London Bridge attack: what we know so far
White van rams into pedestrians
The attack began at 9:58 (8:58 GMT) on Saturday when a white van approaching from the north side of London Bridge veered off the road and mowed down a group of pedestrians. The van was “recently hired” by one of the attackers, police said. While the police did not confirm the exact number of people struck by the vehicle, media outlets citing eyewitnesses gave a figure of between five and six.
Borough Market stabbing rampage
The van then turned right towards Borough Market, where the three assailants abandoned the vehicle and began stabbing people with large knives. A lone British Transport Police officer confronted the attackers while armed only with a baton. The officer sustained stab wounds to his head, face, and leg.
“Having visited the officer in hospital shortly after he was admitted for treatment, I was able to hear his account of what happened last night,” Chief Constable Paul Crowther said. “It became clear that he showed enormous courage in the face of danger, as did many others who were at the scene and rushed to help.”
Witnesses described horrific scenes of the attackers indiscriminately stabbing random people, including a pregnant woman, and a young woman who was reportedly stabbed 10-15 times while crying for help. A 19-year-old woman called Rhiannon Owen said a taxi driver saved her life by telling her to run, as a terrorist was stabbing a person meters away. Like many of the people fleeing the scene, Owen escaped the carnage in a nearby pub. Not all visitors of Borough Market pubs and restaurants were so lucky, as the terrorists entered some of the establishments and stabbed people there.
Police fire 50 rounds
Armed response officers arrived at the scene eight minutes after the first reports, gunning down the three suspects in Borough Market, according to police. “Unprecedented number” of 50 rounds were fired by eight officers to stop the attackers. One person was injured in the shootout, but police say their life was not in danger.
The use of lethal force was necessary as the suspects “had already attacked and killed members of the public and had to be stopped immediately.” Apart from that, the three assailants were “wearing what appeared to be suicide belts,” and the response officers had to eliminate them in order to prevent a possible blast, the police said. The belts turned out to be crude fakes.
7 dead & 50 injured
Seven people were killed in the attack and more than 50 were injured. The majority of the victims sustained injuries during the knifing rampage.
“36 people remain in hospital, suffering from a range of injuries – some of which are extremely serious. 21 remain in a critical condition,” the police said.
Islamist terrorism suspected
UK Interior Minister Amber Rudd said that the authorities “are confident about the fact that they were radical Islamist terrorists, the way they were inspired, and we need to find out more about where this radicalization came from.”
The three attackers have not yet been officially identified.
“We are making significant progress in identifying the three attackers, and that there were no other suspects at the scene, when the attack was carried out,” the police said in a statement.
Several UK tabloids have run stories alleging that neighbors identified at least one of the attackers, but the stories could not be immediately confirmed.
London tightens security
The area surrounding London Bridge and Borough Market remains cordoned off by the police, as forensic officers continue working at the scene.
“The cordons in and around the London Bridge and Borough Market area will remain in place, and we encourage the public to avoid the area as our investigation is ongoing,” the police said.
London has also tightened security in the aftermath of the attack, and the “public can expect to see additional police – both armed and unarmed officers.”
“The public will also see… increased physical measures in order to keep public safe on London’s bridges,” the police added without specifying the measures.
More than 12 people were arrested in London in Sunday’s raids following the attack. Searches at multiple locations are ongoing.
On Monday, police issued a statement saying a “number of people” were arrested at two properties in east London in counterterrorism raids.