London attack: Security services wrestle with copycat terror threat

Theresa May has warned in the aftermath of the London atrocity of how “terrorism breeds terrorism” with violent extremists carrying out copycat attacks “often using the crudest means” to maim and murder.
The rise of such attacks, with Islamists emulating previous acts of terror, is a matter of deep concern, say security sources, with difficulties in uncovering plots by small groups who may not have links with established jihadi networks, and thus may have escaped scrutiny.
The weapons used in the London attack, killing seven people and injuring 48 others – 21 critically – were knives and a hired van, echoing the Westminster attacker Khalid Masood who killed five people using knives and a hired car; Anas Amri who killed 12 people in Berlin using a hired truck; and Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel who killed 86 in Nice using a hired truck.
Meanwhile, on a day of dramatic developments:
  • Isis claimed responsibility for the attacks
  • First two of seven fatalities identified as one Canadian citizen, Christine Archibald, and one French citizen
  • Theresa May calls for crackdown on “safe spaces for extremists” online 
  • Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May 'you cannot protect public on the cheap'
  • Police say member of the public shot in crossfire as officers fired 50 bullets
The three London attackers wore fake suicide vests. It remains unclear why this was done; one theory is that they may have believed that police, wary of the  devices being detonated, would keep their distance. In the event eight armed officers shot them dead using 50 rounds.
A number of people have been detained following further police raids at two addresses in Newham and Barking in east London.
Residents said they heard "loud flash bangs and gunshots" in the early hours of the morning.
Twitter user BatemanLDN said: "It woke me up along with the whole street. Extremely loud bangs followed by gunshot bangs.
"All ok - very shaken residents nearby though. All quietened down now."
Police raid an address in Barking pic: twitter/@batemanLDN
Image:Police raid an address in Barking pic: twitter/@batemanLDN
Simon Tucker wrote: "Heard this in the Dagenham area at around 4:15 am. Started with loud explosion sound. Followed by about 20 shots, Some sounded distant."
Police said "a number" of people have been detained and searches were continuing at both addresses.
It comes after seven women and five men, aged between 19 and 60, were arrested under the Terrorism Act on Sunday following raids on flats in Barking and East Ham, east London. A 55-year-old man was later released without charge.
Several residents at the Elizabeth Fry flats in Barking, where a number of the arrests were made, said they recognised one of the suspected attackers from a photograph.
Police hunt for the London Bridge attackers
Video:New footage of London Bridge attacks
They said he had children and had lived in the area for a number of years.
One neighbour told Sky News the suspect was "a very affable person" who was "very much a member of the community" and "always pleasant to our family".
Islamic State has claimed "a detachment" of its fighters were behind the attack, according to the Amaq online news agency which is affiliated with the jihadists.
President Trump pledged Sunday to prevent future terror strikes in the U.S., in the wake of a deadly attack in central London that left seven people dead and injured many more.
"We renew our resolve, stronger than ever before, to protect the United States and its allies from a vile enemy that has waged war on innocent life. And it has gone on too long,” Trump said in Washington, D.C., speaking at the Ford’s Theatre annual gala.
“This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end. As president, I will do what is necessary is to prevent this threat from spreading to our shores,” he continued.
Trump had previously condemned the attacks Saturday night on Twitter, while simultaneously promoting his proposed travel ban.
Trump’s comments echoed those of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who earlier said measures needed to be taken to prevent another attack in the U.K.
"We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change," May said Sunday.
This is the third terror attack the U.K. has dealt with in the last two months. A truck plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March, and a suicide bomber targeted an Ariana Grande concert in the northern English city of Manchester two weeks ago. 
The security services were facing difficult questions last night over how at least one of the London Bridge terrorists slipped through the intelligence net.
It emerged that the 27-year-old Muslim extremist appeared in a TV documentary last year about British jihadis – and was involved in a filmed altercation with police after an Islamic State flag was unfurled in a park.
He was caught on camera alongside two notorious preachers who were well known to police and intelligence officials because of their extremist views.
Amid a series of revelations last night, it was claimed that a friend of the Watford-born suspect had reported him to the anti-terror hotline after he became radicalised by watching extremist videos on YouTube.
It was also alleged that police were warned about the suspect radicalising children in a local park two years ago.
And yesterday, a photographer captured a detective carrying secret notes which appeared to suggest a man embroiled in the investigation had been quizzed by police last year.
The suspect, who the Mail has chosen not to name at the request of police, is understood to be one of three men who embarked on a stabbing rampage in London on Saturday night.
He was pictured, having been shot dead by police, lying on the ground in an Arsenal shirt.
The attackers, who were wearing fake suicide bomb vests, used a van to mow down pedestrians on London Bridge before running amok with knives in Borough Market, slitting the throats of innocent bystanders. One is reported to have yelled: ‘This is for Allah.’
They left at least seven dead and 48 injured before police marksmen halted their stabbing spree.
Last night, chilling footage showed two of the attackers sauntering through a deserted Borough Market just moments after they abandoned the white van they used in the attack.
Yesterday, Theresa May declared that ‘enough was enough’ as she announced a four-point plan of action following the third devastating terror attack in Britain in just three months.
But the Prime Minister insisted that Thursday’s general election would go ahead, despite terrorists trying to derail Britain’s democracy. On another day of extraordinary developments:
  • Police revealed they had fired an ‘unprecedented’ 50 bullets to kill the three London Bridge terrorists because they believed the attackers were wearing suicide belts;
  •  A member of the public was accidentally shot by police officers in the crossfire but is expected to make a full recovery;
  • As details of the first victims emerged, the authorities said 36 people remained in hospital, with 21 in a critical condition;
  • The Prime Minister said there had been ‘far too much tolerance’ of the ‘evil ideology’ of Islamist extremism;
  • She also declared war on the internet giants for providing a ‘safe space’ for Islamist terrorists bent on attacking Britain;
  • However, it soon emerged that terrorist propaganda and guides to carrying out terror attacks were still freely available online;
  • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tried to make political capital out of the tragedy, accusing the Mrs May of denying resources to the police and security services;
  • But he U-turned on his previous opposition to the police shoot-to-kill policy and backed the PM’s insistence that the general election must go ahead on Thursday;
  • Amid enormous security, the One Love benefit concert got underway last night after a one-minute silence for the 22 victims who lost their lives in the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena two weeks ago.
London attack: Security services wrestle with copycat terror threat London attack: Security services wrestle with copycat terror threat Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 22:44:00 Rating: 5