London Bridge Attack: Horror Hits the Capital Once Again
It has only been 12 days since the Manchester Arena attack and three months since the Westminster attack, however terror has struck the capital once again.
Seven people have been killed and 48 people have been injured in a terror attack that took place in London on Saturday night.
The cowardly attack took place at around 22:00 BST on London Bridge, where a white van veered onto the pavement and began to collide with pedestrians. The van shortly stopped in nearby Borough Market, where three men got out of the van and carried out stabbings on people in various bars and restaurants in the area. People soon began to flee from the area, with some trying to fend off the attackers using chairs.
Armed police were quick to the scene and shot dead the three terrorists within eight minutes of being alerted of the attack. It was later confirmed by bomb disposal unit of the police, that the attackers were wearing fake suicide vests in an attempt to spread further panic.
Over 80 medical staff were sent to tend to the victims at the scene, and the more severely injured are currently being treated in five London hospitals. On Sunday night, it was confirmed that 36 of the victims still remained in hospital, with 21 of them in a critical condition.
Since the attack, just one of those who were killed has so far been named: Christine Archibald, a Canadian woman from Castlegar, British Columbia. It has also been confirmed that a French national was killed in the attack, with seven other French and Australian citizens were among some of the injured.
Who was behind the attack?
So far, the three terrorists behind the brutal and appalling attack have not been named as yet, however, prime minister, Theresa May is said to identify the terror suspects on Monday.
On Sunday, Isis released a statement via the Amaq news agency, claiming responsibility to the atrocity. Although, this has not yet been formally confirmed.
Mark Rowley, the assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan police, affirmed that an urgent investigation was underway to assert whether the attackers were associated by larger terror organisations such as Isis.
In the wake of the attacks, the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP postponed their election campaigning till Sunday evening, however, prime minister, Theresa May stated that terrorism would not stand in the way of democracy and confirmed that the election would still take place on 8 June.
After chairing a Cobra emergency meeting, the prime minister issued a statement outside No. 10 Downing Street, where she said that internet service providers and companies need to do more to curb the existence of extremist material on their platforms, and called on other countries to reach international agreements to regulate what information is available online.
“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed – yet that is precisely what the internet and big companies that provide internet-based services provide. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning,” she said.
The prime minister was strong in her words during her statement, saying that Islamist extremism was the “thread that linked the otherwise unconnected recent attacks in London Bridge, Westminster and Manchester.”
“It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth,” she stated. “Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated though military action alone.”
Theresa May acknowledged that Islamist extremists such as Isis, are finding new ways to spread panic and fear in cities across the world, and said that more action was needed in the UK and overseas. “While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country,” she said.
Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was quick to scrutinise the prime minister. Corbyn questioned why the police faced cuts during her six-year stint as home secretary, and if elected, he would recruit 10,000 more police officers and 1,000 security agents.
“You cannot protect the public on the cheap,” he said. “The police services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, was also subject to scrutiny, however, not from a UK politician, but from US president Donald Trump.
In a tweet, the president scolded Khan, writing: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”
In an interview on Sunday, Khan said that there was “no reason to be alarmed” by the increased level of police in the city that day.
In response to Trump’s critique, a spokesperson for Khan said that the mayor had “more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that takes out of context his remarks.”
During Khan’s statement, he labelled the attackers as cowards, as he attempted to reassure the city.
“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.”
Is this the new standard?
This is the third terrorist attack in three months against “soft targets”, so it could be forgiven if some feel as if this is a new normal.
This new morbid reality is exactly what Islamist extremists want to achieve in their attacks. Not just in the UK, but across Europe and the world.
Since 2013, UK security services have prevented 18 terror plots. A large amount of those plots involved extremists set to commit atrocious crimes similar to the Westminster attack and the most recent attack on London Bridge.
Plots involving bombs, such as the Manchester Arena attack are rare, as the terrorists would need the skills required to create them. Attacking innocent people with cars, knives, or anything extremists can get hold of, is a quicker and easier way of creating maximum panic and devastation. It is a method encouraged by the likes of Isis and other jihadi groups.
The aim of the terrorists of London Bridge and Borough Market is clear. Not only did they want to kill as many innocent people that crossed their path, but they also wanted to lose their own lives in the name of a warped and dangerous extremist Islamist ideology.
Wearing the fake suicide vests and attacking people in the street was an attempt to lure armed police to their position, which in their own disturbed minds, confirmed their fate.