Police shoot knife man dead on London Bridge, mayor hails bystanders' bravery

Police on Friday shot dead a knife man wearing a fake suicide vest who had gone on the rampage and stabbed a number of people, describing the attack in central London as a terrorism incident.

Authorities were alerted just before 2pm to a stabbing at a premises near London Bridge, the scene of a deadly attack by Islamist militants two years ago.

Half a dozen bystanders wrestled the suspect to the ground and grabbed his knife. A video posted on Twitter shows police dragging one man off the suspect before an officer takes careful aim. Two shots ring out. The man stops moving.

"A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from the City of London police and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene," the United Kingdom's top counter-terrorism officer, Neil Basu, told reporters.

"A number of other people received injuries during this incident," Basu said. "We believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect was a hoax explosive device."

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London Bridge terror incident
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London Bridge terror incident
Jack Merritt's mother Anne (far left), girlfriend Leanne O'Brien (centre) and father David (second right) during a vigil at the Guildhall in Cambridge to honour both him and Saskia Jones after the two of them were killed in Friday's London Bridge terror attack.
Jack Merrit's father (centre) attends a vigil at The Guildhall in Cambridge to honour both him and Saskia Jones after they were killed in Friday's London Bridge terror attack.
People at a vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, to honour the victims off the London Bridge terror attack, as well as the members of the public and emergency services who risked their lives to help others after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
(left to right) Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn take part in a vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, to honour the victims off the London Bridge terror attack, as well as the members of the public and emergency services who risked their lives to help others after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking at a vigil in Guildhall Yard, London, to honour the victims off the London Bridge terror attack, as well as the members of the public and emergency services who risked their lives to help others after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
Tributes to Cambridge University graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, on London Bridge, who were both stabbed to death by 28-year-old convicted terrorist Usman Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event they were supporting in London on Friday. PA Photo. Picture date: Monday December 2, 2019. The father of London Bridge terror victim Jack Merritt has said his son would be "livid" that his death is being used to further an "agenda of hate". See PA story POLICE LondonBridge . Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire
Second former Cambridge University student killed at London Bridge named
Second former Cambridge University student killed at London Bridge named
Review under way after Cambridge alumni confirmed as London attack victims
A photograph of the first victim to be named, Jack Merritt, is pictured among floral tributes left close to London Bridge in the City of London, on December 1, 2019, following the November 29 deadly terror incident. - Britain's Boris Johnson said on December 1 the security services were stepping up monitoring of convicted terrorists released early from prison, as the London Bridge attack became embroiled in the election campaign. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers stand inside a cordon beside floral tributes left close to London Bridge in the City of London, on December 1, 2019, following the November 29 deadly terror incident. - Britain's Boris Johnson said on December 1 the security services were stepping up monitoring of convicted terrorists released early from prison, as the London Bridge attack became embroiled in the election campaign. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Floral tributes for victims of the terrorist attack, including Jack Merritt, left on London Bridge in central London, after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday.
Floral tributes for victims of the terrorist attack, including Jack Merritt, left on London Bridge in central London, after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police on Friday. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday December 1, 2019. See PA story POLICE LondonBridge. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Forensic officers attend to a property in Lanehead Road, Stoke-on-Trent that is linked to London Bridge terrorist attacker Usman Khan.
Forensic officers attend to a property in Lanehead Road, Stoke-on-Trent that is linked to London Bridge terrorist attacker Usman Khan.
Forensic officers attend to a property in Lanehead Road, Stoke-on-Trent that is linked to London Bridge terrorist attacker Usman Khan.
Forensic personnel on London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu speaks to the media at New Scotland Yard in Westminster, London, after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick (centre left), Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan (centre right) and Commissioner of the City of London Police, Ian Dyson (right) on London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, and was shot dead by police.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and Commissioner of the City of London Police Ian Dyson, as he attends London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Home Secretary, Priti Patel (right) attend London Bridge in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick (left), Home Secretary, Priti Patel, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Commissioner of the City of London Police, Ian Dyson (right) attend the London Bridge crime scene in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends the London Bridge crime scene in central London after a terrorist wearing a fake suicide vest who went on a knife rampage killing two people, was shot dead by police.
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People fleeing from Borough Market, central London following a police incident.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
A police officer moves an uninvolved person away from a cordon after an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People running away from Borough Market in London after police to them to leave the area.
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People are evacuated from London Bridge in central London following a police incident.
A member of the police, outside a newsagent, in the vicinity of Borough Market and London Bridge.
People heading away from the vicinity of Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area.
Police instruct members of the public to move away from London Bridge and Borough Market, London.
An armed police officer outside Borough Market after an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People heading away from the vicinity of Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area.
Armed police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police instruct members of the public to move away from London Bridge and Borough Market, London.
Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Armed police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police instruct members of the public to move away from Borough Market, London.
Police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
People heading away from the vicinity of Borough Market in London after police told them to leave the area.
A white lorry parked across London bridge in central London following a 'terror related' incident.
A police boat on the River Thames near London bridge following a 'terror related' incident.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Gracechurch Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Office workers watching police near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Armed police at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Armed police and emergency services at the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
Police on Cannon Street in London near the scene of an incident on London Bridge in central London.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has called a snap election for Dec. 12 and is due to host NATO leaders including US President Donald Trump next week, returned to Downing Street and was updated on the incident.

"This is an appalling incident and all my thoughts are with the victims and their families," Johnson said in a statement. "I want to thank the emergency services and members of the public for their immense bravery."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said he was shocked by the incident and that his thoughts were with those caught up in it.

"BREATH-TAKING HEROISM"

Ordinary Londoners demonstrated "breath-taking heroism" in disarming the knife-wielding attacker, the city's mayor Sadiq Khan said.

"What's remarkable about the images we've seen is the breath-taking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger not knowing what confronted them," Khan told reporters, adding that the man had been wearing a fake bomb.

"Members of the public didn't realise at the time that was a hoax device, and they really are the best of us," Khan added.

George Robarts, a translator who was on the bridge at the time of the attack, said an unidentified man ran through the traffic and jumped the central partition to tackle the attacker with several other people.

"We ran away but looks like he disarmed him," he said. "Amazing bravery."

Rob Underwood, who was at the scene, said that people scattered as the attack unfolded and then hit the ground.

"Apart from momentarily looking up and seeing whatever that flash might have been, it's difficult. You feel as though you're in a bubble, really," he told Reuters. "It was almost like a firecracker going off."

"It's difficult when you're on the floor, really, your major priority is just to try and get out of danger and stay safe."

The ambulance service declared a "major incident" in the area and London Bridge station, a busy commuter hub, was closed.

PREVIOUS ATTACKS

During the 2017 election campaign, London Bridge was the scene of an attack when three militants drove a van into pedestrians and then attacked people in the surrounding area, killing eight and injuring at least 48.

Islamic State said its fighters were responsible, but the British authorities have cast doubt on those claims.

The month before, a suicide bomber killed 22 children and adults and wounded 59 at a packed concert hall in Manchester, as crowds began leaving a concert by singer Ariana Grande.

In March the same year, an attacker stabbed a policeman close to London's parliament buildings after a car ploughed into pedestrians on nearby Westminster Bridge.

Six people died, including the assailant and the policeman he stabbed, and at least 20 were injured in what police called a "marauding terrorist attack".

Earlier this month, Britain had lowered its national terrorism threat level to "substantial" from "severe", its lowest level since 2014.

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