London has been hit by a major terror attack, with seven people killed in a vehicle ramming and stabbing rampage in which the terrorists reportedly yelled “this is for Allah”.
Three attackers – who have since been shot dead – drove a white van into pedestrians walking across London Bridge, a major river crossing in the centre of the city.
After the vehicle had stopped, they jumped out and started stabbing people. As well as the seven deaths, at least 48 more people were injured, including a police officer.
Beginning at the southern side of London Bridge, they made their way into the nearby Borough Market, a popular tourist spot full of restaurants and bars.
The men were wearing what appeared to be suicide vests, though they later turned out to be fakes.
They were shot dead outside a pub inside the market by armed police officers. The entire attack is estimated to have lasted about eight minutes.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) June 4, 2017
A witness to the attacks, who gave his name as Gerard, gave an account of the stabbings to BBC News:
They were running up shouting, ‘This is for Allah.’ They stabbed this girl maybe 10 times, 15 times. She was going, ‘Help me, help me.’
He said he tried to stop the attackers by throwing chairs and bottles at them, but was unsuccessful.
It is not clear whether the seven victims were killed in the stabbing or the hit-and-run portion of the attack.
The attack took place close to Heat Street‘s UK office. As of Sunday morning, the entire area is in lock-down while police investigate.
There were initial reports of a second, simultaneous incident in Vauxhall, another district of London about two miles from Borough Market. Police later said this was an unrelated stabbing.
The attack on London is the UK’s second major terror attack in less than two weeks, following the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed 22 people.
It is the third UK attack in three months, following another attack on nearby Westminster Bridge, in which a single jihadist also used a vehicle ram/knife attack to kill five people and injure 49 more before he himself was shot dead.
Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, activated the UK’s emergency COBRA committee to oversee the response to the attack.
All major parties agreed to suspend campaigning ahead of the country’s general election, which takes place this Thursday.
President Donald Trump pledged his support for the UK as the attacks were unfolded.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”
The attack came as the UK was still agonizing over its approach to preventing terror attacks in the wake of the Manchester bombing.
The security services are understood to be monitoring 23,000 potential suspects in the UK. Police are operating 500 simultaneous terror-linked investigations.
Home-grown, trained jihadists who joined ISIS in Syria – but have returned to Britain ahead of the group’s likely military defeat – are thought to pose the greatest threat.