Posted: Monday, June 5, 2017 – 5:06 PM
(AFP) Seven people were killed in a terror attack in the British capital on Saturday night when a van smashed into pedestrians on London Bridge before three assailants went on a stabbing spree.
The attackers were shot dead by the police at the scene.
Here is what we know about the attack, which came 12 days after a suicide bombing in Manchester and just days ahead of Britain’s general election on Thursday.
- What happened? -Police received reports of a van speeding into pedestrians on London Bridge at 10:08pm (2108 GMT).
These emergency calls were quickly followed by reports of multiple stabbings in the popular Borough Market area on the south side of the bridge.
After the white van crashed into fencing by Southwark Cathedral, knife-wielding men sprinted towards nearby bars packed with people enjoying a night out.
Armed police were quickly on the scene and three assailants were shot and killed within eight minutes of the first call to emergency services.
The attackers were wearing what appeared to be explosive vests that were later discovered to be fake.
- The toll -Seven people were killed and 48 others were initially admitted to hospital. Of these, 36 are still being treated, 18 of whom are in a critical condition.
The injured included a London transport police officer who was one of the first responders on the scene. He was stabbed in the face, head, and leg.
An off-duty police officer was also injured and remains in critical condition.
A 30-year-old Canadian woman and a 27-year-old Frenchman were among those killed, while seven other French nationals were wounded and another remains unaccounted for.
Two German citizens, two Australians, a couple from New Zealand, one Bulgarian national and a Greek citizen were also injured.
One Spanish citizen and an Australian national are still unaccounted for.
- The investigation -
Police carried out fresh raids Monday and arrested “a number of people” in east London after detaining 12 people a day earlier in the suburb of Barking.
But all 10 people still being held were released without charge late Monday.
The white Renault van used in the assault was recently hired by one of the attackers, police added.
London police said more officers — armed and unarmed — would be deployed across the city, and there would be additional security measures on the city’s bridges.
A similar attack in March on Westminster bridge, carried out by 52-year-old Briton Khalid Masood, killed five people and injured more than 50.
- Who is responsible? -
London’s Metropolitan Police on Monday named Khuram Butt and Rachid Redouane as two of the suspected attackers.
Butt was 27 and a British citizen born in Pakistan who was known to security services and even featured in a documentary entitled “The Jihadis Next Door”.
But there had been no evidence of “attack planning”, police said.
Redouane was 30 and “claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan”, national counter-terrorism police chief Mark Rowley said in a statement. Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE reported that Redouane had an Irish residency card and had lived in Dublin.
Prime Minister Theresa May said the attackers were driven by “Islamist extremism”, and the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Saturday’s rampage.
IS previously said it carried out both the Westminster attack and suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester on May 22, which left 22 people dead.
- Where did the attack take place? -London Bridge is one of the main arteries leading into the heart of the City business district.
Borough Market, at the south end of the bridge, is a world-famous food hall and a trendy nightlife area always packed with revellers on a Saturday night.
The Shard skyscraper — Britain’s tallest building and one of the best-known sights on the London skyline — is also at the south end of London Bridge.
The scene of the attack is right next to London Bridge station, a key railway terminus and a busy interchange on the Underground network. Police have cordoned off part of the area to carry out their investigation, which is having an impact on transport.
© Agence France-Presse