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Friday, September 20, 2019

Terror attacks strike heart of London; 6 people killed

LONDON (Updated) -- Police specialists are collecting evidence in the heart of London after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed six people and injured more than 30 others on Saturday night, June 3.

Prime Minister Theresa May planned to chair an emergency security Cabinet session Sunday, June 4, to deal with the crisis.

The assault began when a van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on London Bridge. Witnesses say three men fled the van with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market.

More than 30 victims are being treated at London hospitals and a number of others suffered less serious injuries.

The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks "terrorist incidents." Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley says while they believe all the attackers were killed, the investigation continues.

Police said armed officers were also responding to reports of stabbings nearby. The BBC reported that more than one person had been killed.

The Metropolitan Police said they were called just after 10 p.m. (2100GMT) to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on the bridge, which crosses the River Thames in central London.

Soon after, there were reported stabbings at nearby Borough Market, an area full of bars and restaurants.

The force said armed officers were sent to the scenes and shots were fired. They did not say if officers fired the shots.

Police also said they were responding to another incident in the Vauxhall area, over a mile away.

The force tweeted a warning telling people in the area to run to safety, hide and then call police if it is safe to do so.

May said that "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."

She said it was a fast-moving investigation and her thoughts were with "those who are caught up in these dreadful events."

About two hours after the first reports of an incident, television images showed people walking away from the London Bridge area with their hands on their heads. Police tweeted that Londoners should "remain calm but be alert and vigilant."




Nick Brandon of British Transport Police said the force had received reports of "multiple" casualties in an incident possibly involving a knife and a vehicle. He said he did not know how serious the injuries were.

Multiple witnesses reported a vehicle veering off the road and hitting several pedestrians; others also said they saw a man with a knife.

Witnesses reported seeing injured people on the ground on the bridge. One, Holly Jones, told the BBC a white van veered off the road and struck as many as six people. She said she saw at least four or five people on the ground.

Another witness, Will Heaven, said he saw people who appeared to have been hit, and one being put into an ambulance.

"We saw injured people on the road, injured people on the pavement," he told Sky News.

He added that “it did not look like an accident,” saying it was clear that police "thought they were responding to something far more serious than a road traffic accident."

A man, who gave only his first name, Ben, told BBC radio that he "saw a man in red with a large blade about 10 inches long, stabbing a man, about three times" near Borough Market.

Transport for London said busy London Bridge station and two others were closed at the request of police.

The London Ambulance Service says more than 20 people have been injured in the vehicle and knife attack in the London Bridge area.

The service says "we have taken at least 20 patients to six hospitals across London." Several other people were treated at the scene for less serious injuries.

It is urging people only to call an ambulance in an emergency as they treat victims of the attack.




The attack came less than three months after an attacker ran down people with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge, killing four, then stabbed a policeman to death outside Parliament.

On May 22, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. After that attack, Britain's official threat level from terrorism was raised to "critical," meaning an attack may be imminent. Several days later it was lowered to "severe," meaning an attack is highly likely. (AP)

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