Britain: Vehicle and knife attack at London Bridge; May to hold emergency meetworld Updated: Jun 04, 2017 07:46 IST
Armed Police officers stand guard on London Bridge in central London, Saturday, June 3, 2017. British police said they were dealing with "incidents" on London Bridge and nearby Borough Market in the heart of the British capital Saturday, as witnesses reported a vehicle veering off the road and hitting several pedestrians.(AP)
Election-bound Britain was hit by a terror a third time in three months when a van mowed down pedestrians on the iconic London Bridge and its three occupants later went on a stabbing spree on Saturday night in the central London area teeming with people enjoying a weekend night out. (LIVE UPDATES)
At least one person was reported killed and several injured as Scotland Yard used firearms to deal with the situation that was developing over two hours after 2210 GMT when first reports came in. Scotland Yard declared London Bridge and nearby Borough Market as sites of terror incidents.
The Sun newspaper said up to seven people were feared dead and that two attackers were shot dead near London Bridge, news agency Reuters reported.
Returning to Downing Street after a day of campaigning, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday morning a meeting of the government’s emergency committee (called ‘Cobra’) would be held later in the day.
The London Bridge incident reminded many of the March 22 terror attack on Westminster Bridge, when Khalid Masood drove into pedestrians before attacking a police officer in the parliament complex. Five people were killed in the attack.
On May 22, Salman Abedi triggered a bomb in the Manchester Arena where thousands of children, teenagers and others had gathered for a concert by American pop singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people and scores injured.
The threat from international terrorism was raised to “critical” after the recent Manchester suicide bombing, but was soon lowered to “severe”.
The London Ambulance Service said “multiple resources” attended the incident at London Bridge, which was closed from both directions. There was much panic and confusion as bars and restaurants packed with customers were told to evacuate.
Downing Street said: “The prime minister is in contact with officials and is being regularly updated on the incident at London Bridge.”
Eyewitness Will Orton, who was in a pub, told the BBC: “Lots of people came running inside, we didn’t really know what was going on. We thought maybe there was a fight or something outside. And then there were almost hundreds of people coming inside.”
“The bouncers did a really good job, they shut the doors and locked everyone in. There was panic - it seemed like it was literally outside the door. People were coming inside and saying they had witnessed people being stabbed. It seemed like it was happening immediately outside the entrance.”
An eyewitness taxi driver told LBC radio said: “A van came from London Bridge itself, went between the traffic light system and rammed it towards the steps. It knocked loads of people down. Then three men got out with long blades, 12 inches long and went randomly along Borough High Street stabbing people at random.”