Terror strikes London again

Terror strikes London again

Attackers drive van into pedestrians, stab others; 7 killed

Terror strikes London again

Three attackers drove a hired van into pedestrians on the London Bridge and stabbed others nearby, killing seven people and injuring 48 on Saturday night.

The attack occurred five days before a parliamentary election and was the third to hit Britain in less than three months. British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a stronger response to Islamist extremism. May said the vote would go ahead as planned on Thursday.

On Saturday night, police shot dead the three assailants in the Borough Market area near London Bridge within eight minutes of receiving the first emergency call, shortly after 10 pm (2.30 am on Sunday, IST).

London Bridge is a major transport hub and the nearby Borough Market is a fashionable warren of alleyways leavened with bars and restaurants that is always bustling on a Saturday night.

Mark Rowley, head of counter-terrorism police, said eight officers had fired about 50 bullets to stop the attackers, who appeared to be suicide bombers because they were wearing what turned out to be fake suicide vests.

Eyewitnesses described harrowing scenes as the attackers’ white van veered on and off the bridge sidewalk, hitting people along the way, and the three men then ran into an area packed with bars and restaurants, stabbing people indiscriminately.

London’s Metropolitan police arrested 12 people in the Barking district of east London in connection with the attack and searches were continuing there, the police said.

A Canadian national was among those killed, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. French and Australian authorities said nationals from their countries were among those injured.

Less than two weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England. In March, in an attack similar to Saturday’s, five people died after a man drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in central London and stabbed a policeman.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Islamic State, losing territory in Syria and Iraq to an advance backed by a US-led coalition, had sent out a call on instant messaging service Telegram early on Saturday urging its followers to carry out attacks with trucks, knives and guns against “crusaders” during the Muslim holy month of Ramzan. Islamist militants have carried out scores of deadly attacks in Europe, West Asia, Africa, Asia and the US over the past two years.

“It is time to say enough is enough,” Theresa May said in a televised statement outside her Downing Street office, where flags flew at half-mast.

“We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are,” May said, calling for a beefed-up counter-terrorism strategy.

“We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face as terrorism breeds terrorism,” May said.

“Perpetrators are inspired to attack not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots... and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack,” she said.

*Police fire 50 bullets, kill attackers 
*12 people held in police raids in east London
*PM May says attack carried out by Islamist militants 
*May says ‘It is time to say enough is enough’ in televised statement
*National election to go ahead on Thursday
*Third deadly militant attack in less than three months

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