Six people were killed and almost 50 people injured in a “rampage” in central London, the third terrorist attack to hit the UK in less than three months.
Three attackers were shot dead by police in the attack on London Bridge and Borough Market. Police said they believed there were no more than three attackers.
A white transit van ploughed into a crowd of people on the bridge at speed shortly after 10pm. The three men then stabbed people with 12-inch knives at nearby Borough Market, with a transport po
As the incident was underway, the London Metropolitan police issued an alert through social media channels, warning people in the area to run away from any threat, rather than surrender or attempt to negotiate. If that wasn’t possible, they should instead hide, turn their phone to silent and barricade themselves in before calling police.
Many people out in London did not get the chance. Others, according to reports, instead took on the attackers head-on in an attempt to rescue victims, fighting back with chairs and pint glasses.
In an information video about the new campaign, assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said the instructions were based on proven advice.
“Everyone’s aware of the terrorism challenges across the world,” he said. “It can never cater for every possible eventuality and, if someone acts on instinct and perhaps decides to fight because they have no choice, we would never criticise them for that.”
The London Ambulance Service said 48 people had been taken to five hospitals across the capital and a number of other people were treated at the scene. The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks “terrorist incidents.”
As dawn broke over the capital, a large area on the south bank of the River Thames remained cordoned off and police told people to avoid the area, leaving tourists and revellers struggling to get home.
Bursts of gunfire echoed through the streets – likely from armed police – and at least three blasts rang out as police performed controlled explosions.
One picture from the Borough Market area showed a man lying on the ground with canisters apparently strapped to him. Police later said the men were wearing hoax suicide vests.
Holly Jones, a BBC reporter at London Bridge when the first incident happened, said a van had swerved off the road into a crowd of pedestrians.
“A white van driver came speeding – probably about 50mph – veered of the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement,” she told BBC News. People were thrown 20 feet into the air. One person reportedly jumped into the river to evade the attackers.
Within minutes there were reports of a second incident at Borough Market on the south bank of the Thames. One cab driver said three men ran towards the market stabbing people – including a young girl – as they ran.
An eyewitness on London Bridge, told the BBC he saw three men stabbing people indiscriminately, shouting “this is for Allah” in a “rampage”.