Sunday, June 4, 2017 6:03 am
Six people have been killed and at least 20 injured, many of them stabbed, following a confirmed terrorist attack at two sites in London – London Bridge and Borough Market.
A van drove into pedestrians on the bridge and two separate eyewitnesses – one named Eric, another named Gerard – told the BBC that they saw men stabbing people in both sites, and heard them shouting: “This is for Allah”.
The three attackers, according to telegraph.co.uk, have also been shot and killed – dying within eight minutes of the first call, police said. Police said that they believe there are no more attackers on the run.
Photos on social media, broadcast by the BBC, showed a man on the ground wearing what looked like canisters strapped to his abdomen. But police said that what appeared to be suicide vests were fake.
The SAS has been deployed to central London.
A huge police presence is in the area, on the banks of the Thames.
How did it start?
At 10.08pm police responded to a call about a white van ramming into five or six people on London Bridge.
The van reportedly veered off the road and drove into people on the pavement.
Paramedics were on the scene six minutes later, the London Ambulance Service said.
Police are piecing together eyewitness accounts, and believe that three men got out of the van and started attacking people with knives.
An eyewitness, Eric, told the BBC that he heard shouts of “this is for Allah”.
John Stokes, a bus tour guide, said that he and the driver counted eight people lying on the road.
The three men then ran down to Borough Market.
What happened in Borough Market?
The three men appear to have stabbed people at random in the market.
They rampaged through the area, entering the many pubs and restaurants to stab anyone in sight.
London terror attacks: Eyewitness describe man with knife entering restaurant
Crowds in the bars fought back – hurling pint glasses, bottles and chairs at the attackers.
One woman was stabbed repeatedly, according to a man named Gerard, who was trying to drive the attacker away by hurling chairs at him.
A security guard who works across multiple bars and pubs in Borough Market told the BBC he saw the attackers after receiving a call from a colleague in another bar who said people had been stabbed.
The security guard described people running away screaming from three men. He and his colleagues tried to throw chairs at the attackers, who were going in and out of different bars.
Within eight minutes police were on the scene and opened fire, killing the three attackers.
Photos on social media showed two of the men on the ground. One of them, in front of the Wheatsheaf pub, had what appeared to be canisters strapped to his abdomen.
Police later said that the canisters were fake.
Another eyewitnesses said she saw police and two robots – she speculated that the robots could be there to disarm the canisters.
Loud explosions were heard in the vicinity – the most recent, a fourth, at 1:49am.
The noises are believed to have been controlled explosions, carried out by police.
What do we know about the perpetrators?
Police now believe there were three attackers.
All three are dead – shot by police.
Eyewitnesses said one of the men appeared at first to be alive, but the other was not moving.
We do not yet know any details about their identities.
Police are undoubtedly going to be looking for associates and accomplices, but they do not believe that there are any more attackers on the loose.
What do we know about victims?
Police say at six people have been killed.
It is not clear how many died on London Bridge, when the terrorists’ van ran into people and the men then stabbed anyone nearby, and how many died in Borough Market.
Authorities say 20 people have also been injured; among them a transport police officer, a pub security guard, and a woman whose face and neck were bleeding profusely.
Walking wounded are being treated at the Andaz Hotel, near Liverpool Street.
The London Ambulance Service have confirmed that multiple crews attended both sites – London Bridge, and Borough Market.
Three major London hospitals said that they were on lockdown after the attacks.
“Due to the ongoing incident in central London, Guy’s, St Thomas’ & @EvelinaLondon are on lockdown to keep patients, relatives and staff safe,” the authority that runs the hospitals said on Twitter.
Guy’s Hospital is next to London Bridge rail station, and St Thomas’ Hospital and the Evelina children’s hospital are located a mile away.
On social media, people are beginning to make appeals for loved ones who they are unable to contact.
What are Londoners being told?
The advice given was to keep calm, but make your way home.
The Metropolitan Police issued instructions to “run, hide, tell” – telling Londoners to get out of the area if possible; hide and silence their phones if not; and call 999 if safe to do so.
People are still being told they should avoid the London Bridge and Borough Market area, and only call 999 in an emergency.
Trains are not stopping at nearby stations.
Vauxhall tube station, where there was an earlier, unrelated stabbing, has reopened.
The RNLI and police used boats to help people get out of the area and search for anyone who may have fallen into the Thames.
Where is the prime minister?
Theresa May will chair a Cobra meeting first thing on Sunday morning.
She said: “Following updates from police and security officials, I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism.
“This is a fast moving investigation. I want to express my huge gratitude to the police and emergency services who are on the scene. Our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events.”
It is understood that the Prime Minister was in her Maidenhead constituency when she was alerted to the news.
So-called Cobra meetings are named after Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, where crisis response meetings are held. They usually include the Prime Minister and senior cabinet ministers as well as intelligence and security officials.
Mrs May held two Cobra meetings in one day less than two weeks ago on the day of the Manchester bombing.
Did the police have any warning?
The BBC security correspondent, Frank Gardner, is reporting that the police were not aware of any specific threat.
He says that the attack is being handled by the police, rather than the intelligence services, which means that there was no real warning.