People leave the area wearing foil blankets after an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

London attackers plough van into crowd, kill seven

Assailants drove a van into pedestrians at high speed on London Bridge on Saturday night before stabbing revelers on nearby streets, killing at least seven people and wounding dozens in what police suspect was a terrorist attack.
Armed police rushed to the scene and, within eight minutes of receiving the first emergency call shortly after 10pm local time had shot dead the three male attackers in the Borough Market area near the bridge.
At least 48 people were injured in the attack, the third to hit Britain in less than three months and occurring days ahead of a parliamentary election on Thursday. Most of the main political parties suspended national campaigning on Sunday.
“I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement as events unfolded. Flags were flying at half-mast over her Downing Street residence on Sunday morning.
London Bridge is a major transport hub and nearby Borough Market is a fashionable warren of alleyways packed with restaurants that is always bustling on a Saturday night.
The area remained cordoned off and patrolled by armed police and counter-terrorism officers on Sunday, with train stations closed. Forensic investigators could be seen working on the bridge, where buses and taxis stood abandoned.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack to hit Britain and Europe.
Less than two weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed 22 people including children at a concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in northern England. In March, in a attack similar to Saturday’s, a man killed five people after driving into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in central London.
Grande and other acts were due to give a benefit concert at Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket ground on Sunday evening to raise funds for victims of the concert bombing and their families. Police said the event would go ahead as planned, but security would be increased.
The three attackers on Saturday night were wearing what looked like explosive vests that were later found to have been hoaxes. The BBC showed a photograph of two possible attackers shot by police, one of whom had canisters strapped to his body.
“It has now been confirmed sadly that seven members of the public have died. In addition, as you know, we believe, three suspects are dead,” London Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick said in a televised statement on Sunday.
Dick said police believed the incident was under control but would need to conduct a thorough search of the area to ensure everyone was accounted for and no further suspects were at large. Reuters