The three terrorists who killed seven people and injured 48 more in a knife and van attack in central London were shot dead by police, it was confirmed today.
The attackers, understood to have been wearing fake suicide vests, were eliminated by armed police after their targeted attack on people enjoying a Saturday night out near London Bridge and Borough Market.
Attackers brought carnage to the streets of the London, stabbing a police officer and revellers with 12-inch knives, reportedly shouting “this is for Allah”.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick this morning condemned the “appalling and tragic” attack.
Speaking at a press conference outside Scotland Yard, Ms Dick paid tribute to those who “ran towards the danger” in a bid to save lives.
She said: “Many, many people risked their own safety to help others and to treat those seriously injured and indeed to confront the suspects involved.
“It is clear to be that the courage of those people was extraordinary and I pay tribute to all of them who came to the aid of those in need during this dreadful attack and I am sure helped to save lives.”
Ms Dick added that while it was believed all of the suspects had been “neutralised” a police cordon remained in the place around Borough High Street to ensure “everyone had been accounted for”.
Speaking directly to those within the cordon, the commissioner advised them to “stay inside” and thanked all those involved in the “terrifying” attack for their “forbearance” while police carried out an investigation.
Witnesses told of their horror at seeing the van, travelling at about 50mph, strike people walking along the pavement on London Bridge.
Holly Jones, a BBC reporter, who was at London Bridge, said: “A white van driver came speeding – probably about 50mph – veered off the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement.
“He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.”
Witness Eric described the terror attack as a “rampage”.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live he saw three people get out the van and initially believed they were going to help those who had been injured.
He said: “The three people literally started kicking them, punching them, and took out knives. It was a rampage really.”
The three men ran off towards the nearby bars and restaurants and there was a shout of “this is for Allah”, he told the station.
Another witness called Gerard said the suspects stabbed a series of people near Borough Market and shouted, “This is for Allah”.
Liam Connell was in Katzenjammers Bierhall in Southwark Street, where customers were told to evacuate by staff before armed police told them to get on the ground.
He told the Press Association: “Then someone came in off the street and he had a white cuff around his neck.
“(The man) said he had been stabbed in the neck and I was holding his bandage and wound while he was talking to the police.”
Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “I am appalled and angered by the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market, in my home city.
“These acts of violence were truly shocking and I condemn them in the strongest terms.
“Muslims everywhere are outraged and disgusted at these cowards who once again have destroyed the lives of our fellow Britons.
“That this should happen in this month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation hospital said it was “on lockdown” to keep patients, relatives and staff safe, while a picture on social media showed armed police outside the Andaz Hotel in Liverpool Street, where the walking wounded were reportedly taken.
London Ambulance Service Assistant Director of Operations Peter Rhodes said: “We took 48 patients to five hospitals across London and treated a number of others at the scene for minor injuries.”
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police said: “At this stage, we believe that six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot dead by police. And at least 20 casualties have been taken to six hospitals across London.
“We believe three people were involved but we still have some more inquiries to be 100% confident on that.”
He added officers were treating the incident as terrorism and additional police would be deployed in the capital.
Police have opened a casualty bureau line for people concerned about loved ones on 0800 0961 233.
The attack has received widespread condemnation from political leaders, with London mayor Sadiq Khan calling it “deliberate and cowardly”.
He said: “This was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night.
“I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.”
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events.”
The Government’s Cobra emergency committee will meet on Sunday, Downing Street said.
Media in France reported that two French citizens were injured in the attack.
A statement from the Elysee said: “The attack which struck London, days after that which took place in Manchester, is a new abominable and cowardly attack against our free society.
“Fellow French citizens are among the injured. France is putting everything in place to assist them.”
BBC reporter Holly Jones was at the bridge when the incident happened, and was told by an injured French woman that she did not know where the two people who had been with her were.
Ms Jones said: “She told me in French: ‘I don’t know where those two other people are.’ So the police are checking the Thames.
“They were right near the edge of the bridge. It looks potentially they could have been thrown over.”
Fourteen people injured in the attack were taken to King’s College Hospital, in Denmark Hill, south London.
A spokesman said: “The Emergency Department at King’s College Hospital (Denmark Hill) received 14 casualties (six females and eight males) following the incidents at London Bridge and Borough Market in central London.
“One patient has been discharged.”