LONDON (Xinhua) — The investigation into Saturday’s terror attack in London is making progress, while the radical Islamic State (IS) group has claimed responsibility for the event which left seven people dead and 48 injured.
MORE DETAILS REVEALED
Police were “making significant progress” in identifying the three attackers, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said Sunday.
“Work is ongoing to understand more about them, their connections and whether they were assisted or supported by anyone else,” Rowley added.
The attackers drove a van at high speed into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday night before continuing to drive from the bridge to Borough Market.
There, they jumped out of the van and stabbed people. Within eight minutes, armed police confronted three male attackers, shooting them dead in Borough Market.
“We have established that the van used during the attack, a white Renault van, was recently hired by one of the attackers,” he said.
“Our understanding is growing and as we currently understand it the van entered London Bridge at 21:58 (Saturday, 2058 GMT) travelling from the North to the South side of the river.”
“The van mounted the pavement, and collided with pedestrians before being abandoned, where the attackers, armed with knives, continued into the Borough Market area, stabbing numerous people.”
Rowley said the attackers were then confronted by the firearms officers and eight police firearms officers discharged their weapons.
“Our initial assessment is in the region of 50 rounds — in the region of 50 bullets — were fired by those eight officers. The three attackers were shot dead,” he said.
IS CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY
As the probe is ongoing, the IS group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, British media reported Sunday.
BBC reported on its website that the group’s news outlet Amaq, on the messaging app Telegram, said “a security unit of Islamic State fighters carried out the London attacks yesterday.”
Meanwhile, The Telegraph reported that an IS group propaganda outlet exhorted would-be jihadists to carry out vehicle and knife attacks on civilians just hours before the three attackers went on a rampage in central London.
According to the report, the message sent out on an encrypted messaging app urged attackers to “gain benefit from Ramadan” and “kill the civilians of the Crusaders. Run over them with vehicles.”
British police said 12 people have been arrested so far.
According to the latest report, the 12 people have been arrested in Barking, east London, in connection with the attack, Scotland Yard has said.
People living in the Elizabeth Fry flat block in King’s Road, Barking, where one of the attackers had a home, said shots were fired as heavily armed officers carried out a raid early Sunday morning, Sky News reported.
A MINUTE’S SILENCE ON TUESDAY
In what would have been an intensive day of campaigning ahead of Thursday’s general election, all of the major parties, with the exception of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), suspended their election program for the day.
British Prime Minister Theresa May spoke outside 10 Downing Street and condemned what she said was a single evil ideology of extremism, saying “enough is enough.”
It was the third act of deadly terrorism in Britain since March, said May, with two attacks in London and one on the Manchester Arena two weeks ago.
The Manchester suicide bombing killed 22 and injured 116 others.
Downing Street has declared that there will be a minute’s silence held on Tuesday morning to remember the victims of the terror attack.
In a statement, Downing Street said the minute’s silence would take place at 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) on Tuesday.
“The UK will observe a minute’s silence on June 6, 2017 and flags will remain at half-mast on Whitehall government buildings,” it said.
The attack has drawn widespread condemnation.
GENERAL ELECTION TO GO AHEAD
May said the election scheduled for Thursday will go ahead and campaigning will resume Monday.
On Sunday, the prime minister held a meeting for the country’s emergency service in Whitehall as the major political parties suspended campaigning for the general election. Only UKIP decided to carry on, saying that one of the terrorists’ intentions was to disrupt the campaigning.
With the election just four days away, canceling campaigning for the second time is unprecedented. It was suspended for four days following the recent attack in Manchester.
May said that in the light of changing threats there will be a major review of Britain’s counter-terrorism strategy.
She added the new threat is that terrorism is breeding terrorism, with copycat attacks.
According to a leading academic, Britain’s governing Conservatives have increased their chances of success in Thursday’s general elections following May’s reaction on Sunday to the latest attack.
Professor Anthony Glees, director at the Center for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, said May’s tougher stand following the London Bridge attack was correct.
In an interview with Xinhua Sunday, Glees said: “She is advocating the right policies, but 10 years too late. What she is proposing should have been done following the 7/7 attacks in London in 2005.”
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street, May warned there has been “far too much tolerance of extremism” in Britain.
“We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change,” she said.