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8 minutes of terror: 6 killed in London attacks, 3 suspects shot dead

At least six people were killed and 30 others injured on Saturday in two terror attacks at central London landmarks in which police shot dead three suspects, the third terror incident to strike the United Kingdom this year.

IMAGE: Distraught people leave the area wearing foil blankets after an incident near London Bridge
Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

The attack that took place at London Bridge and Borough Market comes just days ahead of the general election on June 8.

The first incident was reported at London Bridge when a van swerved off the road into a crowd of pedestrians, BBC reported.

A white van driver came speeding — probably about 50 mph — veered off the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement, an eye-witness was quoted by the report.

IMAGE: Some Londoners praised the police for their prompt action. Cops were able to shoot the three suspects who were responsible for the mayhem within eight minutes of receiving the information. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Within minutes, there were reports of a second attack at Borough market on the South Bank of the Thames where three men wielding knives 10 inches long began attacking passersby, even entering one restaurant to attack night diners.

One report suggested throats had been slashed by the marauders, the report said.

Six people were killed in the attack, and at least 30 were taken to hospital, the Metropolitan police said.

“We have now taken over 30 patients to five hospitals across London following the incident at London Bridge. A number of other patients were treated for less serious injuries at the scene,” Peter Rhodes, London Ambulance Service assistant director of operations, said in a statement.

“We declared a major incident and continue to work closely with other members of the emergency services at the scene,” it said.

IMAGE: People flee as police attend to an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain.
Photograph: Hannah McKay/Reuters

The three assailants shot dead by police were wearing fake suicide vests, police said on Sunday.

“The suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes,” Britain’s head of counter-terrorism Mark Rowley said.

IMAGE: People speak with police officers after the incident which saw several people being rushed to hospitals. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Prime Minister Theresa May will chair a Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms meeting.

May said that the “terrible incident” in London is being treated as a “potential act of terrorism”.

The prime minister said: “Following updates from police and security officials, I can confirm that the terrible incident in London is being treated as a potential act of terrorism.”

IMAGE: Police rushed to the scene after reports of a van ramming into people on London Bridge. 
Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

What witnesses saw

Gerard Vowls told The Guardian newspaper that he saw a woman being stabbed by three men at the south end of London Bridge. He said he threw chairs, glasses and bottles at the attackers in a bid to stop them.

“They kept coming to try to stab me. They were stabbing everyone. Evil, evil people,” he told the newspaper. “I want to know if this girl is still alive. I’ve been walking around for an hour and a half crying my eyes out. I don’t know what to do.”

Bartender Alex Martinez said he hid in a garbage bin for a half hour when a man stormed the restaurant where he worked, which was nearly full.

“I saw that man with a knife in his hand and after that a man started screaming so I knew something wrong was happening,” he said.

IMAGE: Police are calling the describing the two episodes as ‘terror incidents’. 
Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

Simon Thompson told Sky News that he was just outside Borough Market when he saw crowds fleeing.

“We ran for like 100 metres and then saw loads of police cars turned up and there was kind of a period of quite intense gunfire,” he said. “I hid in a restaurant basement for about an hour. … Police told us to get out and then there was more gunfire.”

IMAGE: The attack comes almost two weeks after 22 people died in a suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester. Photograph: Hannah Mckay/Reuters

It was the third terror attack to strike the UK this year, after a man drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March and the bomb attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester two weeks ago.

On 22 May, 22 people were killed and 116 injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

The attacker, identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, detonated a home-made bomb in the arena’s foyer as crowds were leaving a performance by US singer Ariana Grande late in the evening.

On 22 March, six people died, including the attacker, and at least 50 people were injured in an attack near the Houses of Parliament.

Attacker Khalid Masood first drove his car at pedestrians on the pavement on Westminster Bridge before crashing into a perimeter fence. Masood, armed with a knife, then left the vehicle and ran towards Parliament, where he was shot dead by police.

— With inputs from agencies

Source: Rediff