Sunday 4 June 2017 – Terror returns to the streets of London with attack on London Bridge and at Borough Market

This post includes material incorporated into the post as news develops during the day.

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Less than two weeks after the Manchester Arena bombing on 22 May and ten weeks since the Westminster Bridge attack on 22 March the UK last night suffered another deadly terrorist attack. The attack began on London Bridge at around 10pm last night when a white van was driven at speed into pedestrians. It then continued across the bridge where three men then jumped out of the van and began attacking people with knives in the nearby historic Borough Market which has recently become increasingly popular with locals and tourists.  Seven people are dead and at least 48 have been injured, many critically.  The three men were wearing what appeared to be suicide vests.  The three terrorists were shot dead by armed police, within 8 minutes of the police receiving the first emergency call for help. The suicide vests turned out to be fake, but the police who shot them dead had no way of knowing that at the time.  The Metropolitan Police (MET) Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said that it is believed at this stage that the three dead men were the only perpetrators.

 

Scenes of panic ensued as the men attacked.  People were running across the bridge to safety while others in the Borough Market area were also running away or taking shelter in buildings.  More than 80 medics responded to the attacks and the injured are being treated in five London hospitals. One of the injured was a on-duty British Transport Police officer responding to the attack. He is in hospital with head,  neck and leg knife wounds and his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.  The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says at least two  Australian citizens “have been directly impacted” in the attacks and the French president’s office say that at least two French citizens have been injured.

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The Prime Minister Theresa May said of the attacks: “Our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events.”

 

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called them “brutal and shocking.” (video)

 

The Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron called them a “horrific incident.”

 

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, called the attacks “dreadful news.” 

 

President Donald trump tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”  He then took the opportunity to call once more for a travel ban on people from certain Muslim-majority countries and that this latest attack was evidence of its need in the United States. Mr Trump later criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan, accusing of him saying people should not be alarmed – something Mr Khan had said in the context of asking the public not to be alarmed at the sight of armed police on the streets. Mr Trump ignored the context it was said in and used it to suggest that Mr Khan was telling people not to be alarmed that terrorists are killing people on London’s streets. (see related article for an update on this story). Mr Trump also used the attack to justify relaxing gun laws in the United States. (related article)

 

The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson posted a statement on Facebook. This is an extract:

 

“Today we collectively resolve to beat the terrorists and their nihilistic creed. To those who sympathise or encourage or harbour or aid or abet these killers – in any way – we say enough is enough.

 

“Your time is up. The wells of tolerance are running empty. We will not let you disrupt our lives or our democracy.

 

“In the week of this general election millions of people need to hear the arguments on either side. They cannot have that fundamental right taken away by terrorists. Millions of Londoners will today get on with their lives. They will go to the pub and to the museums and to the parks and to the sh(ows.

 

“The response of the British people will be to carry on with business and usual – as far as they possibly can – in a spirit of total defiance. And that is the best response of all.”

 

da69361d-51b4-4844-9a4d-1a48c9d18f0fLeanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru in Wales  said: ”This is another devastating attack. Plaid Cymru extends its condolences to the people affected and the emergency services that work so hard in these difficult circumstances. People deserve to live their lives without fear, and we must come together to reject hate.” 

 

The leader of the Scottish Labour party, Kezia Dugdale cancelled events she had planned for today and said of the attacks: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families after the horrific terrorist attacks in London last night. Once again our nation finds itself under attack from those who hate our way of life and seek to change us. But we will not allow that to happen, because the values that they hate – democracy, the rule of law and tolerance – are what make our country so special. It’s why Britain is a beacon for other nations around the world. We will not let the terrorists win.”.

 

The co-leader of the Green Party, Jonathan Bartley, said: “As in Manchester, and in the aftermath of the Westminster attacks, people will come together in the coming days and demonstrate that our way of life is precious and will not be surrendered to those determined to spread fear.”

 

The French president Emmanuel Marcon said: “In the face of this new tragedy, France is more than ever at Britain’s side. My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones.”

 

The Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said his “prayers and resolute solidarity” were with the British people. 

 

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wrote in a statement: “Today we are united across borders in horror and mourning, but also in determination. For Germany, I reiterate that in the fight against all forms of terrorism, we are resolutely at Britain’s side.”

 

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President, said on his Twitter feed his “thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Please stay safe.”

 

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau Tweeted  of the “awful news from London tonight. We’re monitoring the situation.”

 

While New Zealand’s prime Minister, Bill English, said: “New Zealand’s thoughts are with the victims of today’s attack. Too many lives are being taken by terrorists set on inflicting pain and suffering on innocent people.”

 

The Spanish ministry issued a statement condemning the attack:

 

“Spain shares the pain of the families of those who have died in these cowardly attacks and wishes all those injured a swift recovery.

 

“The government offers the British people and authorities its total solidarity and support in the fight against terrorism.

 

“The Spanish embassy in the UK and the consulate in London have been following the situation since the start to help Spanish citizens and remain in constant contact with the British authorities.”

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the President “sends his deepest condolences to Britons and condemns the terrorist act that happened several hours ago in London.” President Putin also said in a telegram to Theresa May:  “This crime shocks with its cruelty and cynicism,” and the Kremlin added: “The Russian president expressed his certainty that the common response to what has happened should be an increase in combined efforts in the fight against the forces of terror around the world.” The Russian embassy has also said that there are no reports of Russian citizens among the dead and injured.

 

The Indian prime minister Narenda Modi Tweeted: “Attacks in London are shocking & anguishing. We condemn them. My thoughts are with families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.” 

 

Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen Tweeted: “Appalled by events in #London. My thoughts are with the victims and the British people, who will persevere.”

 

The French Foreign Minister said on his Twitter feed: “Solidarité totale avec Londres et les britanniques. Les agents de l’ambassade et à Paris sont mobilisés pour nos compatriotes sur place,” which translates as: “Total solidarity with London and the British. The agents of the embassy and in Paris are mobilized for our compatriots on the spot.” 

 

Frederica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs Tweeted: “With #London, the open lively bright city we all love,” and the European Union President Antonio Tajini Tweeted: “We mourn in solidarity with the victims and the families of heinous #LondonBridge attack.These acts must be stopped! #UnitedAgainstTerrorism.” 

 

The EU’s Brexit negotiator said on his Twitter feed said: “All my thoughts are with victims and their families after #LondonAttacks. We all stand together with the U.K. in solidarity.”

 

cressida dickThe MET chief, Cressida Dick (right, or see video) spoke of the courage and actions of those responding to the attacks to help the victims: “In the early hours of this morning I visited one of the hospitals in London. There, I heard truly remarkable stories and extraordinarily brave actions by officers on and off duty first on the scene. I heard of colleagues of other emergency services and members of the public who ran towards the danger as the incident unfolded. Many, many people risked their own safety to help others and treat those seriously injured and indeed to confront suspects involved. The courage of those people during and following the attack was extraordinary and I pay tribute to all of them … I’m sure they helped to save lives.”

 

The Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, Garry Shewan, said in a statement:

 

“We’re deeply saddened to hear about last night’s horrific attacks in London and our thoughts are with everyone affected, including the emergency services responding to the incident.

 

“There are two large-scale events taking place in Greater Manchester today and we would like to assure people that these will still take place, but with additional security in place to ensure the safety of everyone.

 

“We have dedicated resources at both events, with a significant number of officers from both GMP and colleagues from other forces, some of which will be armed. There will be additional security checks taking place and everyone will be searched, including bags. We would ask people not to bring bags if they can, as this will help speed up entry.

 

“I’d like to remind people that the threat level retains at severe, which means an attack is highly likely. Please remain vigilant at all times and report anything suspicious that causes you concern to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or 999 in an emergency.“

 

The MET Assistant  Chief Constable Steve Johnson also commented on the attack:

 

“While we understand that the public will clearly be appalled by these events, I would urge each and every member of our communities to remain united against extremism and hate.

 

“Police Scotland will not tolerate any attempts to target any community by any misguided individual or group and will work with all of our partners to resolve any issues and address any concerns. Should anyone become a victim of, or witness to, any hate crime, they should contact the police and report the incident.”

 

Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, isued a statement today:

 

“I am appalled and angered by the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough market, in my home city. These acts of violence were truly shocking and I condemn them in the strongest terms.

 

“Muslims everywhere are outraged and disgusted at these cowards who once again have destroyed the lives of our fellow Britons. That this should happen in the month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith.

 

“My prayers are with the victims and all those affected. I commend the work of our emergency services working hard to keep us safe and cope with the ensuing carnage. As ever we urge everyone to assist the authorities so that these criminals can be apprehended and brought to justice.”

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This is the second terror attack in the UK during the General Election campaign.  The election is due to be held on Thursday but once again the election campaign has been suspended, as it also was after the Manchester Arena attack less than two weeks ago.  The campaigns, the BBC suggests, could resume as early as this evening.  There is no suggestion at the moment that the General Election will be suspended.  To postpone the election at such a late stage would not only cause political chaos but would be a sign of weakness in the face of terror.  The election is a symbol of the country’s democracy and freedoms which terror attacks such as today are trying to undermine. 

 

Jeremy Corbyn said on suspending the election campaign: ”We won’t be campaigning nationally during today, but we will resume later on because I think it’s important to give a message that democracy must prevail. If we allow these attacks to disrupt our democratic process, then we all lose.”  He added, referring to the Manchester attacks and last night’s attacks:  “I hope it will not disrupt our process, because we have to have a democratic process. But I also hope we will reflect on the need to have sufficient police officers on our streets, but also sufficient intelligence to look at the terrorist threat. But in response, as in Manchester, all communities must come together. Our strength is the strength of our community unity. That was shown in Manchester straight after the horrible event there and I’m sure it will be the same in London.”

 

David Davis, the UK’s Brexit negotiator spoke of the need to not postpone the General Election: “I think we are locked into [June 8]. I think, actually, the public would want us to be locked in. There is a balance of things here. Clearly we want to respect the people who have been injured and killed, we want to pay proper respect, therefore we don’t want to carry on across it. But on the other hand the people doing this are doing it because they despise the freedoms we have, and those freedoms can be the freedom to go out on a Saturday night, or the freedom to cast a vote. And it may be – we don’t know, at least I don’t know, I’m not briefed this morning on this – I don’t know whether or not they are deliberately trying to disrupt the general election, or whether this is a coincidence of timing … in which case, all the more reason not to defer, not to deflect, to as far as possible, within the grounds of propriety, to actually not let this put us off course.”

 

However, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) has said they will not be suspending their campaigning. Their leader Paul Nuttall said: “With more people murdered on the streets of our capital city last night by Islamist terrorists, it is more important than ever for us to confront this evil with the democratic principles that have made this country what it is. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who lost their lives last night. The courage and quick response of our emergency services have yet again saved countless lives and in the midst of such a tragedy, deserve our respect and admiration. It is time to start honouring our dead with more than just words. The only guarantee that will come from our choosing to stall the democratic process again will be more attacks; it is what these cowards want us to do. For those of us seeking to serve the people of this country, it is our duty to drive the dialogue on how best to confront and defeat this brand of terrorism. That is what Ukip will be doing today and beyond. Therefore, I refuse to suspend campaigning because this is precisely what the extremists would want us to do.”

 

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan praised the police response to the attacks, which he described as “a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners.” He stressed, however, that the city remains a “safest global city” in the world and that London would not be cowed by terrorism. (see video, or related video)

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The Prime Minister (above) made a statement outside 10 Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the emergency response committee Cobra.  The full statement is below, or watch video:

 

”Last night, our country fell victim to a brutal terrorist attack once again.

 

”As a result I have just chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency committee, and I want to update you with the latest information about the attack.

 

”Shortly before 10 past 10 yesterday evening, the Metropolitan Police received reports that a white van had struck pedestrians on London Bridge.

 

”It continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market, where three terrorists left the van and attacked innocent and unarmed civilians with blades and knives.

 

”All three were wearing what appeared to be explosive vests, but the police have established that this clothing was fake and worn only to spread panic and fear.

 

”As so often in such serious situations, the police responded with great courage and great speed. Armed offices from the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police arrived at Borough Market within moments and shot and killed the three suspects.

 

”The terrorists were confronted and shot by armed officers within eight minutes of the police receiving the first emergency call.

 

”Seven people have died as a result of the attack, in addition to the three suspects shot dead by the police. Forty-eight people are being treated in several hospitals across London.

 

”Many have life-threatening conditions.

 

”On behalf of the people of London and on behalf of the whole country, I want to thank and pay tribute to the professionalism and bravery of the police and the emergency services, and the courage of members of the public who defended themselves and others from the attackers.

 

”And our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and with their friends, families and loved ones.

 

”This is, as we all know, the third terrorist attack Britain has experienced in the last three months. In March a similar attack took place just around the corner on Westminster Bridge.

 

”Two weeks ago the Manchester Arena was attacked by a suicide bomber and now London has been struck once more.

 

”And at the same time the security and intelligence agencies and police have disrupted five credible plots since the Westminster attack in March.

 

”In terms of their planning and execution, the recent attacks are not connected but we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face.

 

”As terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.

 

”We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in four important  ways.

 

”First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.

 

”It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.

 

”Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time, but it cannot be defeated by military intervention alone.

 

”It will not be defeated by the maintenance of a permanent defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners.

 

”It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values – pluralistic British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.

 

”Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed.

 

”Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.

 

”We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.

 

”And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online.

 

”Third, while we need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online, we must not forget about the safe spaces that continue to exist in the real world.

 

”Yes, that means taking military action to destroy Isis in Iraq and Syria. But it also means taking action here at home.

 

”While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.

 

”So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society.

 

”That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations.

 

”But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.

 

”Fourth, we have a robust counter-terrorism strategy, that has proved successful over many years.

 

”But as the nature of the threat we face becomes more complex, more fragmented, more hidden, especially online, the strategy needs to keep up.

 

”So in light of what we are learning about the changing threat, we need to review Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy to make sure the police and security services have all the powers they need.

 

”And if we need to increase the length of custodial sentences for terrorist-related offences – even apparently less serious offences – that is what we will do.

 

”Since the emergence of the threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism, our country has made significant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public.

 

”But it is time to say `Enough is enough’.

 

”Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values.

 

”But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.

 

”As a mark of respect, two political parties have suspended our national campaigns for today. But violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process, so those campaigns will resume in full tomorrow and the General Election will go ahead as planned on Thursday.

 

”As a country, our response must be as it has always been when we have been confronted by violence.

 

”We must come together, we must pull together, and united we will take on and defeat our enemies.”

 

Theresa May’s statement drew a lot of fire on Twitter, accusing her of hypocrisy and electioneering after only just suspending campaigning. Here are  some of the negative comments:

 

  • escalator policeNigel Farage, former leader of UKIP: “May now talks tough on terrorism. She had 6 years in charge of this as Home Secretary,” and “May says enough is enough. We should have reached this conclusion years ago.”

 

  • Matt Zarb-Cousin, former spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn, now writer for The Guardian and spokesman for Campaign for Fairer Gambling: “Most people will see Theresa May’s statement for what it is: politicising a terrorist attack because she’s worried about losing the election. Theresa May has been Home Secretary and Prime Minister for the past 7 years. She has failed to protect the British people from terrorism.  For May to come out the day after a terrorist attack attempting to distract from her own record by blaming the internet is utterly risible. May politicising the attack means her record is now fair game: police cuts, under resourcing of MI5 and our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”  These comments by Mr Zarb-Cousin were posted in four separate tweets.`

 

  • Alastair Campbell, former Downing Street Press Secretary to Tony Blair, now a journalist and broadcaster: “Mrs May is happy enough to tolerate the extremism of the Brextremist Lie Machine newspapers spewing hate day after day.”

 

  • Alex Nunns, writer and author of a book on Jeremy Corbyn: “This morning May agreed to suspend election campaigning & then politicised a tragedy in her speech. She is campaigning. Poor judgement. When Corbyn made an obvious point 4 days after Manchester he was accused of politicising it. Are all those pious voices criticising May now? Im livid about May’s speech.She was Home Secretary for 6 years! Now she tries to win an election by saying there’s “far too much tolerance.” These comments were made over three separate tweets.

 

  • Kevin Maquire, of the Daily Mirror: “May’s was a political, campaigning speech. So who since 2010 was Home Sec then PM if “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country?”

 

  • Stephen Bush, of The New Statesman: “This doesn’t look like campaign suspension to me. Also remarkable from Home Secretary for 6 years.”

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Some eyewitness accounts:

 

  • BBC reporter Holly Jones was on London Bridge at the time of the attacks and said that the van was travelling at about 50mph.   She told BBC News:  “He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.”

 

  • A taxi driver, Robbie, was waiting in his taxi when the attacks happened. He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I saw about 20 or 30 people rushing to get back into the pub and five seconds later a big white van came screeching down the pavement. Two or three people jumped out. Initially, I thought it was a road traffic incident and the people had jumped out to see if anyone was injured, but I could tell immediately, they looked very aggressive.”

 

  • Josh witnessed people running up London Bridge and said, again to BBC Radio 5 Live: “A chap ran up and I heard him shout, ‘He’s got a knife, he’s stabbing people.'”

 

  • Gerard told the BBC that people were running into pubs and bars for safety and were being chased by the attackers.  He said that members of the public were throwing bottles, tables and chairs at them.  He added: “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.'”

 

  • Steven Gibbs who was drinking in St Christopher’s Inn told the BBC: “A black cab drove past and the driver shouted, ‘Terrorist attack, run!’ I stood up to take a look and then all of a sudden there were gunshots. Lots of people were screaming.”  He took cover in the basement of a pub where police came in telling them to take cover. He said: “I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

 

  • Will Orton was in a pub and praised the bouncers: “The bouncers did a really good job, they shut the doors and locked everyone in. There was panic – it seemed like it was literally outside the door.”

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  • Vilwar Hussein helped carry the injured British Transport Police officer to nearby Guy’s Hospital and said that there was a wound in his chest and there was “blood everywhere.”

 

  • Kieran Lovelace crossed the bridge moments after the attack and gave a detailed account of what he saw to Alice Ross of the BBC: “I was strolling home, Snapchatting away. As I’m walking across the bridge I saw (what) I thought was a car accident because I saw a lady talking to the police. I saw an injured couple probably in their mid-30s. There was a load of people crowding around her. Everyone was civilians like myself trying to help out. I probably arrived there a minute after it happened. As I was going down the bridge I saw probably six or seven people from one end of the bridge to the other, injured, passed out, covered in blood. I saw the armed forces come in. It happened so quickly, I have to give props to the forces because they got there so quickly.  I wasn’t aware of the incident in Borough Market, I was only aware of the bridge. People poured out of London Bridge station as it was evacuated and everyone was directed towards Tower Bridge. Nobody knew what was happening: I had to ask people. I just saw all this carnage. There’s a statue and there was a lady there with three kids. They were all hiding, she was blocking them. Just to see the terror on their face was a horrible thing to see.”

 

  • simina motalibSimina Motalib (right), who lives in Borough Market, was on her way home and was caught up in the panic after the attack. She gave her account to the BBC’s Hannah Ellis-Peterson: “I live literally next to Borough Market. I was coming out of the tube station going home and I just suddenly heard people shouting ‘run, run’ and then there was this loud scream, it was a young woman, I think. So I just ran. My hands were shaking but I just ran through Borough Market and managed to get inside my house. As I went in I could see people running everywhere, they were crying, there were shoes on the floor. I could see an elderly couple trying to run but they couldn’t keep up with everyone. Neighbours were opening their doors trying to usher people in their houses. It was such a horrible thing to see all that panic. We didn’t know what was going on. I’ve lived here for 28 years and you don’t expect that to happen on your doorstep. The first thing I saw when I opened the door this morning was blood literally everywhere. There were shoes, and clothes scattered and just so much blood on the pavements and on the road. As a British-born Muslim, it’s awful to me to hear them using Islam when they carry out these barbaric acts, particularly in the month of Ramadam. Islam is a religion of peace, so this is so wrong.”

 

  • Alex was in a pub near Southwark Cathedral, which is next to Borough Market, and said:: “ A woman probably in her early 20s staggered into the pub and she was bleeding heavily from the neck and from her mouth. It appeared to myself and to my friends that her throat had been cut. People went to her aid. The pub was then closed. We saw police on the roads nearby. As we were told to leave the area by armed police, as we were running away from there, I could see to my left there was a further individual having CPR performed on them by the emergency services.”

 

  • Eric recalls: “Three men jumped out of the van and that’s when they started attacking people on the road. As they headed down the stairs, as they were running towards the people they were shouting this is for Allah.”

 

  • Mark was taking photographs on London Bridge at the moment of the attacks starting and said: “It was swerving from side to side and I could see it hitting people and there was a group about 20 or 30 yards in front of me. The van hit those people. At that moment I was doing that calculation of trying to work out which direction should I run.”

 

  • Ben was outside Borough tube station: “I saw a man in red with quite a large blade. I am guessing 10 inches. He was stabbing a man, maybe three times, fairly calmly. It looked like the man maybe had been trying to intervene but there wasn’t much he could do. He was stabbed quite coldly and slumped to the ground.”

 

  • Ajay, from Bombay, was on holiday in London with his wife and two children. They were in a pizzeria on Borough High Street on what was meant to be the last day of their holiday. Ajay said: “We were just sitting having a pizza by the window. We saw a lot of police vehicles, we went out to see what was going on and we heard gunshots. At first we thought it was firecrackers, people celebrating the match (the Champions League final) but then we saw people running and ran into our hotel. We were supposed to go to Manchester then didn’t because of the attack there. I can’t believe it’s happened in London, it makes me feel numb. I’m from India and you’re used to this type of thing but I thought London was the best, safest place for a holiday.”

 

  • Richard Angell was in the Arabica bar and kitchen in Borough Market. He fled the restaurant without paying his bill, returning this morning to do so and to tip the staff. He told the BBC: “If me having a gin and tonic with my friends, flirting with handsome men, hanging out with brilliant women, is what offends these people so much, I’m going to do it more not less, because that’s what makes London so great, that’s what makes it the best city in the world, and we’re going to go out and enjoy it more.” He said that he was more determined than ever “to love a city that looks after me,” and was full of praise for the emergency services: “They were there within seconds, they kept us safe, they swept the place. Two things really stuck with me. One, when we were leaving, the police were our eyes and ears, as we’re trying to avoid blood or people’s shoes that have fallen off or dropped wallets or whatever, they were our eyes and ears. Secondly I noticed the paramedic who was looking after a woman who was sadly face down on the ground, there was a couple of them, I thought they run at danger, then they turn their back to danger, to put together the life in front of them while we’re running for our lives behind them.  I might never meet the people who made the judgments that potentially saved my life last night, but I’m thankful to those people. I hope London hugs them in lots of ways.”

 

  • Lewis Bennett was in the Globe pub in London Bridge: (NOTE: his description has been contradicted by other witnesses)  “Everyone gasped when he ran into the pub but he didn’t do anything at first, just stood still for about 10 seconds,” said Bennett. “But then he grabbed the knife and stabbed people closest to him. He stabbed people in the stomach and legs, I think about five or six people. People started screaming and running out the back door. He was shouting ‘Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar’ and he had a British accent. I went to go stand in the loo and I could hear all the screaming. I came back out and he was standing there right in the centre of the pub and all the blood was dripping from his blade.” The adds that two policeman came in and one shot dead the attacker: “He died there on the pub floor. The police came in and covered the body and the paramedics came in to help the people who hadn’t escaped through the back door. I think a few died but most people were still alive I think. It looked like there were about five people who were attacked. It was such a frightening ordeal, it was so frightening.”

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The MET police have so far arrested 12 people in connection with last night’s attack after raiding a block of flats in Barking, east London.  A resident of the block, Furqan Navi said he recognised one of the attackers when he saw him lying on the ground after he had been shot by armed police in Borough Market.  Mr Navi said: “He lived there with his wife and two children, he’d been there for about three years. He seemed pretty friendly but I didn’t know him.”  He added: “There was lots and lots of shouting so I looked out of the window and there were armed police everywhere – it was most alarming.” Another neighbour said he had seen the same man two days ago: “He seemed a friendly, cool sort of guy. He was friendly and liked playing with kids. He was in his 20s I guess.” One neighbour  described the man as slim, bearded in his mid-20s and believed to be of Pakistani origin.  She elaborated:

 

“I realised it was him. It is shocking. Everybody here has children and jobs. We never thought anyone here would have the type of mentality to do something like that. I used to see them every night, He had a wife and child and would drop them off home and would look for a parking spot.

 

“He never used to communicate with the women here. I just knew him as the guy that always came at a certain time and would drop his wife and kid off right close to the main door and then go.

 

“He never used to park where he should park. He never really looked at us and if he did he didn’t look happy as if he had a why are women out on the street at this time of the night type of look on his face.” She said he wore traditional Islamic robes and his wife wore a full-face veil.

 

“He used to have the beard, the long dress that men wear, sometimes white, sometimes dark-coloured,”

 

Michael Mimbo was getting ready for work when the raid took place:

 

“I heard cars screeching up the road and lots of shouting of ’get down get down’.

 

“ I went outside to see what was going on and there were armed police everywhere.

 

“There were three people lying on the floor with guns pointed at them and I saw another one being Tasered as he tried to get away – it was chaos.”

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_96274967_hi039644819-1Following last night’s attack in London, concerns were raised as to whether the planned One Love Manchester benefit concert would go ahead in Manchester today.  The concert, at which Ariana Grande (right) will headline, is to raise money for the families and victims of those affected by the Manchester Arena bombing two weeks ago – which came at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.  Ms Grande’s manager, Scooter Braun, said today on Twitter that the concert “will go ahead with greater purpose.” Police have said they will increase security from the already high levels they have planned for the concert.  Mr Braun’s full statement read:

 

“After the events last night in London, and those in Manchester just two weeks ago, we feel a sense of responsibility to honour those lost, injured, and affected. We plan to honour them with courage, bravery, and defiance in the face of fear. Today’s One Love Manchester benefit concert will not only continue, but will do so with greater purpose. We must not be afraid, and in tribute to all those affected here and around the world, we will bring our voices together and sing loudly. I am pleased to say we have the full support of Greater Manchester police and the government and are assured the safety of all those attending is the highest priority. All artists involved have been unwavering in their support this morning and are determined to carry on with the show. We ask the strong city of Manchester and the world to join us in making the statement that hatred and fear will never win. Today we stand together. Thank you.”

 

I have written several blog entries on my blog about the 22 May attack on the Manchester Arean, which can be found on the blog’s homepage.


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