On 3 June 2017, a terrorist vehicle-ramming and stabbing took place in London, England. A van was deliberately driven into pedestrians on London Bridge before crashing on the south bank of the River Thames. Its three occupants then ran to the nearby Borough Market area and began stabbing people in and around restaurants and pubs. The attackers were Islamists inspired by Islamic State (ISIS). They were shot dead by Metropolitan Police officers and were found to be wearing fake explosive vests. Eight people were killed and 48 were injured, including members of the public and four unarmed police officers who attempted to stop the assailants.
The attack was carried out using a white Renault van hired earlier on the same evening in Harold Hill, Havering by Khuram Butt. He had intended to hire a 7.5 tonne truck, but was refused due to his failure to provide payment details. The attackers were armed with 12-inch (30 cm) kitchen knives with ceramic blades, which they tied to their wrists with leather straps. They also prepared fake explosive belts by wrapping water bottles in grey tape.
After the van crashed on Borough High Street, the three attackers ran to Stoney Street adjoining Borough Market, where they stabbed four people in the Boro Bistro pub. Bottles and chairs were thrown at the attackers by members of the public. Witnesses claimed that the attackers were shouting "This is for Allah".
People in and around a number of other restaurants and bars along Stoney Street were also attacked. A Romanian baker hit one of the attackers over the head with a crate before giving shelter to 20 people inside a bakery inside Borough Market.
The three attackers were then shot dead by armed officers from the City of London and Metropolitan police services eight minutes after the initial emergency call was made. CCTV footage showed the three attackers in Borough Market running at the armed officers; the attackers were shot dead 20 seconds later. A total of 46 rounds were fired by three City of London and five Metropolitan Police officers.
Bollards installed on London Bridge to prevent future attacks
The Metropolitan Police issued 'Run, Hide, Tell' notices, and asked for the public to remain calm and vigilant.
All buildings within the vicinity of London Bridge were evacuated, and London Bridge, Borough and Bank Underground stations were closed at the request of the police.
The mainline railway stations at London Bridge, Waterloo East, Charing Cross and Cannon Street were also closed. The Home Secretary approved the deployment of a military counter terrorist unit from the Special Air Service (SAS). The helicopters carrying the SAS landed on London Bridge to support the Metropolitan Police because of concerns that there might be more attackers at large.
A stabbing incident took place in Vauxhall at 23:45 BST, causing Vauxhall station to be briefly closed; this was later confirmed to be unrelated to the attack.
At 01:45 BST on 4 June, controlled explosions took place to make safe the attackers' bomb vests, which were found to be fake.
An emergency COBRA meeting was held on the morning of 4 June. London Bridge mainline railway and Underground stations remained closed throughout 4 June, while Borough tube station reopened that evening. A cordon was established around the scene of the attack. London Bridge station reopened at 05:00 on Monday 5 June.
New security measures were implemented on eight central London bridges following the attack to reduce the likelihood of further vehicle attacks, with concrete barriers installed. The barriers have been criticised by cyclists for causing severe congestion in cycle lanes during peak hours.
Eight innocent individuals died: one Spaniard, one Briton, two Australians, one Canadian and three French citizens were killed by the attackers, and the three attackers themselves were killed by armed police. 48 people were injured in the attack, including one New Zealander, two Australians, two Germans and four French citizens; of the 48 people admitted to hospital, 21 were initially reported to be in a critical condition. One body was pulled from the Thames near Limehouse several days after the attack. Three of the fatalities were caused in the initial vehicle-ramming attack, while the remaining five were stabbed to death.
Four police officers were among those injured in the attack. A British Transport Police officer was stabbed and suffered serious injuries to his head, face and neck. An off-duty Metropolitan Police officer was seriously injured when he was stabbed. Two other Metropolitan Police officers received head and arm injuries. An unidentified bystander received an accidental gunshot wound as a result of the police gunfire, which was "not critical".
On 4 June the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said that "We are confident about the fact that they were radical Islamic terrorists, the way they were inspired, and we need to find out more about where this radicalisation came from." Later that day, Amaq News Agency, an online outlet associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said the attackers were ISIS fighters. On 5 June, two of the attackers were identified as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane. The third of the three attackers, Youssef Zaghba, was identified the following day.
Butt (born 20 April 1990) was a Pakistan-born British citizen whose family came from Jhelum. He grew up in Britain, living in Plaistow. He had a wife and two children. Neighbours told the BBC that Butt had been reported to police for attempting to radicalise children; he had also expressed disgust at the way women dressed. He was known to police as a "heavyweight" member of the banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun. A BBC interviewee said he had a verbal confrontation with Butt in 2013 on the day after another Al-Muhajiroun follower had murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby.
Butt had worked for a man accused of training Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 2005 London bombing. The police and MI5 knew of Butt and he was investigated in 2015. The investigation was later "moved into the lower echelons", and his file was classed low priority.
Butt sometimes manned the desk of the Ummah Fitness Centre gym, where he prayed regularly. CCTV footage has been released of Butt, Redouane and Zaghba meeting outside the gym days before the attack. A senior figure at a local mosque had reported the gym to police.
The New York Times said that Butt and his brother were part of the UK government's Prevent programme, which aims to stop people from becoming terrorists, and which reports suspected radicals to police programmes. At the time of the attack he was on police bail following an allegation of fraud, though the police had intended to take no further action due to a lack of evidence. He had previously been cautioned by police for fraud in 2008 and common assault in 2010.
Redouane (born 31 July 1986) claimed to be either Moroccan or Libyan, a failed asylum seeker to the UK, whose application was denied in 2009. and not previously known to police. Redouane worked as a pastry chef and in 2012 he married an Irish woman in a ceremony in Ireland. He beat and bullied his wife. She eventually divorced him after he tried to force his extremist beliefs on her. He used to drink alcohol. He lived variously in Rathmines, a suburb of Dublin, also in Morocco and the UK. According to his wife, Redouane was most likely radicalised in Morocco. Later the couple stayed in the UK on an Irish residency card where they had a daughter in 2015. The couple separated in 2016. At the time of the attack, he was living in Dagenham, East London.
Zaghba (born 1995 in Fez, Morocco) was at the time of the attack living in east London where he worked in a fast food outlet. He also worked at an Islamic television channel in London. Zaghba was born to a Moroccan Muslim father and an Italian Catholic Christian mother who had converted to Islam when she had married. Zaghba had dual Moroccan and Italian nationality. When his parents divorced, he went to Italy with his mother. In 2016, Zaghba was stopped at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport by Italian officers who found ISIS-related materials on his mobile phone; he was stopped from continuing his journey to Istanbul. Italian authorities said Zaghba was monitored continuously while in Italy and that the UK was informed about him. Giuseppe Amato, an Italian prosecutor, said "We did our best. We could just monitor and surveil ... [Zaghba] and send a note to British authorities, that's all we could do and we did it. Since he moved to London, he came back to Italy once in a while for a total of 10 days. And during those 10 days we never let him out of our sight."
According to The New York Times, the Italian branch of Al-Muhajiroun had introduced Butt to Zaghba.
On the morning of 4 June, police made twelve arrests following raids in flats in the Barking area of east London, where one of the attackers lived; controlled explosions were carried out during the raids. Those held included five males aged between 27 and 55, arrested at one address in Barking, and six females aged between 19 and 60, arrested at a separate Barking address. One of the arrested males was subsequently released without charge. Four properties were being searched, including two in Newham in addition to the two in Barking. Further raids and arrests were made at properties in Newham and Barking early on the morning of 5 June. On 6 June, a man was arrested in Barking, and another in Ilford the following day. By 16 June, all those arrested had been released without charge.
Floral tributes left on London Bridge following the attack
Prime MinisterTheresa May returned to Downing Street from campaigning for the upcoming snap general election. May, on the morning after the attack, said the incident was being treated as terrorism, and that the recent terror attacks in the UK are "bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism" which "is a perversion of Islam". As part of a four-point plan to tackle terrorism, she called for tighter internet regulations to "deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online", saying that technology firms were not currently doing enough. May's stance on the role of the internet and social media in enabling radicalisation was criticised by the Open Rights Group and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence. May was also criticised for using the speech to detail policy measures to respond to the terror threat, which some saw as contrary to her pledge to pause campaigning out of respect for the victims. May said a review would be carried out by the police and intelligence agencies to establish whether the attack could have been prevented, and on 28 June Home Secretary Amber Rudd commissioned David Anderson QC to provide independent assurance of the review work.
^Jeremy Corbyn (3 June 2017). "Tweet Number 871146009086263297". Twitter. Retrieved 5 June 2017. Brutal and shocking incidents reported in London. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Thank you to the emergency services.
^Tim Farron (3 June 2017). "Tweet Number 871145236000649216". Twitter. Retrieved 5 June 2017. Tonight's horrific incidents in London remind us how much we owe our emergency services. My thoughts and prayers with everyone affected.
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