More Raids and Arrests in London After Weekend Terror Attacks
LONDON, England — More than 24 hours after three men rampaged through central London killing seven and injuring 48, little is known about the attackers or the victims of the assault — the third terror attack on British soil in less than three months.
Details are being kept closely under wraps, in stark contrast to last month’s Manchester bombing, when photos and information from the investigation were repeatedly leaked to the media.
There has been no official information on the identity of any of the three attackers.
This comes despite a series of police raids and upwards of 12 arrests across the capital, including two new raids on Monday morning at addresses in Newham and Barking in east London.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday night, although they provided no evidence for their involvement or details of the attack.
Seven people have been confirmed dead by police but only one of the victims has been identified so far, Canadian woman Chrissy Archibald who moved to Europe to be with her fiance.
Another 36 men and women are currently in hospital, 21 of whom are in a critical condition, according to emergency services.
A memorial is planned for 6pm local time Monday, in the capital’s Potters Field Park to commemorate those affected, as the city continues to digest its second terrorist attack in two months
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the city’s “anger and grief” was indescribable. “We are all shocked and angry today but this is our city. We will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism,” he said in a statement.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May pledged a tougher attitude to fighting homegrown extremism in a speech Sunday, outside her official residence at 10 Downing Street.
“Enough is enough. Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would … But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change,” she said.
Neighbor saw attacker teaching children to pray
Monday’s early morning raids follow raids on a housing complex in Barking east London Sunday, where 11 people were arrested — five men and six women, aged between 19 to 60.
All of them were arrested in the same complex, according to Britain’s most senior counterterrorism official, Mark Rowley.
CNN’s Melissa Bell spoke to residents there who recognized among the three dead attackers a familiar face, identifying him as one of their neighbors and describing him as a family man who kept to himself.
Barking resident Erica Gasperri said she went to the police after she saw a man, believed to be the attacker, teaching the local children about Islam.
“All of a sudden we saw this individual speaking to the kids … showing them how to pray. He was standing over there, I could see them fro my window,” Gasperri said.
A 55-year-old man, who had been previously arrested, was later released without having to post bail.
Ikenna Chigbo, in an interview with Britain’s Independent Television News, described another of the arrested men as a nice guy who regularly invited neighbors to barbecues and played football and table tennis with them.
“Yesterday — I’m actually in the process of moving home at the moment — I hired a van moving some bits. He came to me. He was a little bit overnice,” Chigbo told the station.
“He said to me, ‘Where can I get a van like that?’ Asking me all the details like how much was it, where he could get a van — basically because, he said to me, ‘I might be moving shortly with my family as well.'”
‘Unprecedented’ action by police
As the UK returned to normal Monday morning, details continued to emerge about the quick response of police to Sunday’s terrorist attack.
Three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge late Saturday night, before abandoning the vehicle at nearby Borough Market.
They then got out of the car and began stabbing people at random until police arrived and shot all three dead.
An “unprecedented” number of rounds had been fired at the three attackers by police, who ended their rampage just eight minutes after the London Bridge incident was reported.
The three attackers were wearing what appeared to be suicide belt, which later turned out to be fake. Rowley said it was probable they had worn them to ensure they were killed by police.
Parts of London near where the attack took place are still cordoned off on Monday morning, police said, leaving some residents unable to access their homes.
“We advise residents they will not be able to access properties until cordon is lifted. Thank you for your patience and cooperation,” police tweeted.
Three days until election
The rush to dismantle the London Bridge attackers’ network comes just days before the UK is scheduled to go to the polls.
Voting in the general election will begin at 7 a.m. on June 8, local time, to decide whether UK Prime Minister May will be returned as the country’s leader.
The Conservatives, Labour and the Scottish National Party all suspended campaigning Sunday for the second time this election.
All parties had previously canceled events after the bombing in Manchester outside an Ariana Grande concert in May.
Polls had tightened dramatically in recent weeks, eliminating an early overwhelming lead for May’s Conservative Party, although it’s unclear how the two terrorist attacks could affect the result.
Speaking at Ford Theater in Washington Sunday night, US President Donald Trump described the incident as a “horrific terrorist attack.”
“The bloodshed must end. The bloodshed will end. As president I will do what is necessary to prevent this threat from spreading to our shores,” he told reporters.
Trump added he had pledged the United States’ “unwavering support” to Prime Minister May following the attack.