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British Police Say 7 People Killed In London Bridge Terrorist Attacks

Jun 3, 2017
Originally published on June 5, 2017 9:57 am

Updated at 6:30 a.m. ET June 4

London Metropolitan Police say at least seven people have died, and 48 others were injured, after the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday.

Updates to this story can now be found here.

In a statement broadcast on Sunday morning, Metropolitan Policeā€ Commissioner Cressida Dick announced that a seventh victim had died. The department tweeted a video clip of the press briefing.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said in an earlier statement on Twitter, that, in addition, "three attackers shot dead by police."

Police believe all the attackers have been killed, but say the investigation is ongoing.

"We believe that this incident is under control," Commissioner Cressida Dick said. "However, a large cordon remains in the area ... as we need still to carry out a thorough search of the area to ensure that everyone has been accounted for, and to make the whole area safe."

On Saturday evening, police responded to the scene at London Bridge after a vehicle plowed into pedestrians. According to The Associated Press, a van struck multiple people on the bridge in a hit-and-run incident, and "witnesses also reported seeing people being stabbed by at least one man."

Says the AP:

"Police say the incidents occurred on the bridge and at Borough Market a short distance away.

"The force initially said they were also responding to a reported third incident, in the Vauxhall area of London. But they said later that turned out to be an unrelated stabbing."

Rowley said armed officers responded quickly and confronted three male suspects.

"The suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes," he said.

Before they'd confirmed any deaths, British police had retweeted a statement from the London Ambulance service, which said in part, "We have taken at least 20 patients to six hospitals across London." That number was later updated to 48.

British Transport Police say an injured BTP officer is expected to survive.

A day after British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed sympathy with those caught up in the "dreadful events," she said that campaigns will resume as the U.K. gears up for the general election Thursday.

Following the third deadly attack in Britain since March, May said the recent attacks, while not connected, are all driven by the "single evil ideology of Islamic extremism."

Late Saturday evening, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a statement saying, "At this time, we have no information to indicate a specific, credible terror threat in the United States."

The White House subsequently said in a statement that President Trump called Prime Minister May to offer his condolences "for the brutal terror attacks":

"He praised the heroic response of police and other first responders and offered the full support of the United States Government in investigating and bringing those responsible for these heinous acts to justice."

Trump also tweeted a similar sentiment: "Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there ..."

The original story continues:

NPR's Frank Langfitt says that the bridge is closed in both directions and that officials are asking people to stay away from the area.

Armed police also responded to reports of stabbings and shots fired at the nearby renowned Borough Market, as well as to the unrelated stabbing in the Vauxhall district.

In response to these incidents, police have posted a shelter-in-place graphic to Twitter, telling people in the areas to run or hide and to alert police when it is safe to do so.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted, "National security team has briefed @POTUS on situation at #LondonBridge and will continue to provide updates."

Britain's terror threat was recently lowered from "critical," which had been put in place after a bombing killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert last month in Manchester.

This is a developing story. We'll update with further information as it becomes available.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to start the program in London where police are now calling an incident at London Bridge and a nearby market terrorist incidents. It all began when a van drove into pedestrians on London Bridge. NPR's Frank Langfitt is on the line with us to tell us what he knows as he heads to central London. Frank, thank you so much for speaking with us once again.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Hi, Michel.

MARTIN: So what do we know right now? What are police saying?

LANGFITT: Well, what we know so far is earlier in the evening, a van did jump a curb all on London Bridge and hit at least four people. There was a BBC reporter who just happened to be on the bridge, and she described a number of people being severely injured, paramedics taking care of them. And what she saw was police making arrests on the bridge. Now, it seems that not long after that, there were reports of stabbing in Borough Market. It's a big nightlife area, lots of restaurants and bars and that police have rushed in there to address that issue. So those are two incidents in very short order on Saturday night in London. And of course, as we've spoken before, these would be the third terrorist incidents in less than three months in the United Kingdom.

MARTIN: And to that point, though, there was another incident at Vauxhall that had also been investigated. But police are saying now that does not appear to be related. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

LANGFITT: No, that was - it was a stabbing, but it's unrelated. And I should mention also that Vauxhall is quite a distance from these two other incidents, so it's unrelated. It appears to simply be a criminal incident.

MARTIN: Could you tell us a bit more about the area in which these latest attacks took place, Frank?

LANGFITT: Sure.

MARTIN: It's in central London. Tell us more about for people who aren't familiar with it.

LANGFITT: Absolutely. You know, this is on - this is on what's sort of famously known as the south bank of the Thames, and London Bridge is just up from Tower Bridge. And this area is a great nightlife area that was redeveloped many years ago along the river front. To get - to put it in some perspective, it was only - I want to say honestly it was last Monday night I was walking along the Thames right under London Bridge with my family at around the time that this thing occurred. So it was just a week ago. We were just coming back from a play - and so lots of families out, lots of people out for a nightlife. As you know, London - a very vibrant city. And so at the time that these would have occurred, there would be a lot of people out and about.

MARTIN: As you were alluding to just a minute ago, this is coming just about a month after three people were killed near Parliament there in London. A car ran over victims, and then an attacker stabbed a police officer. And then there was a terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert just about two weeks ago. Could you just tell us a little bit about the atmosphere that this has created in the U.K. right now?

LANGFITT: Well, you know, I'm on my way in. I'm getting close to Big Ben right now in the car, but I can tell you that this is somebody who lives in Greater London. This feels relentless. I was at home tonight and got the call on it and saw it on Twitter. And it's - you know, London has actually - up until recently - has been relatively spared from the sort of attacks that we've seen in Brussels and of course Paris, where it really has been - Paris has been pounded by attacks. But these last two or three months have been pretty extraordinary. And I was just up in Manchester not long ago for the Ariana Grande concert, following up on that attack. And to put it in some perspective, Ariana Grande is coming back. She's in Manchester now. She's doing a concert tomorrow night to raise money for the victims. And Justin Bieber is going to be there. Usher is going to be there. It's going to be a big, big show. And to have another terrorist attack in London even before someone can do a charity event for an earlier attack, it just seems like the pace of things here is moving very, very quickly.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Frank Langfitt reporting from London. He's actually headed to Central London now. Frank, thank you so much for speaking with us. Please do keep us posted.

LANGFITT: You're very welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.