Knife rampage on London bridge kills seven
Three knife-wielding attackers wearing fake suicide vests unleashed a terror rampage through central London, ploughing a high-speed van into pedestrians on the iconic London Bridge before stabbing revellers in a nearby market, killing seven people and injuring 48.
In the attack, just days before the general election on June 8, a white van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on busy London Bridge on Saturday night at around 10 pm local time.
Three men then fled the van wielding large knives and attacked people indiscriminately at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market shouting "This is for Allah", witnesses said.
Seven people were killed in the attack, and at least 48 were taken to the hospital, the Metropolitan police said.
The attack unfolded quickly as armed police rushed to the scene and within eight minutes shot dead the three male attackers who were wearing what looked like explosives which later turned out to be fake.
"Armed officers responded very quickly and bravely, confronting three male suspects who were shot and killed in Borough Market. The suspects had been confronted and shot by the police within eight minutes of the first call.
"The suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes, said Mark Rowley, Met Police Assistant Commissioner and the UK's anti-terrorism lead.
"We are treating this as a terrorist incident and a full investigation is already underway, led by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, he said, urging people with information and images to contact the police.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack to hit Britain.
Several gunshots were heard in the area and the British Transport Police said one of its officers was seriously injured and hospitalised with non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed as he responded to the incident.
The area that came under attack on Saturday night is one of the London's most popular hangout areas for a weekend with bars, restaurants and clubs.
Hundreds of people were sent into a panic as they were advised by police to run, tell, hide - the standard Met Police anti-terror advice - as the attackers stabbed people indiscriminately on the streets and in bars and restaurants.
The area has been cordoned off for investigations, led by the Met Police's Counter Terrorism Command, working with British Transport Police, City of London Police, the London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade.
"We are reviewing and planning to strengthen our policing stance across London over the forthcoming days, and there will be additional police and officers deployed across the capital," Rowley said, calling on the public to remain vigilant.
Prime Minister Theresa May described the incidents as "dreadful events" and on Sunday chaired a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee.
She said in a statement: "Following updates from police and security officials, I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism."
The flag at Downing Street is flying at half-mast as a mark of respect to the victims of the attack and the ruling Conservative party has announced that it has suspended its national election campaign for Sunday, with plans to review during the course of the day.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called it "a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners".
The Indian High Commission in London has set up a Public Response Unit for any Indians caught up in the attack.
"Any Indians injured/affected during the London Bridge major incident and at Borough Market may reach off-office hours Public Response Unit. We shall endeavour to extend all possible assistance to all affected and to their families and friends in this difficult hour," an Indian High Commission statement said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attacks in London, terming them as "shocking".
"Attacks in London are shocking & anguishing. We condemn them. My thoughts are with families of the deceased & prayers with the injured," the Prime Minister said in a tweet.
British counter-terrorism police on Sunday arrested 12 suspects after a raid at a home of one of the London Bridge terror attackers in East London.
A spokesman for the British counter-terrorism police said the arrests were made following a raid on a block of flats in Barking. The home belonged to one of the suspects and was raided hours after the attack.
Controlled explosions were also carried out at the flat in Barking this morning, the BBC reported. According to neighbours, the dead attacker had lived there for about three years and was married with two children.
The spokesman said, "searches of a number of addresses in Barking are continuing.".