London Bridge terror attacker was known to police and linked to Islamist terror groups

London Bridge terror attacker was known to police and linked to Islamist terror groups

HOW EVENTS UNFOLDED TODAY:

  • London Police were called at 1.58pm to a stabbing at premises near to London Bridge.
  • Witnesses reported seeing a number of men at the location, grappling with another man and hearing shots fired.
  • Police have confirmed that officers shot the suspect dead during the incident
  • The suspect was wearing a hoax suicide vest.
  • Three people, including the suspect, have died while three more have been hospitalised
  • The suspect was known to police and had links to Islamist terror groups.

Latest: 9.59pm The knife attacker shot dead on London Bridge was known to police in England, a security source said.

The attacker had links to Islamist terror groups, the security source added.

Earlier: 8.20pm Met Police have confirmed that two people, as well as the suspect have died as a result of the London Bridge attack this afternoon.

In a press conference outside Scotland Yard, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said two victims had died of their injuries and three others are being treated in hospital.

She added: “I also want to thank the members of the public who have helped, either by showing extraordinary courage by stepping in to tackle this attacker or by following the instructions they have subsequently been given by officers at the scene and in the area.”

Three more people are in hospital following the attack.

NHS England confirmed one of the three people taken to hospital remains in critical condition but is stable.

Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who responded to this incident, both the extraordinarily brave members of the public and our emergency responders.

“As the Met Police have confirmed, sadly two people have died in addition to the suspect. London Ambulance Service treated people at the scene and three were taken to hospital.

“We can confirm that one patient is critical but stable, a second person is in a stable condition and a third person has less serious injuries.

“Our deep sympathies are with the families and all those affected by today’s incident.”

Earlier: 7.49pm British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee Cobra at 9.30pm, a Downing Street spokesman said.

He has also cancelled his General Election campaigning on Saturday following the London Bridge terror attack, the PA news agency understands.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has cancelled a planned campaign event in Yorkshire on Saturday morning, but the party has not confirmed whether all other events are off as well.

A police officer moves an uninvolved person away from a cordon after an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
A police officer moves an uninvolved person away from a cordon after an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Earlier: 6.36pm A terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage in central London reportedly killing two people has been shot dead by police.

The BBC, quoting a Whitehall source, have reported that two of the victims had died.

Speaking in Downing Street, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “To the best of our knowledge the incident has been contained and I pay tribute again to the work of the police and the emergency services and what they have done.

“But I would urge everybody, of course, to be vigilant and one cannot help but think back to what happened in 2017 in the same part of the city and I hope very much that people will be able as fast as possible to go about their normal business.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct watchdog said it has launched an investigation into the police shooting of the London Bridge attacker which is standard for such incidents.

Earlier: 4.26pm

Police have confirmed in a statement that the suspect in the London Bridge incident was shot and died at the scene.

Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, confirmed that they are now treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

“At approximately 2pm today, police were called to a stabbing at a premises near London Bridge.

“Emergency services attended including officers from the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police.

“A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from City of London police and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene.”

Mr Basu said that specialist officers had been deployed after reports that the suspect had an explosive vest, but the device was believed to be a “hoax”.

He added: “Due to reports that the suspect might have had an explosive device specialist officers attended the scene.

“However, I can confirm at this time we believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device.”

London Bridge terror attacker was known to police and linked to Islamist terror groups

Mr Basu said he would give updates to the families of those injured “as soon as we can get that information”.

“A number of other people received injuries during this incident. As soon as we can provide further updates on their condition, we will,” he told the press conference.

“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to everybody who has been involved in this and is anxiously waiting for information on their loved ones.

“As soon as we can get that information, we will get it to you.”

Mr Basu said the attack had been declared a terrorist incident but the force was retaining an open mind to the motive.

He added: “Due to the nature of the incident we responded as though this was terrorist-related.

“I am now in a position to declare it is a terrorist incident.

“Officers from the Met counter terrorism command are now leading this investigation.”

London Ambulance Service have also provided an update on the incident:

Earlier: 3.59pm

Police have now confirmed that "a number of people have been stabbed" in the incident.

Earlier: 3.24pm

Police have confirmed that officers have shot one man during the incident.

Metropolitan Police have also said that "as a precaution, we are currently responding to this incident as though it is terror-related."

Earlier: 3.04pm

A video has emerged showing police officers aiming guns at a white lorry that jackknifed across London Bridge.

The footage shows several officers surrounding the vehicle before moving to the rear to check its container.

London buses can be seen either side of the lorry while three police cars are parked next to it on the bridge.

Another video filmed from a nearby bus showed the apparent suspect being shot as he lay on the ground. Another man in a suit and jacket could be seen running from him, having retrieved a large knife.

After at least two shots were heard, passengers could be heard screaming, with one shouting: “What the f***, they’ve killed him.”

Staff working for News UK, whose offices are by London Bridge station, reported being held in their building as police dealt with the incident.

Dan Wooton, executive editor at The Sun, tweeted: “Police dogs at work on London Bridge. We are currently in lockdown in the News building after advice for police.”

The News UK building opposite the Shard has been put into lockdown amid the ongoing evacuation on the London Bridge area, with staff reporting that no one is being let in or out.

Mike King, a parish councillor at St Magnus-the-Martyr, a church near London Bridge, told BBC News that members of the public were directed into the church by police.

He said: “They were directed inside by police outside, directing people to go into the buildings nearby, as you know there are a number of offices near to us.

“So everybody has been ushered into offices and buildings close by, we’ve had a number of people come in to see us.”

He added: “We heard a noise that I thought was firecrackers going off earlier on.”

Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Nurse Jackie Benfield, 32, described how she asked to be let off a bus on London Bridge after she heard “five or six” gunshots.

Ms Benfield, who was on her way home from work, said she exited the bus and “ran like hell” to escape the shots.

Ms Bensfield, who was visibly shaken by the incident, said: “I just ran as fast as I could. Hearing gunshots and running from them is not really a good feeling.

“I was on the bus and there was a lot of traffic, but I remember it stopped. Then all of a sudden I see police officers yelling and people running off the bridge.

“I said ‘please let me out, please let me out.‘ Then I just ran as fast as I could.

“‘Pop pop pop’ that’s what it sounded like. Unfortunately I know what gunshots sound like.”

Connor Allen, who was in his van on the bridge when it was evacuated said: “Everyone just started running, you heard these pops and that was it. We just got out the van and started running.”

Boris Johnson is returning from his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency to Downing Street where he will get further information on the London Bridge incident.

“PM on his way back to No 10 from his constituency where he will receive further updates on the London Bridge incident,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman messaged.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “I’m being kept updated on the incident at London Bridge and want to thank the police and all emergency services for their immediate response.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel added she was “very concerned”.

She said: “Very concerned by ongoing incident at London Bridge. My thoughts are with all affected. I am grateful for the rapid response of our police and I urge everyone to follow their advice.”

Earlier: 2.30pm

London Police have confirmed that a number of people were injured in the last hour in a stabbing incident near to London Bridge. Emergency services are at the scene and a man has been detained by the police.

Police have evacuated London Bridge station and the surrounding area amid reports of shots being fired.

A cordon has been set up at Borough Market while evacuation continues from nearby shops and businesses.

People running away from Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
People running away from Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Response from officers led scores of people to run down St Thomas’ street, though the exact cause of the incident is still unknown.

Footage posted from inside a passing bus showed armed police pointing guns at a person who appeared to be lying still on the pavement:

Amanda Hunter, who was on a bus across the bridge when she heard shots fired, told BBC News: “(The bus) all of a sudden stopped and there was commotion and looked out the window and I just saw these three police officers going over to a man.

“It seemed like there was something in his hand, I’m not 100% sure, but then one of the police officers shot him.

“We were stopped on a bus for only a minute or a minute-and-a-half, and then we were able to safely get off the bridge.”

Another video posted to social media showed a man, apparently the suspect, grappling with some other men.

As he tried to get up from the floor, he then collapsed to the ground after being hit by what appeared to be gunfire.

Further footage shows the incident from a nearby building:

Police say they are treating the evacuation of the area surrounding Borough Market as a “major incident."

Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

A man who works across the road from Borough Market said he had heard reports of a man with a knife who had been shot by police.

“A lorry crossed over into both lanes and police were shooting at it from both sides,” he said.

“Apparently there was an assailant with knife. They’ve taped past our office now and we can’t get in.”

One business owner told the PA news agency she had been crossing London Bridge to get to her shop on the north side when police officers stopped her.

She said that was when she heard at least five or six gunshots and said that her store has been evacuated.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “I was approaching London Bridge and a policeman would not let me through.

“We heard shooting, it was about five or six shots, I heard five or six quite clearly.

“All my staff have been evacuated.”

London Ambulance Service said it had declared a major incident:

Earlier:

Emergency services were called to London Bridge amid reports of shots being fired at the London tourist attraction.

The London Ambulance Service said it had crews at the scene.

British Transport Police said London Bridge station has been closed.

Various social media users have reported hearing gunshots from London Bridge.

One video shows what appears to be police pulling equipment out of a vehicle nearby.

Those in the video can be heard saying: “They’ve actually got guns out. They’ve got the guns out.”

BBC correspondent John McManus told BBC News that he had heard several gun shots on London Bridge.

“Just a few minutes ago I was walking across London Bridge on the south bank to the north bank of the bridge,” he said.

“There appeared to be a fight going on on the other side of the bridge, with several men attacking one man.”

“Police then quickly arrived, including armed police, and then a number of shots were fired at this man,” Mr McManus told BBC News.

“Police have now cleared the bridge, everybody has been told to move back and now on the northern side of the bridge, but there are more shots going on.

“I can’t see what’s happening now because we’ve been moved out of the way but there are shots going on, and you probably hear the police sounds as well.

“Everybody has cleared the area, the entire bridge has been moved, and right on the northern part of the bridge, right up until quite near the Bank of England, is being cleared.

“There are more police coming into the area as I’m speaking, they’re telling people to clear, to move back,” Mr McManus continued.

“We’ve been moved back hundreds of metres back from the northern side of the bridge, and I can only assume the same has happened on the southern side of the bridge as well.”

The BBC correspondent said he could see a man lying on the ground but the situation was “ongoing”.

“There appeared to be a fight going on on the bridge, from what I could see, several people tried to restrain a man and it was then that armed police arrived and they fired shots at this person,” he said.

“The last I could see before we were moving from the bridge was lying on the ground.

“Since then, since we’ve been moved back, I’ve heard several more shots fired as well. So at this moment it seems to be a developing situation.”

Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London. (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Kelby McNally, OK! Online’s editor, works in the Northern and Shell Building on Lower Thames Street near to London Bridge.

She said: “I was coming out of Pret on Eastcheap and there were loads of people just running, I thought it was a fire alarm or something, and then I saw two girls from my office who told me not to go back there. I asked what had happened, and they said they had heard gunshots and now everyone is running.

“City of London police officers and paramedics told us, ‘You need to go that way, do not go near London Bridge, run that way’.

“Everyone was running, so then we came to where the Sky Garden building is and the security guards let everyone in. We’re sat in the foyer of this building, and everyone is running outside. Now everyone is being let out of this building but they’re saying you cannot walk back towards London Bridge, go towards Liverpool Street.”

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