On Saturday, three attackers carried out a vehicle and knife attack in the High Street area around London Bridge, running over a group of people with a van and then emerging with hunting knives to stab a large number of others, in what officials say was a “low cost, lost tech, low sophistication attack.”
Seven people were killed in the incident and 48 wounded. Police shot and killed all three attackers, and also shot an innocent bystander in the head in the course of their operation. The police also detained 12 others on Sunday in raids in the suburb of Barking, though exactly what for is unknown.
ISIS has claimed credit for the attack, as they do with most attacks anywhere in the world, though police have identified one of the attackers, Khalid Masood, as having been born in England, and with no evidence that he had any direct links to ISIS at all. The other two haven’t been identified.
But information on Masood suggests this was an attack by jihad enthusiasts as opposed to an attack orchestrated by ISIS on an organizational level. ISIS and other militant groups of course encourage supporters to carry out attacks like this, but that is far from definitive proof that they were specifically “behind” the attack.
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.”
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.