Home United States USA — Criminal ISIS claims responsibility for London terror attack that killed 7, injured 48

ISIS claims responsibility for London terror attack that killed 7, injured 48


LONDON — Armed officers responding to the London Bridge terror attack fired an “unprecedented” number of rounds at the three attackers because they were wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, police said.
LONDON — Armed officers responding to the London Bridge terror attack fired an “unprecedented” number of rounds at the three attackers because they were wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, police said.
Eight officers fired 50 shots at three attackers to ensure they were neutralized, said Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner for specialist operations in the Metropolitan Police Service. Rowley is Britain’s most senior counterterrorism office.
The suicide belts were later determined to be fake, suggesting the attackers deliberately used the belts to ensure they would be killed. Rowley said he was “not surprised” at the police response.
Seven people died and 48 were injured when three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before leaping out and launching a stabbing spree in nearby bars and restaurants.
The ISIS-linked Amaq Agency claimed a “detachment of Islamic State fighters” carried out the attack, but CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank cautioned that ISIS has provided no evidence to back up its claim. Amaq also claimed ISIS was behind the attack at a resort in Manila last week, despite Filipino authorities asserting it was not terror-related.
British Prime Minister Theresa May claimed there was “too much tolerance” of Islamist extremism in the United Kingdom as she vowed a clampdown in the wake of the third terror attack to hit the UK this year.
Latest developments
— A large area south of London Bridge was cordoned off as intense police investigation continues.
— Thirty-six victims were still being treated in London hospitals Sunday, with 21 in a critical condition.
— Police carried out raids Sunday morning in Barking, east London, arresting 12 people, one of whom has been released.
— May says police have disrupted five “credible” terror plots since the Westminster bridge attack in late March.
Arrests and raids
Police arrested 12 people Sunday after carrying out raids in Barking, east London, one of whom, a 55-year-old man, was released without bond, Rowley said.
The 55-year-old was among 11 people — five men and six women, ranging in age from 19 to 60 — arrested at one address in Barking. Another woman, 38, was arrested at another Barking address, he said. All those arrested were being detained under the Terrorism Act, Rowley said.
Ikenna Chigbo, in an interview with Britain’s Independent Television News, described one of those arrested in the Barking raids as a nice guy who regularly invited neighbors to barbecues and played football and table tennis with them.
“Yesterday — I’ m actually in the process of moving home at the moment — I hired a van moving some bits. He came to me. He was a little bit overnice, ” Chigbo told the station. “He said to me, ‘Where can I get a van like that?’ Asking me all the details like how much was it, where he could get a van — basically because, he said to me, ‘I might be moving shortly with my family as well.’”
Police also confirmed Sunday that 36 people remain in the hospital with 21 of those in critical condition.
Rowley described the scene faced by officers when they arrived at Borough Market on Saturday night and explained why they used 50 rounds of bullets.
“The situation these officers were confronted with was critical, a matter of life and death. Three armed men, wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, had already attacked and killed members of the public and had to be stopped immediately, ” he said.
Rowley paid tribute to a transport police officer who ran toward the assailants armed only with his baton.
He also confirmed that a member of the public suffered a gunshot wound during the shooting. His condition was not life-threatening.
‘Enough is enough’
Earlier Sunday, May insisted that while the recent attacks in Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge were unconnected, they were bound together by the “single evil ideology of Islamist extremism.”
She also said that while progress had been made, there remained “far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.”
Speaking at Downing Street five days before the UK general election, May described the latest attack as “brutal” and said extremism had to be defeated. “We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are, ” she said. “Enough is enough.”
May said that Britain’s counterterrorism strategy would be reviewed, and warned that the Internet could no longer remain a “safe space” for extremists.
‘Bodies in the road’
The attack began late Saturday night, when a white Renault rental van swerved into crowds of pedestrians on London Bridge, leaving bodies lying in the roadway, according to witnesses. At least one pedestrian is thought to have jumped into the Thames to escape being hit.
The suspects are then believed to have jumped from the van and proceeded on foot toward the nearby area of Borough Market, one of the capital’s most popular nightlife spots.
“Borough Market is in the heart of a strong, diverse and creative community, a community that supports each other and will pull together to show solidarity in the face of this callous attack, ” Donald Hyslop, chairman of the Borough Market trustees, said in a statement.
Eyewitnesses spoke of panic as three men armed with “footlong” knives burst into packed restaurants and cafes, indiscriminately slashing at those inside. Many customers fought off the attackers, using chairs, pint glasses and bottles. Others hid behind tables and inside bathrooms, or attempted to flee.
Stories of the wounded
One of those hurt in the attack was Australian Candice Hedge, who was stabbed in the neck, her mother told CNN Sunday. Kimberley Del Toro said her daughter had been unable to speak since she was wounded.
“I was able to Skype with her and she gave me a thumbs up. Thank God no major artery was cut. It could have been much worse, ” she told CNN, adding that Hedge’s boyfriend was at her bedside.
Daniel O’ Neill, 23, also remains in the hospital after being stabbed, his mother said. His friend applied a tourniquet, she said, explaining she’ d like to find the two police officers who helped stem his bleeding and transported him to the hospital.
“Two police officers remained in the back with him, and they had him lined across them and they placed pressure on the wounds and I’ m trying to find those police officers now to say thank you, ” she told CNN.
French and Australian nationals have been confirmed by their respective governments as among those caught up in the attack. A US State Department official said the department was not aware of any Americans killed. The Canadian government identified one of the victims as citizen Chrissy Archibald. The woman’s family said she had been working in a homeless shelter until she could move to Europe to be with her fiance.
“She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death. Please honor her by making your community a better place, ” the family statement said.
Heightened state of terror
The second terrorist attack in London this year is sure to renew the debate around safety in the capital.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan praised the quick police response and asked Londoners to remain calm but vigilant. He repeated his previous insistence that “London is one of the safest global cities in the world.

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