Three attackers, who have yet to be publicly identified, carried out a vehicle and knife attack in the area of London Bridge on Saturday evening, running over a group of people with a van before emerging with “long hunting knives” and stabbing large numbers of people.
Seven died overall in the incident and 48 were wounded, according to official accounts. Police shot and killed all three attackers, and also shot an innocent bystander in the head in the course of their operation. The fate of the bystander has yet to be made public.
The attackers were described by witnesses as “Mediterranean-looking,” and one witness quoted one of the men as saying the stabbing “is for Allah,” though again details are scant on the motive of the attacks, and no group has yet claimed responsibility.
While any terror attack in the High Street area is significant in and of itself, perhaps the most enduring image of the entire ordeal was armed police forcibly marching all the civilians out of the area, with their hands on their heads. Police offered no explanation of why this was done, and so far British media is just reporting it as something that happened, without too many questions as to why.
In the day following the attack, the May government has promised a series of new crackdowns, insisting that further attacks won’t be tolerated. These new crackdowns include efforts to censor “harmful” content on social media, with May blaming social media for giving terrorists “safe spaces.”
Police also carried out a raid in the suburb of Barking, detaining at least 12 people during an operation at the flat of one of the alleged attacked. Neighbors described the man as being married with two children. Police offered no details as to who the detained men were or indeed why they were being held.
While the campaigning for this week’s general election was suspended today because of the attack, May has insisted that the vote will go on as scheduled. She appears to be betting that her promised crackdowns will bolster her polling numbers, which have been weakening since mid-May.