Politics resumes in wake of terror in London
Britain has been hit by its third terrorist attack in three months as seven people were mown down by a van and stabbed in the heart of London. Is Britain — and indeed Europe — at war?
22:07. The area to the south of London Bridge is a hub of joy and merriment. Pubs and restaurants are full and noisy.
22:16. Three terrorists are shot dead by police. In between, eight minutes of death, mayhem, gunfire and terror.
London was under attack. A van drove over London Bridge hitting pedestrians at 50mph. It then crashed at the southern end of the bridge. Out jumped three knife-wielding attackers.
They started attacking people and headed to Borough Market. Witnesses reported how they stabbed people in pubs and restaurants, shouting “This is for Allah”.
The attackers were shot dead by armed officers. Seven people were killed and 48 injured. At the time of going to press, most have not been named.
Police and intelligence services worked overnight to unpick what happened. They have since made 12 arrests
The major parties have suspended national election campaigning. The vote on Thursday will not be postponed.
The attack took place during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. At the start of the month, ISIS’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi exhorted his followers to “wreck havoc in their land and make their blood flow as rivers”.
There are around 3,000 known jihadists in Britain. It is reported that he security services have disrupted several terror plots.
How to react? The main rivals in the current general election yesterday had a different focus.
A question of emphasis
For Theresa May, prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party, it was the “evil ideology of Islamic extremism”. Watched by millions all over the world on the steps of 10 Downing Street she said “defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time”.
For Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, it was resources. As soon as campaigning was resumed at 7pm last night he said: “You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts. Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of crying wolf.”
- Is Europe facing a state of civil war?
- Write down what you believe to be the three most important reasons these terrorist attacks happen. Explain your choices.
Some People Say...
“We harbour those who hate us, tolerate those who threaten us and indulge those who weaken us.”Margaret Thatcher, shortly after 9/11.
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- At the time of publishing, we know that three men were involved in a terrorist attack that took place on London Bridge and at Borough Market on Saturday night. Seven people have died, as well as the three attackers, while 48 are injured, 21 critically.
- What do we not know?
- We do not know whether the attackers were acting alone, or whether they were part of a larger network.
- London Bridge
- London Bridge is one of the city’s oldest bridges, dividing the borough of Southwark from the City of London — the financial centre. It is also the name of a major railway station.
- Police officers fired 50 rounds at the attackers — an unprecedented number, according to the Metropolitan Police.
- Major parties
- UKIP were the only party to continue campaigning.
- Ramadan this year started on May 26th and will end on June 24th. During Ramadan, Muslims are required not to eat, drink or smoke from dawn until dusk.