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Terror attacks strike heart of London; 7 people killed

Orient Net - AP | 2017-06-04 12:44 Damascuss

British police officers walk within a cordoned off area after an attack in the London Bridge area of London, Sunday, June 4, 2017 (Photo: AP)
The death toll from a terror attack at the heart of London rose to seven Sunday (June 4) as Prime Minister Theresa May convened an emergency security cabinet session to deal with the crisis.

The assault began Saturday night when a van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on busy London Bridge. Three men fled the van with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market, police and witnesses said. The attack unfolded quickly, and police said officers had shot and killed the three attackers within eight minutes.

The violence turned a summery night in an area packed with revelers into a scene of panic and chaos, with officers running through crowded streets screaming for people to flee. Lifeboats on the River Thames helped evacuate the area, which is popular with tourists. It remained closed off Sunday and police urged residents and tourists to stay away.

Emergency officials said 48 people were treated at London hospitals and a number of others suffered less serious injuries.

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The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks “terrorist incidents,” but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Britain was already on edge after a suicide bombing two weeks ago at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in northwest England, that killed 22 people and injured dozens of others. Grande and other stars are scheduled to perform a benefit concert for victims Sunday night.

The latest attacks come just days before Thursday’s general election. May’s Conservative Party had been expected to win by a wide margin but recent polls have showed the race tightening. Major parties temporarily suspended national campaigning Sunday.

May confirmed the attack “is being treated as a potential act of terrorism” and said her thoughts were with “those who are caught up in these dreadful events.” Her office said she would chair a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee on Sunday.

It was the third attack to hit Britain in as many months.

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