Saturday, June 3, 2017, British Metropolitan police responded to what they are now saying are acts of terrorism on the London Bridge and at a nearby market.
According to eyewitnesses and police, three men drove a van directly into a crowd at a bus stop, injuring more than five people. The men got out of the vehicle and began stabbing multiple people on the bridge and at Borough Market, near the legendary London Bridge. Customers and staff in the restaurant huddled in the basement, until the police arrived. No information was available on the condition of the people who were stabbed until Sunday afternoon.
At 11:44 p.m., police tweeted they were responding to another incident in South Thames, approximately 2.5 miles from the bridge. According to police the two terrorist attacks, at the market and on the bridge, were not connected to the incident in Vauxhall, London. Prime Minister Theresa May released a statement saying the first two incidents are being treated as potential terrorist acts.
According to the British Press Association, May said she will arrange a meeting with her top security advisers, the Government’s Cobra, on Sunday.
After being briefed on the London attacks, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted:
The United States will do everything possible to help out the U.K. and London.” Trump added, “WE ARE WITH YOU, GOD BLESS!
Eyewitness Mark Roberts, said the van struck six people, and one of them flew more than 15 feet into the air. Roberts said he was so frightened he did not know which way to run. The van crashed into the bus stop across from where he stood.
The Borough Market, where the stabbings took place, is a popular place with several restaurants, gourmet food, and produce stalls. Another witness reported seeing a large crowd running toward Elliots Cafe, in his direction. Someone asked what was going on, and another screamed: “There is a man with a knife coming this way!” A few people were certain there was more than one man, before it was confirmed there were three attackers.
Witnesses reported a man with a knife ran into the cafe and stabbed a waitress in her neck, who was behind a partisan. Before he ran out he stabbed a man in his back, according to another waitress.
Late Saturday night, MSNBC confirmed from a tweet by a London ambulance service, 20 were injured and rushed to six nearby hospitals. The area was evacuated. London Bridge remained closed along with the Borough subway stations, while police were actively looking for suspects. No one claimed responsibility for the two terrorist attacks, until late Sunday.
Sunday morning it was confirmed that there were seven fatalities, however, police originally reported multiple people killed in a bloody rampage. The suspects left a trail of bloodied bodies in their path.
As a precaution, everyone was asked to stay away from the area. If anyone needed assistance to get word to their friends and family that they were safe, Facebook activated its “Safety Check” feature to help.
These terrorist attacks occurred as people were on their way home and sent everyone along the London Bridge into a panic. The Washington Post reported multiple suspects were in a pub with knives slashing patrons, but people fought back throwing bottles, glasses, and chairs at the perpetrators chasing them out of the bar. At 3:00 a.m., it was not known if the suspects were apprehended by police.
On Sunday, June 4, police confirmed the suspects wore vests that appeared to be equipped with explosives. Officials say a similar MO was used in the May 22 attack, after the Arianna Grande concert. May issued a statement on Sunday, saying she is committed to putting a stop to Islamic extremists. The Prime Minister also said there has been too much tolerance for radicals.
Although London’s officials have not publicly identified any of the victims, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau issued a statement saying a Canadian was one of the casualties. Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Foreign Minister confirmed a fellow Frenchman was one of the fatalities.
According to Mark Rowley, London’s Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, although they still do not know the identities of the three men who perpetrated the attacks, they are confident they acted alone. Rowley said the police are still investigating if the men had any help planning their attack.
The three men were shot by eight officers, who fired 50 bullets to make sure the terrorists were neutralized. Then, it was discovered the explosives were fake. Police determined the three extremists made themselves look like they had explosive devices wired to them to ensure they would be killed.
Rowley said there were seven fatalities and 48 people injured during the recent London attacks. Four of London’s finest police officers were among the wounded. Out of the four dozen wounded, 21 are in serious condition, including one who was shot by a wayward police bullet but is expected to make a full recovery.
These two incidents are among three terrorist attacks this year in London, and May is beside herself vowing to end the Islamic extremist movement. A dozen people were arrested early Sunday, in the London community of Barking, on suspicions they corroborated with the three men.
Neighbors in the community said they heard loud pops as a man tried to run from police, but he was apprehended.
This high profile, but low tech attack, poses the question: How did Britain’s security officials fail to prevent such a high-casualty raid, after years of defeating such exertions? These latest events will more than likely be a factor in May’s upcoming re-election bid.
Update: Sunday evening, a detachment of ISIS claims its fighters were responsible for the deadly London Bridge incident on Saturday. The official Islamic State Amaq news agency, printed that the terrorist affiliated group posted its message to supporters: During the holy month of Ramadan, they should use guns, knives, and vehicles to kill citizens of the Crusaders. This message is believed to have set off the deadly attack.
By Katherine Miller
Edited by Jeanette Smith
CNN: London Police Report ‘Incident’ on London Bridge
CNN: London Bridge: Van mows down pedestrians; stabbings at nearby cafe, witnesses say.
The Washington Post: Van and knife attack leaves trail of casualties in ‘terrorist incidents’ on London Bridge and in nearby market
NY Times: London Bridge Shut Down After Pedestrians Struck; Stabbings Reported in Nearby Market
Time: What to Know About the London Attacks
CBS: London Bridge terror attacks: Police say 6 people killed, 3 suspects shot dead; live updates
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Davide D’Amico’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License