UPDATE, SUNDAY 6.44AM PT: Twelve people have been in arrested in Barking, east London, following a raid at an apartment belonging to one of the three attackers which left seven people dead and 48 injured on Saturday night in the capital city.
London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed on the arrests had been made on Sunday and that searches were also being carried out at properties around the area. According to the BBC, eight of those arrested were men and four were women and that controlled explosions were also being carried out at the apartment.
The Met’s Counter Terrorism Command said that the investigation into last night’s attack is “progressing rapidly.”
PREVIOUS, SUNDAY 2:11 AM PT: The death toll has risen to seven after last night’s terror attack in London Bridge in which three attackers were shot and killed by police eight minutes after being called to the scene. London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed the news in a briefing outside of Scotland Yard on Sunday morning. At least 48 people have been injured. Dick said that the incident is under control but officers were continuing a thorough search of the area.
“This is a fast-moving investigation,” said Dick. “We have very significant resources deployed both to the investigation and to the visible patrols that people will be seeing as they wake up this morning.”
She added that the Met would be sharing intelligence with U.S. officials, despite the fact American officials leaked details of the attack on Manchester last month to the press.
“My working assumption is we will of course be sharing information appropriately with our American colleagues,” said Dick. “This comes after U.S. officials leaked inimate details of the Manchester Arena investigation to U.S. press.”
After the attack on Manchester on May 22, in which a suicide bomber killed 22 as crowds left an Ariana Grande concert in the city, UK’s Joint Terroris Analysis Centre raised the threat level in the country to its highest – from severe to critical – and lowered it again days later. Dick said that in light of the London attacks, JTAC was still “assessing” whether the treat level would be raised.
“If it were to go up or if we felt there was a particular need for military support we would absolutely ask for it.”
Previous With Scotland Yard Statement Scotland Yard has confirmed the deaths of six victims in today’s London attacks, and said three attackers were shot and killed by police.
In a statement released by Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said police shot and killed three suspects “within eight minutes of the first call.” The suspects, he said, “were wearing what looked like explosive vests but these were later established to be hoaxes.”
“At this stage,” said Rowley, “we believe that six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot dead by police. And at least 20 casualties have been taken to six hospitals across London.”
Meanwhile, the White House says President Donald Trump spoke with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May and offered his condolences for today’s “brutal terror attacks.”
“He praised the heroic response of police and other first responders and offered the full support of the United States Government in investigating and bringing those responsible for these heinous acts to justice,” according to the White House statement.
Earlier tonight, London police declared the two incidents involving three suspects at London Bridge and Borough Market as acts of terrorism, and Trump tweeted a plea for his “Travel Ban” in the wake of the violence. Trump then tweeted his support for London: “WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!” (See tweets below).
“We must be smart, vigilant and tough,” Trump wrote. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” See the tweets below. Trump also retweeted a Drudge Report story on the London attacks.
The Prime Minister had said the London incident was being treated as a “potential act of terrorism,” while the police department’s marine unit was using lifeboats to evacuate the public in the bridge area. The London Ambulance Service confirm earlier confirmed that at least 20 people were taken to six hospitals and others were treated for less serious injuries at the scene.
London mayor Sadiq Khan called the situation “a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.”
It was unclear from the Scotland Yard statement whether the victims died on the Bridge or in the Borough Market restaurant where the attackers wielded weapons described variously as swords or machetes.
Police said a third incident – a stabbing in the Vauxhall area – was unrelated to the other two attacks.
Previous London Metropolitan Police are dealing with multiple incidents in at least three locations in the city that are ongoing, including at the famed London Bridge, the nearby Borough Market and another incident in Vauxhall.
Police have confirmed that shots were fired in Borough Market after a reported multiple stabbing, an incident that quickly followed reports of a van crashing into pedestrians on the London Bridge. Some reports suggested that men armed with knives exited the vehicle and attacked people nearby.
Just before midnight London time, CNN’s Nic Robertson, on the scene near the bridge, reported that police in riot gear instructed reporters and others to leave the area immediately. The BBC is reporting that police are looking for armed suspects in the ongoing situation.
The police also tweeted a “Run. Hide. Tell” message:
Earlier, CNN broke into regular programming with reports that a white van had plowed into pedestrians, and a nearby restaurant was the site of the multiple stabbing. An eyewitness told the network he saw at least several people struck by the swerving van.
Police then reported another incident in nearby Borough Market, with news reports of possible gunshots in the area.
The initial police response occurred around 10:08 pm London time.
The news arrives just a day before tomorrow night’s big One Love Manchester concert starring Ariana Grande in Manchester, about a three-hour drive from London. The benefit concert will be seen live in more than 50 countries, with all proceeds from the international distribution of TV rights going towards the “We Love Manchester Emergency Fund,” set up by Manchester City Council in partnership with the British Red Cross in honor of the victims and families affected by the May 22 suicide bombing at Grande’s Manchester Arena concert.
The story is developing, with police just tweeting that they “will release facts when we can.”
Nancy Tartaglione contributed to this report