Scotland Yard on Friday 29 November said they were responding to a terror-related incident on London Bridge in which several people were injured and a man was shot.
Authorities have since confirmed that the incident involving a man wearing a “hoax explosive device” was a terror attack:
“I’m now in a position to confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident.”
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, of the Metropolitan Police
London Bridge stabbing, 29 November 2019
Footage circulating on social media showed members of the public initially detaining the man and taking possession of the knife. In addition, the Metropolitan Police told AFP reporters that the circumstances were “unclear”, adding:
“As a precaution we are currently responding […] as though it is terror-related. One man has been shot by police.”
Authorities responded to the call, rushing to the scene of the stabbing at a premises near the bridge at 13:58 local time (15:58 SAST); where they detained the suspect. Several people sustained injuries.
“At this stage, the circumstances relating to the incident at London Bridge remain unclear. However, as a precaution, we are currently responding to this incident as though it is terror-related. Moreover, one man has been shot by police.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also released a statement, thanking authorities and emergency services for the quick response:
“I want to thank the emergency services and members of the public for their immense bravery in responding to this suspected terrorist attack at London Bridge. This is an appalling incident and all my thoughts are with the victims and their families.”
A video shared on social media shows a group of bystanders surrounding a man on the ground. A man can then be seen retreating from the scene; he appears to be holding a knife.
One of the officers pulled a man to safety before two shots ring out. Furthermore, eyewitnesses claim that a fight broke out between a group of men before the altercation.
They then heard gunshots and saw one man collapse to the ground. Several bystanders rushed into nearby stores seeking cover.
Bridge closed off after London stabbings
All buses and traffic was forced to a standstill because a white truck jackknifed. The London Bridge is currently inaccessible to the public.
Response from citizens on social media
Investigator and crime fighter turned writer, David Videcette, said that the “similarities of today’s London Bridge attack to 2017 is remarkable”. He explains:
“On 3rd June 2017, men wearing fake suicide vests mounted a mass stabbing attack five days before a General Election. Today, as then, remarkable people intervened and put their lives at risk for others.
He also added that there’ll be “months of uncertainty, anger and tears for the officers who pulled the trigger today, and it is the most unpleasant experience.”
Another user, known only as bookhimdannom1, said “it’s the fake suicide vests” that remain a mystery. He shared an image of “plastic water bottles and gaffa tape”.
London Stabbings: Video gallery
Warning: This video clips may be upsetting so some readers.
Watch: Footage taken at the scene (Graphic warning)
Watch: Police at the scene
Watch: BBC reporter gives eyewitness account
Watch: Views of the London Bridge
Quotes and additional reporting from AFP.
Also read – The Overview Effect by SA artist Ann Grim during London Frieze Art Week