In what police and the prime minister have described as a terror attack, a vehicle mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge Saturday night. Three attackers then disembarked from the vehicle and stabbed a number of people in the nearby Borough Market area reportedly shouting “this is for Allah”. There are seven fatalities confirmed and 48 casualties.
The Metropolitan Police Service confirmed that the three attackers were shot dead.
The Met’s Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley stated that at 22:08hrs Saturday evening the Met began to receive reports that a vehicle had struck pedestrians on London Bridge.
The vehicle continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market, and the attackers 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.
Armed officers confronted three male suspects who were shot and killed in Borough Market within eight minutes of the first call.
Assistant Commissioner Rowley stated that the attackers were wearing “what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes.”
Over 80 medics were dispatched to the scenes and 48 casualties are being treated in five hospitals across London.
BBC Radio 4’s news programme reported that a witness heard the attackers shouting “this is for Allah” as they got out of the van and ran in the direction of Borough Market.
The Met are treating this as a terrorist incident and a full investigation is underway, led by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
Witnesses who spoke to the BBC described the intentional and aggressive nature of the terror attack.
BBC reporter Holly Jones, who was on the bridge at the time of the attack, said the van was “probably travelling at about 50 miles an hour” and hit several people.
An eyewitness, Robbie, described seeing “about 20 or 30 people rushing to get back into the pub and five seconds later a big white van came screeching down the pavement,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
Another eyewitness, Gerard, told the BBC: “They were running up shouting, ‘This is for Allah.’ They stabbed this girl maybe 10 times, 15 times. She was going, ‘Help me, help me.'”
Gerard said he then chased the attackers, who were running into pubs and bars, and threw bottles, chairs, and other items to try to stop them. There have been several reports of Londoners fighting back as the attackers attempted to stab members of the public.
The Conservative Party, Labour Party, and SNP have postponed general election campaigning. Other parties are expected to follow suit.
Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a meeting of the crisis response committee COBRA on Sunday morning.
This is the third terror attack in the UK in three months following the car and knife attack in Westminster in March, which left five people dead, and the Manchester bombing less than two weeks ago, in which 22 people were killed. It is the third car and knife attack in the UK, the first being the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013.