Sunday, June 4, 2017

London Terrorist Attacks Strike a Nation Still Reeling

The attacks came a few days before a snap election that has major implications for the country’s future outside the European Union. Across London, and Britain, there was a sense of fear that a way of life was under attack, but also a determination to carry on.
The prime minister was expected to speak later on Sunday morning and also convene a meeting of the government emergency response committee, known as Cobra.
Expressions of support poured in from Europe, the United States and beyond. French President Emmanuel Macron said, “France is more than ever at Britain’s side.” He also said French nationals were among the victims. The Australian leader also said citizens of his nation were among the injured.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said, “We are united beyond all borders in horror and sorrow, but also in determination.”
President Trump tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there — WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”
A White House spokesman said Mr. Trump had been briefed by his national security aides on the unfolding events in London.
Mr. Trump also spoke with Mrs. May, offering his condolences for the attacks and praising the response of the police, White House officials said. He offered the full support of the United States government in investigating the attacks.
No motive has been ascribed to the attackers, but on the messaging app Telegram, members and supporters of the Islamic State shared a poster that calls for supporters to attack people with guns, knives and trucks during the Holy Month of Ramadan, which began last weekend.

On Saturday night, ambulances rushed to the scene, people fled in panic, restaurants and hotels were evacuated, and helicopters flew overhead.
Witnesses described horrible scenes.
Holly Jones, a BBC reporter who was on the bridge when the van crashed, said it was driven by a man and was “probably traveling at about 50 miles an hour.” She said that at least five people were being treated for injuries after the vehicle drove on the sidewalk and hit them.
“He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people,” Ms. Jones said. “He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.”
A witness, who identified himself as Andrew, said he was in the area at a bar, heard “a massive bang” and saw a van hitting the rail of the road.
“Next 10 seconds later, there was a guy with a big knife, I mean, a big knife,” he told LBC Radio.
Andrew said he jumped over a fence, got to a footpath and there was “a dead guy lying on the floor.” He hid for a few seconds in bushes nearby, then, he said, “I ran for my life.”


How the Attacks in London Unfolded

Three attackers drove a white van into pedestrians on the London Bridge on Saturday night before stabbing people at nearby Borough Market.
OPEN Graphic

At the market, Ben, who did not give his last name, told the BBC that he and his wife, Natalie, saw someone being stabbed.
“I saw a man in red with quite a large blade — I don’t know the measurement, I guess maybe 10 inches,” Ben said. “He was stabbing a man. He stabbed him about three times fairly calmly.”
Ben added, “He was being stabbed quite coldly and he slumped to the ground.”
He then said someone threw a table and a bottle at the man with the knife, but “then we heard three gunshots and we ran.”
A man named Gerard told the BBC that he saw men stabbing everyone they could and shouting “this is for Allah.”
He saw three men with knives “and they stabbed a girl,” he said. “So I follow them, toward Borough Market, they were running into the pubs and bars and stabbing everyone. They were running up, saying this is for Allah, and they run up and stabbed this girl 10, maybe 15 times.”
Lorna Murray, 44, said she was about to drive over London Bridge when traffic stopped and people ran toward her car. “We ducked down in our car, assuming there was a stabbing,” she said. “Then this young couple started banging on the doors trying to get into our car for safety. We took them in but couldn’t let anyone else in because we had a baby in the back.”
The police told everyone to leave their cars and get away. “When I got out the car everything was a blur, but I saw a woman with blood all over her face,” she said.
Tim Hodge, 37, a security officer at a nearby office building on the south side of the bridge, described “huge crowds” running and screaming. “There was so much panic and so many of the people were drunk, which made them more hysterical,” he said.
Alex Shellum was in the Mudlark pub, underneath London Bridge, with his girlfriend. He told the BBC about an injured woman who came into the pub: “She was bleeding heavily from the neck. It appeared that her throat had been cut.”
Gabriele Sciotto, a photographer returning from a bar, saw the police confronting three men outside the Wheatsheaf bar on Stoney Street and ordering them to get down. Two of the men were shot by police, he said.
“They looked like they had some explosive belts,” Mr. Sciotto said. “The police didn’t know what was going on honestly. They shouted at them to go down, to stop moving. It was very chaotic.”
The police said the suspects were wearing what looked like explosive vests but they were later established to be hoaxes.
Mr. Sciotto took a photograph, which he later posted to Instagram, that appeared to show at least two men on the ground.
“At the moment these people were shot it was just me, the men and the police,” Mr. Sciotto said.