Mayor of London urges public to remain 'calm' in wake of late night knife attack
Published 04/08/2016 | 06:57
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for the public to remain "calm and vigilant" as police investigate whether a knife attack that left one woman dead and five people injured was terror-related.
Mr Khan said his "heart goes out to the victims of the incident in Russell Square and their loved ones" after the death of the woman, who has not been identified but is believed to have been in her 60s.
Two women and three men suffered "various injuries" in the incident in central London and are receiving treatment in hospital.
Armed police are being deployed on the streets of London on Thursday to reassure the public who were recently warned that it was a case of "when, not if" a terrorist attack took place in Britain.
Mr Khan said police were doing an "incredibly difficult job" and the safety of Londoners was his "number one priority".
"I have spoken with the Commissioner, and the Assistant Commissioner, who have assured me that our police officers are working extremely hard to investigate exactly what has happened and to keep the rest of us safe.
"A man was arrested at the scene. Police have spoken to him and are seeking to establish the full facts including motives for this attack.
"I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant. Please report anything suspicious to the police. We all have a vital role to play as eyes and ears for our police and security services and in helping to ensure London is protected."
The attack took place metres away from a floral tribute to murdered MP Jo Cox, with a sign reading "Lest London forgets Jo Cox MP for Yorkshire", and sunflowers hanging from the metal fence around the square.
Tommaso Greco, 26, who works in Pret opposite the scene, said: "I am quite shocked because I used to come here every day at 5am and every day it is quiet. This morning I came, and no.
"I am a little bit worried, for sure. Because it could happen to anyone. They were just in the middle of the street. And here, generally, there are a lot of people. It is a tourist area."
He added that staff at the coffee shop had initially been told that it would not open today, but that the instructions later changed.