Six Killed in London Terrorist Attack Days Before U.K. Election

Six people were killed in an attack on a popular London nightlife spot as terrorism struck Britain for the second time in two weeks, just days before a national election.
A van swerved into Saturday-night crowds on London Bridge, before three men got out of the vehicle and went on a stabbing rampage through nearby bars in a popular nightlife spot of the city. The men, who wore hoax suicide vests, were shot dead by police, taking the total death toll to nine and the number of injured to at least 20, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters. Police believe they have shot all the perpetrators.
Prime Minister Theresa May has called an emergency meeting of security officials and ministers early on Sunday and the police will bolster their presence on the streets of London, Rowley said.
The attack comes as campaigning for the June 8 election enters its final stages with the country still reeling from two other terror attacks this year, most recently the killing of children at a pop concert in Manchester. While it’s not clear how the attacks will affect the election, security and Britain’s role in foreign wars have become more prominent campaign issues since the Manchester attack.
No one has claimed responsibility for the killings on Saturday, which bore similarities to an attack in March, when a lone assailant rammed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer outside Parliament. Islamic State claimed the Westminster and the Manchester attacks, and has traditionally encouraged followers to carry out strikes during the holy month of Ramadan.
The incident on Saturday started shortly after 10 p.m. when a van swerved off the road on London Bridge into a crowd of pedestrians, police said. The vehicle continued to Borough Market, a warren of narrow streets that’s popular with tourists and full of bars. There, the three men went on stabbing spree before being shot dead by police.
“They were running, a police officer was trying to put himself between them and the crowd,” Gabriele Sciotto, a photographer who took pictures of the suspects after they were shot, told the BBC. “In around two or five seconds, they shot all three men down.”
In the hours after the attack, officers moved to clear the pubs and bars in the area, while checking for more attackers. Customers were led out through the police cordon with their hands on their heads, television footage showed.
Police patrol a street after an incident occurred on London Bridge June 3.
Photographer: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images
There was no word on whether campaigning would be suspended ahead of Thursday’s election as it was for three days after Manchester. Security officials raised the terror threat level to critical following that attack, meaning another incident was imminent, and armed soldiers in uniform were deployed in the streets. The threat level was returned to the second-highest, “severe” last week.
Campaigning turned bitter in the aftermath of the Manchester bombing. The opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said domestic terrorism was linked to British participation in foreign wars. May retorted that Corbyn was making excuses for terrorists. Still, while the race has since tightened, it’s far from clear whether the aftermath of the concert attack played any role in the narrowing of May’s poll lead.
May was in charge of police and security as home secretary for six years before becoming prime minister, and polls show voters see her as a stronger leader than Corbyn when it comes to keeping Britain safe. Still, in her previous job she oversaw cuts to police budgets, and the Labour Party renewed its criticism of Conservative austerity policies in the wake of the Manchester attack.
The latest set of polls indicate the Conservative’s lead over Labour has shrunk to between 1 and 12 percentage points, from more than 20 percentage points at the start of the campaign.
Corbyn’s campaign is also vulnerable. He was slammed in a televised election event on Friday for his historic views on the Irish Republican Army, which carried out a bombing and shooting campaign against the U.K. before a peace deal in the 1990s. The Conservatives have accused him of being soft on terror, a charge he denies.
Six Killed in London Terrorist Attack Days Before U.K. Election Six Killed in London Terrorist Attack Days Before U.K. Election Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 22:30:00 Rating: 5