed controlled explosions.
One picture from the Borough Market area showed a man lying on the ground with canisters apparently strapped to him.
Police later said the men were wearing hoax suicide vests. Holly Jones, a BBC reporter at London Bridge when the first incident happened, said a van had swerved off the road into a crowd of pedestrians.
“A white van driver came speeding – probably about 50mph – veered of the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement,” she told BBC News.
People were thrown 20 feet into the air. One person reportedly jumped into the river to evade the attackers. Within minutes there were reports of a second incident at Borough Market on the south bank of the Thames.
One cab driver said three men ran towards the market stabbing people – including a young girl – as they ran. An eyewitness on London Bridge, told the BBC he saw three men stabbing people indiscriminately, shouting “this is for Allah” in a “rampage”.
Police entered bars and restaurants in the Southwark area around 11pm and told customers to get down on the floor amid reports that the incident was still ongoing.
People outdoors were told by yelling police officers to run from the area as the atmosphere turned to one of “hysteria”. Shortly before midnight police said they were attending a third incident in the Vauxhall area, but later said it was not connected. We are aware of reports on social media.
We will release facts when we can – our info must be accurate Prime Minister Theresa May, who was understood to be at her Maidenhead constituency when she was alerted to the news, will chair a Cobra meeting first thing on Sunday morning.
In a statement, the Met Police’s Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: ‘Since late yesterday evening [Saturday, 3 June], the Metropolitan Police Service has been responding to incidents in the London Bridge and Borough Market areas of south London. We are treating this as a terrorist incident and a full investigation is already underway, led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
‘You will understand that our knowledge of the incident is still growing but what we understand at the present time is:
‘At 22:08hrs yesterday evening we began to receive reports that a vehicle had struck pedestrians on London Bridge.
‘The vehicle continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market.
‘The suspects then left the vehicle and a number of people were stabbed, including an on-duty British Transport Police officer who was responding to the incident at London Bridge. He received serious but not life-threatening injuries. His family has been informed.
‘Armed officers responded very quickly and bravely, confronting three male suspects who were shot and killed in Borough Market. The suspects had been confronted and shot by the police within eight minutes of the first call. The suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes.
‘The ongoing operation is led by the Met, working closely with British Transport Police, City of London Police, the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade.
‘At this stage, we believe that six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot dead by police. And at least 20 casualties have been taken to six hospitals across London.
‘I’d like to repeat our request for the public to avoid the following areas: London Bridge and Borough Market. This is to allow emergency services to deal with this incident.
‘The investigation is being led by the Counter Terrorism Command and we would ask anybody who has images or film of the incident to pass those to police by uploading it at http://www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk.
‘Our thoughts are with all those involved and those responding to both incidents. Those who are concerned about a loved one can contact the Casualty Bureau on 0800 0961 233.
‘We are reviewing and planning to strengthen our policing stance across London over the forthcoming days, and there will be additional police and officers deployed across the Capital.
‘I would like to ask the public to remain vigilant and let us know if they see anything suspicious that causes them concern and dial 999 immediately.’
The attack comes less than a fortnight after the Manchester suicide bombing and just three months after a terrorist ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before stabbing a policeman to death at Parliament.
US President Donald Trump offered assistance to Britain via Twitter. “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there – we are with you. God bless!”.
As a new day begins in the capital, large parts of the London Bridge area remain cordoned as police specialists collect evidence.
The London Ambulance Service has issued an update, saying 48 people have been taken to hospital after the attack. It said a number of people were also treated at the scene of the attack.