British authorities are investigating the third major terror attack in the UK in under three months.
Seven people were killed and nearly 50 injured in a series of coordinated attacks in London on Saturday night.
In March five people were killed in a car and knife attack near Parliament in London, and two weeks ago 22 people died in a suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester.
Police believe all of the attackers were killed in the latest attack, but investigations are underway to ensure there are no more.
It all took place at a time when the terror level in the UK had been reduced to severe from critical – meaning an attack was thought highly likely though there was no knowledge of an imminent threat.
It took a familiar, horrifying form: as with the Westminster attack in March, a van was driven at speed – apparently on the wrong side of the road – into crowds of people. Three men then got out of the vehicle and began stabbing people at random on the bridge and in the nearby Borough market packed with bars and restaurants.
The police response was quick – the attackers were eliminated within minutes.
Overnight Mark Rowley, Assistant Commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, made a statement:
“At eight minutes past 10 (2208 local time, 2108 GMT) last night, we began to receive reports that a vehicle had struck pedestrians on London Bridge. The vehicle continued to drive then from London Bridge to Borough Market. The suspects left the vehicle, attempting to stab a number of people, including an on-duty British Transport Police officer who was responding to the incident, and he received serious injuries – fortunately not life-threatening,” he said.
There was a huge response from emergency services – they have long rehearsed for scenes like this.
On Sunday morning it was known that 48 people are being treated in hospital. The Prime Minister Theresa May was to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency COBRA committee.
The surrounding district of Southwark was put on lockdown. Unlike the Westminster and Manchester attacks, where there was speculation over whether an individual had acted alone, there is no doubt about this one: this was a coordinated attack involving several assailants.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.