This terrorist attack happened around 2 pm London time which is just a few hours ago as I write this. When I first saw the video of what happened, none of it made sense for reasons I’ll explain. Various sources are still trying to piece together what happened but here’s what I’ve been able to gather so far. The suspect began attacking people with a knife near London Bridge. Several bystanders who witnessed the attack tackled the suspect to the ground. One man managed to take away the suspect’s knife. He can be seen clearly in several videos holding the knife but he’s not the attacker. In fact some are calling him a hero.
This man was walking behind us on the other side of London Bridge when the attack began. He ran through traffic and jumped the central partition to tackle the attacker with several others. We ran away but looks like he disarmed him. Amazing bravery @BBCNews #londonbridge pic.twitter.com/XdWRZyLwVN
— George Robarts (@GeorgeRobarts) November 29, 2019
Armed police arrived at the scene and literally dragged another bystander off of the suspect. They then shot the suspect in the head, killing him. When I first saw the video none of this made sense either but according to the AP, the attacker was wearing what looked like a suicide vest:
The force’s counterterrorism chief, Neil Basu, said the suspect was feared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be “a hoax explosive device.”
Basu said officers were keeping “an open mind as to any motive.”
So with all that in mind, here are three video clips of the incident. First, from a bus stuck on the bridge near the scene. Someone says, “He has a knife.” Then a moment later, bystanders start to back away from the suspect as someone on the bus says, “Was he gonna set a bomb off?” The clip ends when police shoot the suspect. Be aware there is some NSFW language at the very end of this clip as passengers on the bus react to the shooting:
— Hand Luggage Only (@HLOBlog) November 29, 2019
This is basically the same moment in time but shot from the bridge itself parallel with the bus. In this one you can hear the responding police yelling for everyone to “get back!” just before the shooting.
This third clip is a close-up from another angle showing the final seconds before the police shoot the suspect. There’s a guardrail in place so this isn’t too gruesome:
— David Vance (@DVATW) November 29, 2019
Police gave a statement at Scotland Yard confirming this is being investigated as a terrorist incident but they are still not clear on the exact motive.
There’s no clear indication how many people were injured in the attack yet. Today’s attack is similar to an attack that took place in June, 2017. In that attack, three men in a van attempted to ram pedestrians then got out of the van with knives and started attacking people at random.
Finally, some American news outlets are apparently getting confused by which bridge is London Bridge. Here’s a primer:
— Lee Ewen (@leegewen) November 29, 2019
Update: The Police Commissioner says two people were killed by the terrorist and three others are still being treated in hospitals.
Update: Known wolf…
The man is understood to have been wearing an electronic tag when he staged the attack after being released from prison for terrorism related offences.
He was known to the authorities at MI5 and police because of his previous conviction, sources confirm.
There is a political angle to this attack. Just about two weeks ago Jeremy Corbyn said it would have been better to arrest ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi if possible. He’s not doubling down on that stand with regard to this terrorist killer who was shot and killed by police rather than being re-arrested. Here is Corbyn’s reaction on Twitter:
My heart goes out to the victims of this appalling attack.
We owe a deep debt of gratitude to our police and emergency services, and the brave members of the public who put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.
We must remain united across all our communities.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 29, 2019
Also, this is odd but apparently true. You can see this in the video above:
A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5’ narwhale tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker. You can see him standing over the man (with what looks like a white pole) in the video. We were trying to help victims inside but that man’s a hero #LondonBridge
— Amy Coop (@theamycoop) November 29, 2019
Update: How long before the narwhal is adopted as a counter-terrorism symbol?
Two Londoners, one armed with a fire extinguisher and the other with a narwhal tusk, take on a knife-wielding terrorist on London Bridge. pic.twitter.com/QtJrgei5do
— Ben Stephens (@stephens_ben) November 29, 2019