Reports that have just arrived from London say a suspected terrorist who was slashing people indiscriminately has been shot dead on Britain’s historic London Bridge. The authorities said that several people were stabbed. The man who was shot at was wearing “a hoax explosive device”, the police said. Neil Basu, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said, “It has been declared a terrorist incident.”
Earlier this November, Britain had lowered its national terrorism threat level from “severe” to “substantial”. That was the lowest level since 2014.
A video that went viral on social media shows a motley crowd wrestling with the suspect, pinning him to the ground when police arrived.
Then, the video shows, a man carrying a large knife running away from the spot and three police officers approach the suspect, drawing their guns.
The policemen yell, urging civilians in the area to move, and then one of the cops opens fire. People around the cops scream. Basu confirmed the death of the suspect: “A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from City of London police and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene.”
Basu said, “Due to reports that the suspect may have had an explosive device, specialist officers attended the scene. However, I can confirm at this time, we believe a device strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device.”
The police have cordoned off the area with their vehicles.
Earlier, the British Police had evacuated and surrounded the historic London Bridge on Friday citing an ‘incident’. People were urged not to venture to that area. However, it was still unclear what had happened in the ‘incident’.
According to police, several people have been injured in the knife attack. A suspect has been detained. Some reports indicate that the sound of firing has been heard in the area.
Scotland Yard issued a statement saying, “We are at an early stage in relation to the London Bridge incident.” The police appealed to the people in their statement, “If you are near the spot, follow the instructions of the officers present there.”
Until an hour ago, it was not entirely clear whether it was a shootout or a knife attack or some other form of terrorist activity. The London Metropolitan Police told the media that the police received a call at 1:57 PM (London time) that someone had been stabbed near the London Bridge. One person had been detained, the authority had revealed until then. “We feel that some people have been injured. More information is being collected,” they said.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tweeted that he is constantly seeking information about the incident. He wrote he was constantly being briefed about the London Bridge incident. He thanked the police and all emergency services for acting immediately.
The authority finally confirmed it was a terror incident. “Due to the nature of the incident, we responded as though this was terrorist-related. I am now in a position to declare it is a terrorist incident. Officers from the Met counter-terrorism command are now leading this investigation,” Basu said.
London Bridge and the bloody history of 2017
Eight people had been stabbed to death by Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba on this very bridge in 2017 in the previous terror attack. That was an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in June that year. The terrorists had stabbed people indiscriminately and mowed down pedestrians with a car.
A month before that incident, a suicide bomber had killed 22 children and adults and wounded 59 inside a packed concert hall in Manchester during a programme by American singer Ariana Grande. That was a bllody year in English history as, in March 2017, a militant stabbed a policeman near the Parliament buildings while a car ran over pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge. Six people had died in that incident, which included the attacker and the cop he knifed. Also, 20 were injured.