Police arrest 12 over London attacks that killed 7, PM May calls for review of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy By: Usman Jabbar
LONDON/ISLAMABAD: At least three assailants stabbed passers-by at random after smashing into pedestrians in a van, killing seven people in a “terror attack” in a popular nightlife hub in the London Bridge area on Saturday night before being shot dead by armed police.
London police chief, Cressida Dick, speaking to the press outside Scotland Yard on Sunday confirmed that “seven members of the public have died.”
Around 48 wounded were taken to five hospitals across the city by the London Ambulance Service (LAS), whereas a number of others have been treated at the scene for minor injuries, the LAS said in a statement after the attack.
France said two of its citizens were injured in the attack, one seriously. The injured also included a police officer who was one of the first responders on the scene and was stabbed in the face and leg.
As they rampaged through the bars around London Bridge, the attackers wore what looked like suicide vests which turned out to be “hoaxes”, said Britain’s top anti-terrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley.
The BBC showed a photograph of two possible London attackers shot by police, one of whom had canisters strapped to his body.
The assault began when a van veered off the road and plowed into pedestrians on the bridge.
Witnesses say three men fled the van with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market.
Armed police rushed to the scene and shot dead the three male attackers in the Borough Market area near the bridge, as authorities urged Londoners on Twitter to “run, hide, tell” if they were caught up in the violence.
“The suspects had been confronted and shot by police within eight minutes of the first call,” Rowley said.
“We believe that six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot dead by police” in what is being treated as a “terrorist incident”, Rowley said, adding that while they believe all the attackers were killed, the investigation continues.
“We believe three people were involved, but we still have got some more inquiries to do to be 100 per cent confident in that,” he said.
The Metropolitan Police force has declared the attacks as “terrorist incidents”, and police specialists have begun collecting evidence.
Hours after the attack the area remained sealed off and patrolled by armed police and counter-terrorism officers.
Streets around London Bridge and Borough Market, fashionable districts packed with bars and restaurants, would have been busy with people on a Saturday night out.
BBC showed dozens of people, evidently caught up in the attack, being escorted through a police cordon with their hands on their heads.
British police arrested 12 people Sunday in connection with the attacks in London that left seven people dead, after raiding several addresses in Barking, a suburb to the east of the capital.
“The investigation into last night´s horrific attack in London is progressing rapidly as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to piece together exactly what occurred,” the force said in a statement.
It added that “a number of addresses” in Barking were still being searched.
Four women wearing Islamic veils over their faces were seen being led away by police by an AFP photographer, although it was not clear whether they were among those arrested.
There were several police vehicles outside a block of flats that had been cordoned off.
Prime Minister Theresa May responded on Sunday to an attack in London which killed seven people, declaring “enough is enough” and calling for a review of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy.
May, who faces a general election Thursday, said the recent attacks are not directly connected but that “terrorism breeds terrorism” and attackers copy one another.
She also said five credible plots have recently been disrupted.
“They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division, and promotes sectarianism,” she said.
“It is an ideology that claims our Western values and freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam,” she warned.