Terror Attack on London Bridge
The UK has been hit with its third terrorist attack in three months.
Following a suicide bomber attacking people coming out from an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May and an Islamist extremist attacking people and police outside Parliament in March, another attack took place in the British capital on Saturday night (June 3) that killed seven people and injured almost 50. This is what we know so far.
How did the attack unfold?
The police were called at 10.08pm local time and told a vehicle had plowed into pedestrians on London Bridge. The van continued to drive south from London Bridge to Borough Market. Witnesses reported seeing the van driving at around 50mph, when it hit five to six people. Three attackers then left the vehicle and stabbed a number of people, including several police officers.
The police shot the three suspects within eight minutes of receiving the first emergency call.
They police have yet to release the identities of the attackers. The attackers were wearing what initially looked like explosive vests, but these were later found to be fake. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The London Bridge incident is reminiscent of the attack at Westminster and the terrorist incidents in Stockholm in April and in Nice, France last year, where attackers used vehicle ramming to cause carnage and panic. Other places where this form of low-tech terror has been used include Ohio State University and central Berlin.
Of the 48 injured people in hospital, 21 are in critical condition.
The BBC reported that the police know the identities of the three attackers but are not releasing the information yet.
How did the UK government respond?
Police have made 21 arrests in Barking, in the east of the city, as they seek to find out everything they can about who pulled this off.
And prime minister Theresa May’s response to the London attack was noticeably tougher than after Manchester. May has said “time to say enough is enough,” adding “there is far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.” While the prime minister made no mention of Islamic extremism in the immediate aftermath of the Manchester attack, she described the ideology “a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.”
Will this affect the British election?
The London attack comes a few days ahead the general election on June 8. All major political parties, including the Conservatives and Labour, have agreed to suspend national campaigning until Monday, June 5. (Campaigning was also suspended for three days after the attack in Manchester.)
UKIP, the political party that was instrumental in the campaign for Brexit, have refused to suspend the campaign, saying it would play into the terrorist hand.
The prime minister confirmed the election will go ahead as planned this coming week.
What did Trump say?
World leaders were quick to condemn the attack and send condolences as details of the attack emerged. French president Emmanuel Macron said France, which had four citizens injured in the attack, was “more than ever at Britain’s side.”