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London Bridge Attack: What We Know (05/06/2017)

After the terrorist attack in London that left 8 dead and 48 wounded on Saturday, here is what we know about the victims, the attackers, and the government response.

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On Saturday night, seven people were killed and at least 48 wounded after three men ploughed through a crowd on London Bridge and then went on a stabbing spree in Borough Market while wearing fake suicide vests. 21 of the casualties are still in critical condition, according to The Royal Hospital in London.

The three attackers began their spree around 10pm and were killed by police officers at 10:16pm, approximately 8 minutes after the authorities were notified.

By Sunday evening, 12 more suspects had been arrested in east London in an ongoing investigation. On Monday, two more police raids took place in the London neighborhoods of Barking and Newham.

One neighbor told CNN’s Melissa Bell that she recognized one of the suspects on TV: “All of the sudden we saw this individual speaking to the kids about Islam and them how to pray. I could see them from my window”, said Erica Gasperri, who reported the man to the police but no action was taken at the time.

On Sunday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement on its website: “A detachment of Islamic State fighters executed yesterday’s London attack.”

While the authorities have not yet released details about the organizers behind the attack, it needs to be noted that ISIS frequently takes credit for actions that it had no hand in guiding, both in order to gin up support and to make it seem a more effective organization than it is.

Also on Sunday, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley told the press that “significant progress” had been made in identifying the attackers.

Eight police officers reportedly fired an unprecedented 50 rounds in order to stop the three attackers, with one round grazing a bystander’s head during the incident (he is expected to make a full recovery). Two on-duty officers were injured trying to subdue the attackers.

Armed police were not the only ones involved in ending the attack. A transit police officer attempted to take down all three of the attackers with a baton. He was stabbed in the face but is in stable condition. An off-duty officer was stabbed after tackling one of the attackers with his bare hands. Witnesses to the scene said civilians also defended themselves from by throwing glasses and bottles at the attackers.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan informed the public that there will be more armed police on the streets in London on Monday, but that there is no reason to be alarmed by their presence.

In a video statement, the mayor added: “I am appalled and furious that these twisted and cowardly terrorists deliberately targeted innocent Londoners and visitors to our city who were just enjoying their Saturday night.”

At least four Australians, seven French, one Canadian and one New Zealander were killed or injured during the attack. Foreign nationals from Germany and Spain are also among the injured.

This is the third major terrorist attack in the UK this year and the second one to take place in London. The incident occurred less than two weeks after the most recent bombing at a Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed 23 and injured 119. Grande held a benefit concert for the victims in front 60,000 on Sunday, less than 24-hours after the London incident.

The first incident in London took place on March 22nd, when an attacker drove into a crowd of civilians on Westminster Bridge, killing three civilians and a police officer before being shot by authorities. 50 people were injured.

According to BBC reporter Holly Jones, who witnessed the scene on Saturday, the driver was “probably traveling at about 50 miles per hour” when he struck “five or six people.”

A witness who identified himself as “Gerard” told the BBC that he heard the attackers shouting, “this is for Allah” as they went on their stabbing spree.

Prime Minister Theresa May called the incident a “brutal terrorist attack”, adding, “There is far too much tolerance for extremism in our country.”

“(The three attacks of 2017) are bound together by the single evil ideology that is Islamic extremism” said the Prime Minister, who concluded, “Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our times” and emphasizing the need to crack down on fundamentalists organizing through the internet.

May convened a meeting with the emergency Cabinet committee known as “Cobra” in response to the attack on Monday. The snap election scheduled for Thursday will go on as planned.

London Bridge has been sectioned off for the investigation, but the Underground station will remain open.

A vigil will be held Monday evening near London Bridge, and moment of silence for the victims will be held on Tuesday at 11am local time.


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