LONDONBritain came under terrorist attack for the third time in less than three months on Saturday night as Scotland Yard warned Londoners to run and hide after at least 20 people were killed or injured by a marauding gang of terrorists.
Pedestrians were mowed down by a white van that swerved into a crowd on London Bridge. The vehicle continued to Borough market on the southern bank of the River Thames, where witnesses claimed that several men with long-bladed weapons began to attack people in the street and the crowded pubs and restaurants.
As police officers in tactical gear swooped into the popular party district, volleys of automatic gunfire reverberated through the cobbled streets.
Unconfirmed eyewitness reports suggested that the attack was carried out by a gang of terrorists. One survivor showed video footage to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal that reportedly showed the bodies of three attackers who had canisters strapped to their chests.
Officers have not said whether all of the suspected attackers have been apprehended, but they were continuing to operate as though an active manhunt may be underway late into the night.
A series of blasts were heard well after midnight, which may have been controlled explosions used by the police as they battled to secure the area.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the situation was still unfolding. The Metropolitan Police are responding to the horrific terrorist attack at London Bridge and Borough Market, he said. We don't yet know the full details, but 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.
The London Ambulance Service said at least 20 patients had been taken to six hospitals.
Live television pictures showed one man being detained near the scene shortly before midnight local time (7pm EST) but it was unclear if he had any involvement in the latest chilling attack to target British civilians enjoying a night out.
The atrocity comes on the eve of a benefit concert which was scheduled to be held in Manchester on Sunday in memory of the victims of a bombing attack that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande show just 12 days ago.
Scotland Yard confirmed that they were treating the incidents as acts of terror. Prime Minister Theresa May said: "I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism."
Eyewitness accounts being pieced togetherwith limited information released by the policeduring the early hours of Sunday morning appeared to indicate that the rampage began on the southern end of London Bridge just after 10 oclock at night.
A vehicle mounted the sidewalk, smashing into pedestrians. A white van driver came speedingprobably about 50mphveered off the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement, said Holly Jones, a BBC reporter, who was on the bridge. 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. Id say there are about four severely injured people.
The van then crashed into a lamppost and came to a halt outside a popular pub called the Barrowboy & Banker which is opposite London Bridge stationone of the citys busiest transport hubs. The pub stands just above Borough market, which is arguably Londons finest food market.
With the vehicle now stationary, the attackers leapt out and ran towards the busy bars and restaurants in the streets below.
Countless witnesses have spoken of two or three assailants carrying knives or machetes up to a foot-long in the streets around Borough market. They used those weapons to continue their indiscriminate attack, slashing at customers who were gathered outside the Black and Blue steakhouse and the Southwark Tavern.
Security staff at another pub, called the Wheatsheaf, blockaded the entrances as the armed men approached. The doors were locked by the bar staff. Three men with big hunting knives were outside. They were trying to get in the pub but the doors were locked. They were smashing the windows,a witness told The Sun.
I saw at least one man stabbed in the chest about five times.
Heavily armed officers arrived at the scene just as these assailants were trying to gain entry to the pub. Armed police turned up, I saw them shoot at least two of the guys in front of me, the witness said.
Gabriele Sciotto, an Italian visitor to London, said he saw three men shot by the armed response teams. One of the men, who was lying by a barrier outside the Wheatsheaf appeared to have a series of canisters strapped to his chest.
Sciotto told the BBC that could not imagine it was a real suicide vest. If it had indeed been a viable explosive device, scores more people could have been killed if the terrorists had succeeded in getting into the packed pub before they were taken out.
An eyewitness later told Sky News that he had seen two firearms officers fire automatic weapons into the Brindisa tapas bar on the corner of the market.
Will Heaven, managing editor of the Spectator magazine, told Sky of the moment that he realized another terrorist assault on Britain was unfolding in front of him.
I was in the back of an Uber cab driving south over London Bridge. Suddenly on the left-hand side on the bridge there was somebody down on the pavement with a small crowd around them, clearly concerned. I thought someone had collapsed.
We drove a little further over the bridge. There was another person in the road itself. The penny dropped that something quite serious was happening.
Police originally reported that a third incident had occurred further along the south bank in Vauxhall was potentially connected, but it turned out to be an unrelated stabbing.
The Department of Homeland Security said it was monitoring the events in London closely, but there was no information to indicate a specific, credible terror threat in the United States.
More From this publisher : HERE