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Thursday
January 2020
4:18 PM IST
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International News
London Bridge attack declared terrorist incident, suspect with hoax bomb vest shot dead by police
 
London: The stabbing incident at London Bridge on Friday has been declared a terrorist incident as Scotland Yard confirmed that one male suspect wearing a hoax bomb vest had been shot dead at the scene. Scotland Yard''s Head of Counter Terrorism Policing, Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, said in a statement at New Scotland Yard headquarters in London that a "number" of people had been injured. "At approximately 2pm today, police were called to a stabbing at a premises near London Bridge. Emergency services attended including officers from the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police.

A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from City of London police and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene," Basu, Britain''s senior-most counter-terrorism officer, told reporters. “Due to reports that the suspect might have had an explosive device specialist officers attended the scene. However, I can confirm at this time we believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device," he said. The UK''s counter-terror officials have taken over the investigation now that the incident has been declared as terror related. The London Ambulance Service had earlier declared it a “major incident” and the number of injuries are yet to be confirmed.

The scene, in an extremely busy area in the heart of the British capital, remains cordoned off with heavy police and emergency services presence. Eyewitnesses had reported seeing a man being shot by security services. Images appearing on social media appear to show an exchange with the potential suspect being detained by police officers. There are also some videos showing people running across the bridge in panic. The transport on London Bridge came to a standstill and offices and buildings in the vicinity are placed under lockdown as the incident unfolded. British Transport Police said London Bridge train station was closed and no trains would be stopping there.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke from his General Election campaign engagements to rush back to Downing Street, where he was briefed by counter-terrorism officers led by Neil Basu. “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,” he said. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel issued a Twitter statement to express her concern as reports on the incident poured in.

“My thoughts are with all affected. I am grateful for the rapid response of our police and I urge everyone to follow their advice,” she said. London Mayor Sadiq Khan described it as a “horrendous” incident, in which a number of people were injured. “We must - and we will - stay resolute in our determination to stand strong and united in the face of terror. Those who seek to attack us and divide us will not succeed,” he said. London Bridge was one of the areas targeted by an ISIS-claimed terrorist attack in June 2017, when 11 people died as terrorists went on a stabbing spree after ramming a van into pedestrians.

The UK had just earlier this month downgraded its terror threat level from "severe" to "substantial", which means a terrorist threat is likely rather than highly likely in the country.


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