An eyewitness said that it’s “Westminster all over again”
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service, who lived in the London area for 13 years
LONDON, UK (ANS – June 3, 2017) — A series of coordinated “terror attacks” have hit London on Saturday evening in three different areas, with reports of seven dead, dozens of casualties from stabbings and pedestrians mown down by a vehicle.
According to the Sun newspaper, “Up to seven people were feared dead and 20 hurt in the 10pm attack — amid a second incident at nearby Borough Market which armed police are responding to.”
Staff at a packed pub in London Bridge locked the doors as the gang tried to smash their way in. Witnesses saw one man stabbed in the chest five times.
The gang had metal canisters strapped to their chests and two were gunned down – believe killed — by armed police, witnesses said.
Another three were thought to be still on the run.
One bystander is believed to have been shot in the head by crossfire.
The BBC said that after the white transit van had ploughed into pedestrians as they were walking along London Bridge at 10:08 PM (London time), three people then jumped out of the vehicle and began attacking members of the public with what are believed to be hunting knives. The bridge is now in lockdown.
There were also multiple reports of rapid gunfire in what one witness described as “Westminster all over again.”
Within minutes there were reports of a second incident at Borough Market on the south bank of the Thames. One cab driver said three men ran towards the market stabbing people — including a young girl — as they ran.
Then, shortly before midnight police said they were attending a third incident in the Vauxhall area.
Armed police officers and paramedics are now working at the scene, in what Transport for London describes as a “major police incident”.
The Telegraph said that police entered bars and restaurants in the Southwark area around 11pm and told customers to get down on the floor amid reports that the incident was still ongoing. People outdoors were told by yelling police officers to run from the area as the atmosphere turned to one of “hysteria.”
British Transport Police said they were aware of reports of “multiple” casualties.
Theresa May, the British Prime Minister was being kept informed of developments and Whitehall sources told The Sunday Telegraph last night that the incident “appeared to be” terror-related.
It came less than a two weeks after the Manchester suicide bombing and just three months after a terrorist ploughed into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge before stabbing a policeman to death at Parliament.
Holly Jones, a BBC reporter at London Bridge when the first incident happened, said a van had swerved off the road into a crowd of pedestrians.
“A white van driver came speeding — probably about 50mph — veered of the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement (sidewalk),” she told BBC News.
Ms. Jones later reported seeing a man being arrested by police. She said he was handcuffed and had his shirt off.
Another eyewitness, a taxi driver, told LBC radio what he saw. “A van came from London Bridge itself, went between the traffic light system and rammed it towards the steps. It knocked loads of people down.
“Then three men got out with long blades, 12 inches long and went randomly along Borough High Street stabbing people at random.”
Reuters reported a witness saying she had seen people with “apparent knife wounds” on London Bridge.
Witness Nick Archer told Sky News that he had seen a man lying on the ground who “looked in a bad way” and managed to flag down one of the police vans “whizzing past”.
“Officers jumped out and started tending to the guy on the floor and about three of them also started running towards the London Bridge area.”
The BBC said that Whitehall officials say the police are leading on this incident, not intelligence agencies.
“It appears to have taken the authorities by surprise, i.e. there was no intelligence warning or surveillance indicating this was about to happen,” added the BBC story.
Will Orton was at a pub nearby when the incident happened.
The 25-year-old said: “Lots of people came running inside, we didn’t really know what was going on.
“We thought maybe there was a fight or something outside. And then there were almost hundreds of people coming inside.
“The bouncers did a really good job, they shut the doors and locked everyone in,” he added.
“There was panic — it seemed like it was literally outside the door.
“People were coming inside and saying they had witnessed people being stabbed.
“It seemed like it was happening immediately outside the entrance.”
The priority for the police is now to get people — many whom where enjoying a night out in central London — out of the area.
Eyewitness Samantha Wilde told the BBC she’d seen between 30 and 40 ambulances at the scene and armed police.
Police are reported to be treating injured people and carrying them away at the end Thrale Street, near London Bridge.
Members of the public were told by police to “run as fast as they could” westbound.
Nick Archer, who was in the London Bridge area, told Sky News: “We came out (of a bar) on to the road and looked and looked to my left and there is a guy, I thought he was just drinking but he was lying on the floor.
“And then a couple of seconds later, about three police vans flew past. “He looked in a bad way.”
More to follow on this fast-developing story.
Photo captions: 1) Armed Police officers on London Bridge. (PA). 2) People are seen fleeing the area on Borough High Street. (PA) 3) Armed police helping victim into ambulance (MagicmomentsUK). 4) Police arresting a suspect in Vauxhall amid terror chaos in central London. (Photo carried in The Sun) 5) Dan Wooding recording his “Front Page Radio” show at KWVE in Santa Ana, California.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He has written some 45 books, and has one radio show and two television programs all based in Southern California. Dan knows this area very well, as he would drive past London Bridge, not to be confused with the iconic Tower Bridge, when he worked in Fleet Street for various British newspapers.
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