London terror attack trio met with hail of bullets - nation bloodied but unbowed
- Seven people killed in London Bridge and Borough Market attacks
- Three attackers shot dead by police
- Unprecedented' 50 rounds fired at terrorists
- 21 of 48 injured are critically ill in hospital
Police opened fire with an "unprecedented" hail of 50 bullets to kill three knifemen whose eight-minute wave of terror in central London left seven people dead and 21 fighting for their lives.
The terrorists brought carnage to the streets of the capital, mowing down pedestrians with a van on London Bridge before stabbing a police officer and revellers around Borough Market with 12in blades. One of the attackers shouted "this is for Allah" as he knifed a man near a pub. Saturday night's atrocity was the third terrorist outrage to hit the country this year.
The three attackers, wearing fake suicide bomb vests, were shot dead by eight officers outside a pub, while a bystander was injured when they were accidentally hit by a stray bullet.
Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a stark assessment of the threat facing the UK, saying that although there was no direct link between the three incidents, "terrorism breeds terrorism".
People from around the world were caught up in the incident as hundreds cowered in pubs and restaurants, barricading themselves inside as the attackers stalked the streets.
Tales of heroism emerged in the aftermath, with one British Transport Police officer taking on the trio armed only with his baton before being stabbed in the head, face and leg.
Forty-eight people were left in hospital, 21 critically injured.
Canadian authorities confirmed one of its citizens had died, while French officials said a French person too was among the dead, another is missing and four are seriously injured in hospital.
As counter-terrorism police units and security services launched a huge investigation for the third time in a matter of weeks, officers arrested 12 people in raids on flats in east London.
Witnesses to Saturday night's attack said the terrorists deliberately drove into pedestrians on London Bridge shortly after 10pm, in the same way as Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood.
Attacking people after abandoning the van, they headed to Borough Market where the pubs and restaurants were packed with Saturday night crowds, many watching the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid in Cardiff.
One woman, Elizabeth O'Neill, said her son Daniel was approached by one of the men who said, 'this is for my family, this is for Islam', before sticking a knife in him.
The 23-year-old was left with a seven-inch wound from his stomach to his back, and was saved by a friend who applied a tourniquet.
With her son being treated in King's College Hospital, Mrs O'Neill condemned the terrorists as "callous and barbaric", saying: "These people say they are doing it in the name of god which is an absolute joke."
Cordons remained in place around much of London Bridge and Borough Market last night, and sources said the area was expected to remain closed today.
My thoughts are with the families & friends of those who have lost their lives and been injured in the horrific London attacks.— michelle oneill (@moneillsf) June 4, 2017
My thoughts are with the people of London, the injured and the emergency services as they support those in need.— Robin Swann MLA (@RobinSwannUUP) June 3, 2017
SF condemns London attacks. Sympathy is with victims.— Gerry Adams (@GerryAdamsSF) June 4, 2017
I hope everyone caught up in the incident on London Bridge is OK.— Colum Eastwood (@columeastwood) June 3, 2017
Giving an update on the investigation outside New Scotland Yard, the Met's assistant commissioner, Mark Rowley, said "significant progress" had been made in identifying the attackers. He added that as well as more armed police on patrol across the capital in coming days, "the public will also see increased physical measures in order to keep public safe on London's bridges".
The Government's emergency Cobra committee met yesterday afternoon, for the second time that day, to discuss Saturday night's attack.