London Bridge attack: What you need to know
- Unidentified male shot dead by police.
- 2 victims fatally stabbed, 3 others hospitalized.
- Video appears to show knife being taken from suspect.
- Police treating incident as terrorist attack.
A man wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people Friday, two fatally, in what police are treating as a terrorist attack.
London Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the incident started at Fishmongers’ Hall near London Bridge and lasted a few minutes. Police were called just before 2 p.m. local time.
Dick said three other victims were hospitalized. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear.
The suspect was tackled by members of the public and then fatally shot by officers at London Bridge, police and the city’s mayor said.
Neither the suspect nor the victims have been identified.
Dick said there was no immediate information indicating that the suspect had accomplices or help plotting the attack, but that police were pursuing all leads.
Earlier, Neil Basu, assistant commissioner with the Met Police, said the suspect died at the scene and that it was believed he was wearing a “hoax explosive device.”
Basu confirmed police have declared the attack a terrorist incident but said, “I must stress, we retain an open mind as to any motive.”
“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everybody who’s been involved in this and is anxiously waiting information on their loved ones,” said Basu.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Interior Minister Priti Patel and London Mayor Sadiq Khan all expressed concern and said they were being updated on developments.
“We must — and we will — stay resolute in our determination to stand strong and united in the face of terror,” said Khan, who thanked emergency responders. “Those who seek to attack us and divide us will never succeed.
Khan praised the “breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger not knowing what confronted them.”
“They are the best of us,” Khan said.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called the events “shocking,” with the party announcing it would suspend election campaign activities.
The Conservatives said it was unlikely that campaign events scheduled Saturday ahead of the Dec. 12 election would take place, according to a report from ITV.
Johnson called it an “appalling incident” and was convening an emergency cabinet meeting on Friday night.
‘2 loud pops’
Witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be fighting on the bridge and hearing several gunshots.
One video posted on social media showed two men struggling on the bridge before police pulled a man in civilian clothes off a black-clad man on the ground. Shots then rang out.
Other images showed police, guns drawn, pointing at a figure on the ground in the distance.
Amanda Hunter said she was on a bus crossing the bridge when she heard shots.
“[The bus] all of a sudden stopped and there was commotion, and I looked out the window and I just saw these three police officers going over to a man,” she told the BBC.
“It seemed like there was something in his hand, I’m not 100 per cent sure, but then one of the police officers shot him.”
Karen Bosch, who was also on a bus, said she saw police “wrestling with one tall, bearded man” and then heard “gunshots, two loud pops.”
She said the man “pulled his coat back which showed that he had some sort of vest underneath, whether it’s a stab vest, or some sort of explosive vest, the police then really quickly moved backwards, away.”
Police could be seen ushering people away from the northern end of the bridge, which links the city’s business district with the south bank of the River Thames.
Cars and buses on the busy bridge were at a standstill, with a white truck stopped diagonally across the lanes.
London Bridge station, one of the city’s busiest rail hubs, was closed for several hours before police announced around 6:30 p.m. local time it had been re-opened.
Dick said there would be cordons around the bridge “for some time.”
London Bridge was the scene of a June 2017 attack when ISIS-inspired attackers ran down people on the bridge, killing two, before stabbing several people to death in nearby Borough Market.
In March 2017, an attacker fatally struck four people with a car on nearby Westminster Bridge and then fatally stabbed a police officer before security forces shot and killed him in a courtyard outside Parliament.
Security officials earlier this month downgraded Britain’s terrorism threat level from “severe” to “substantial,” which means an attack is seen as “likely” rather than “highly likely.” The assessment was made by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, an independent expert body that evaluates intelligence, terrorist capability and intentions.
The U.K.’s terror threat was last listed as “substantial” in August 2014; since then it has held steady at “severe,” briefly rising to “critical” in May and September 2017.
Khan said he expected the threat level to be reviewed, as it regularly is, but wouldn’t speculate as to whether there would be a change in status.