Sunday 20 August 2017

Police fired 'unprecedented' 50 rounds to neutralise three London Bridge attackers

  • Van used by attackers believed to be 'recently hired'
  • A member of the public was also shot by police and is receiving treatment
  • Police raids carried out in Barking and East Ham
  • Responding officers feared attackers were suicide bombers
  • Police say public can expect increased police presence in the city
People leave the area wearing foil blankets after an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
An armed police officer keeps watch after an incident near London Bridge in London, Britain June 4, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Britain's senior counter-terrorism officer has confirmed that police fired around 50 rounds at the three London Bridge terrorists and a member of the public was also injured.

"We've established that the van as a White Renault van that was recently hired by one of the attackers," Met Police Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said.

"As our understanding grows we now understand that the van at London Bridge started the attack at 21.58 yesterday, as it went from north to south on the river.

"The van mounted the pavement and collided with pedestrians before being abandoned where attackers, who were armed with knives, moved into the Borough Market area stabbing numerous people," he added.

A man carries a dog with a woman wearing a dressing gown after an attack in London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
A man carries a dog with a woman wearing a dressing gown after an attack in London, Sunday, June 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

I can confirm that eight police fire arms officers discharged their weapons.

"Our initial assessment is that in the region of 50 rounds were fired by those officers.

"The situation these officers were confronted with was critical,  a matter of life and death, three armed men wearing what appeared to be suicide vests. They had already attacked and killed members of the public and needed to be stopped immediately.

"I am not surprised that when faced what they must have feared were three suicide bombers the fire arms fired an unprecedented number of rounds to be completely confident that they had neutralised the threat that those men posed," he said.

"As the officers confronted a terrorist a member of the public also suffered a gunshot wound," he said.

The injured member of the public is receiving hospital treatment but their injuries are not critical.

Rowley said police were making significant progress in identifying the three attackers, but gave no details. He said police were increasingly confident the attack had been carried out by three individuals, but needed to establish whether others were involved in the planning.

He also said security arrangements for forthcoming events were being reviewed and the public could expect to see additional police, both armed and unarmed, across the capital.

"You will also see increased physical measures in order to keep the public safe on London's bridges," Rowley said.

Saturday's attack was the second to involve a vehicle driving into pedestrians on a bridge in London in just three months.

In March, five people died after an attacker drove a car at pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and stabbed a policeman in the grounds of parliament. The attacker was shot dead by police.

The police chiefs comments came as police raided a second building in east London.

British police were searching an address in East Ham a Reuters photographer said on Sunday, describing a cordon outside the building and a large police presence.

It has not yet been confirmed if the raid is connected with the terror attack.

Additional reporting: Reuters

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