7 killed, 48 injured as terror strikes London; attackers shot dead within minutes

Terrorism struck at the heart of London after a vehicle veered off the road and mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and gunshots rang out amid reports of knife attacks in Borough Market.

Published: 04th June 2017 04:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th June 2017 06:39 PM   |  A+A-

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 . (AP)

By Express News Service

LONDON: Seven people were killed and 48 injured when three knife-wielding attackers rammed a van into a crowd of pedestrians on the London Bridge and stabbed revelers in a nearby market on Saturday night, just days ahead of the June 8 general election in the UK. 
Reportedly, a white van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on the busy London Bridge at around 10 pm local time. The three men then fled the van wielding large knives and attacked people indiscriminately at bars and restaurants in the nearby Borough Market. The attackers shouted, "This is for Allah", witnesses claimed.
Armed police rushed to the scene, and within eight minutes, shot dead the attackers. Several gunshots were heard in the area. Hundreds of people were sent into a panic as they were advised by police to run, tell, hide -- the standard Met Police anti-terror advice.
The injured were taken to a hospital, the Metropolitan police said.
The British Transport Police said one of its officers was seriously injured and hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed while responding to the incident.
"We are treating this as a terrorist incident and a full investigation is already underway, led by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said Mark Rowley, Met Police assistant  commissioner, and the UK’s anti-terrorism lead.
He urged the people with information and images to contact the police. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The area that came under attack last night is one of the most popular weekend hangout areas in  London with bars, restaurants, and clubs.
The area has been cordoned off for investigation.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is planning to deploy additional police officers in London in the forthcoming days to strengthen the overall policing of the city.
Prime Minister Theresa May described the incidents as "dreadful events" and chaired a meeting of the government's crisis response committee, on Sunday. She said in a statement: "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.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan called it "a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners".
"We will never let the terrorists win or cower our citizens," he said.
The Indian High Commission in London has set up a Public Response Unit for any Indians caught up in the attack.
The latest terror attack--third to hit the UK this year--comes less than two weeks after a suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, targeted a Manchester concert on May 22, killing 22 people.
The Manchester attack stopped the election campaigning for three days as troops were deployed to the streets and the UK’s terror threat level was raised to "critical", meaning an attack was "imminent".
Britain's terror threat was subsequently lowered back to "severe", which meant that an attack was highly likely.
It is the third terrorist attack in the UK this year. In March Khalid Masood, an attacker, rammed a car into pedestrians near the UK Parliament, killing five people, including a police officer before being shot dead. The incident is being investigated byMet Police’s Counter Terrorism Command with the help of other agencies.
(With inputs from PTI)

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