By SECURITY CORRESPONDENT
Attackers targeted the heart of London on Saturday night, with a white van plowing into screaming pedestrians on London Bridge, followed by stabbings in bars around Borough Market.
Police officers pursued and shot dead three attackers within eight minutes of the first emergency call, authorities said.
At least seven people were killed and 48 others injured, police said. The three attackers were shot dead by police.
According to a statement by Metropolitan police assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Mark Rowley, the attack began late Saturday night, when a white van stuck pedestrians on London Bridge.
The suspects 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,” said Rowley. The officer received serious but not life-threatening injuries.
“Armed officers responded very quickly and bravely, confronting three male suspects who were shot and killed in Borough Market,” said Rowley. “The suspects had been confronted and shot by the police within eight minutes of the first call. The suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes.”
Geoff Ho, a business editor with the Sunday Express, a martial arts expert was stabbed in the throat after intervening to help a bouncer who was wounded in the London Bridge terror attack.
At the time of the incident, Mr Ho was out drinking with friends when decided to break up the fight outside the Southwark Tavern.
Defiant Mr Ho, wrote on Facebook: “Don’t know whether it was stupid or noble to jump in and break up the fight outside the Southwark Tavern, but two a***s trying to do over the lone bouncer on the door isn’t happening on my watch.”
Mr Ho was missing in the aftermath of the atrocity that saw terrorists ram pedestrians using a van on London Bridge before going on a stabbing spree at nearby Borough Market.
He was later found in an intensive care ward in hospital and is now sitting up in his hospital bed but cannot speak.
Eyewitnesses reported panic as the incidents unfolded in the vicinity of a major transport hub and in an area packed with restaurants and bars. The London Ambulance Service said at least 48 people were taken to five hospitals, with many more treated at the scene.
The attacks came days before a general election and two weeks after 22 people were killed when a suicide bomber targeted an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. It was the third terrorist attack to strike the United Kingdom this year, after a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March.
Security personnel on patrol in London. PHOTO/COURTESY
British Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities were dealing with a “terrible incident” and London’s Metropolitan Police Service said incidents at London Bridge and nearby Borough Market were being treated as terrorism. The investigation is now being led by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was “deliberate and cowardly attack” on Londoners enjoying a Saturday night out.
Metropolitan Police statement: Six people have died across two locations, in addition to the three attackers shot dead by police. A reported third incident at Vauxhall, a few miles west, was not connected.
- London Ambulance Service statement: 48 victims have been taken to five hospitals across London. A number of others were treated for less serious injuries at the scene. More than 80 medics have responded to the incident, including ambulance crews, advanced paramedics, specialist response teams and an advanced trauma team from London’s air ambulance.
- Vehicle attack on London Bridge: Eyewitnesses said a van drove at speed across London Bridge from the north side, knocking over several pedestrians. London’s Metropolitan Police said they first responded to the bridge at 10:08 p.m. (5:08 p.m. ET).
- Stabbings at Borough Market: A man with a knife entered two restaurants at nearby Borough Market, just south of the bridge, stabbing two people in one restaurant and one person in the other, other eyewitnesses told CNN.
British Prime Minister Theresa May returns to Downing Street: In a statement, she said a “terrible incident” in London was being treated as “potential act of terrorism.” She planned to chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency committee Sunday.
- US President Donald Trump reacts: The President was briefed by the national security team, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said. Trump tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”
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