The News – Seven killed as terrorists hit London again

Fifty hurt; assailants crush people with hired van, stab revellers; British PM says terrorists use evil ideology; Pakistan strongly condemns attack

London, 5 June 2017. The United Kingdom’s capital once again came under terrorist attack on Sunday as three men riding a hired van and wearing fake suicide vests went on a rampage and rammed the passersby around London Bridge and then attacked the people with knives, killing seven and injuring at least 50 of them.

The assailants were wearing fake suicide vests in a bid to increase the sense of panic as they lunged seemingly at random at the crowd gathered around the London Bridge and Borough Market, which is full of restaurants and bars.

An eyewitness, Gerard Vowls, 47, said he saw a woman repeatedly stabbed, and threw chairs, glasses and bottles at the attackers in a bid to stop them. “They kept coming to try to stab me… they were stabbing everyone. Evil, evil people,” he told The Guardian newspaper.

Holly Jones, a BBC reporter, saw a white van speeding into crowds of people walking along the pavement on London Bridge, saying it hit about five or six people. Another witness called Eric told the BBC, he had seen three men getting out and thought they were going to help.

Instead, they “started kicking them, punching them and took out knives. It was a rampage really,” he said, adding that he heard a shout of: “This is for Allah”. An Australian and four French nationals were among those hospitalised, their governments said, while a Spaniard was slightly wounded.

Several people said they were ordered by the police to stay inside pubs and restaurants as the terror raged outside. Alex Shellum at the Mudlark pub said a woman had come into the bar “bleeding heavily from the neck”, telling the BBC: “It appeared that her throat had been cut”.

Italian photographer Gabriele Sciotto, who was watching the football at the Wheatsheaf pub in Borough Market, said he saw three men shot just outside the pub. In a picture he took, a man wearing combat trousers, with a shaved head and what looked like a belt with canisters attached to it could be seen on the ground with two more bodies behind him.

“In two or five seconds, they shot all the three men down,” Sciotto told the BBC.

Britain’s counter-terrorism police chief said that eight police officers fired an unprecedented number of bullets to stop three attackers in London who appeared to be suicide bombers wearing explosive vests, “Eight police firearms officers discharged their weapons.

Our initial assessment is in the region of 50 rounds, in the region of 50 bullets were fired by those eight officers. The three attackers were shot dead,” Mark Rowley said.

A member of the public received non-critical gunshot wounds during the incident. Rowley said police were making significant progress in identifying the three attackers, but gave no details.

British Prime Minister Theresa May blamed “evil” ideology for an attack by knife-wielding men who mowed down and stabbed revelers in London, killing seven, as police said they had arrested 12 suspects.

Saturday night´s rampage at the popular nightlife hub around London Bridge, by three men arriving in a van and wearing fake suicide vests, was the third deadly terror attack in Britain in three months and came only days before snap elections.

National campaigning for Thursday´s general election was suspended for the day out of respect for the victims, who included 48 people treated in hospital, some of them in life-threatening conditions.

No details have been released about the suspects, who were shot dead within minutes by police, and detectives are still investigating whether they acted alone. The 12 arrests were made in the ethnically diverse east London suburb of Barking, with Sky News reporting that a property raided by police belonged to one of the killers.

May said the attack was driven by the same “evil ideology of Islamist extremism” behind last week´s Manchester suicide bombing that left 22 people dead, and the Westminster attack in March, which killed five.

“The recent attacks are not connected but we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face,” she said after chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee. She warned that perpetrators are inspired to attack “by copying one another”.

Britain was already on high alert following the attack on a concert by US pop star Ariana Grande in Manchester, northwest England, in which seven children were among the dead.

Grande, who will headline a benefit concert in Manchester later Sunday alongside stars including Pharrell Williams and Justin Bieber, tweeted that she was “Praying for London.”

May also warned there was “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country”, promising to review counter-terrorism efforts, including possibly increasing the jail terms handed out in terror cases.

The ruling Conservatives and the main opposition Labour party suspended national campaign events for the day, although local campaigning will continue.

“But violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the general election will go ahead as planned on Thursday,” the prime minister said.

US President Donald Trump offered his help, tweeting “We are with you. God bless !” and highlighting his thwarted ban on travelers from six mainly Muslim countries.

Reuters adds: Prime Minister May said, “It is time to say enough is enough.” The Conservative leader said in a televised statement outside her Downing Street office, where flags a 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 that could include longer jail sentences for some offences and new cyberspace regulations.

APP adds: Pakistan on Sunday strongly condemned a terrorist attack in United Kingdom, which resulted in killing of seven people and injuries to dozen others.

These terrorist attacks are against human values and deserve utmost condemnation in every possible way, said a Foreign Office statement. It said, “The government and the people of the Islamic Republic Pakistan express their heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to the government and the people of United Kingdom.

Our thoughts are with the victims of the attacks, we pray for the speedy recovery of the injured and we stand in solidarity with them in their hour of grief”, it added. It said, “Terrorism is a global menace and as a common challenge that it needs to be tackled with collective effort and cooperation”.


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