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Police arrest 12 after night of terror in heart of London

British police have arrested a dozen people in a widening terrorism investigation after attackers

By DANICA KIRKA, JILL LAWLESS and GREGORY KATZ Associated Press Published: June 5, 2017 4:00 AM
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LONDON -- British police arrested a dozen people Sunday in a widening terrorism investigation after attackers using a van and large knives turned a balmy evening of nightlife into a bloodbath and killed seven people in the heart of London.

Although the attackers were also dead, authorities raced to determine whether others assisted them, and Prime Minister Theresa May warned that the country faced a new threat from copycat terrorist attacks.

The county's major political parties temporarily suspended campaigning with only days to go before the general election. May said the vote would take place as scheduled Thursday because "violence can never be allowed to disrupt the democratic process."

The assault unfolded over a few terrifying minutes late Saturday, starting when a rented van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on busy London Bridge. Three men then got out of the vehicle with large knives and attacked people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market until they were shot dead by police.

"They went 'This is for Allah,' and they had a woman on the floor. They were stabbing her," witness Gerard Vowls said.

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Florin Morariu, a Romanian chef who works in the Bread Ahead bakery, said he saw people running and some fainting. Then two people approached another person and "began to stick the knife in ... and then I froze and I didn't know what to do."

He said he managed to get near one attacker and "hit him around the head" with a bread basket.

"There was a car with a loudspeaker saying 'go, go' and they (police) threw a grenade. ... and then I ran," he said.

London police said officers killed the attackers within eight minutes of arriving at the scene. Eight officers fired some 50 rounds, said Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the force's head of counterterrorism.

The three attackers were wearing what appeared to be suicide belts, but the belts turned out to be fake. Investigators were working to determine whether others assisted them, Rowley said.

A bystander was also wounded by the gunfire, but the civilian's injuries were not believed to be critical.

Forty-eight people, including two police officers, were treated at hospitals. Twenty-one remained in critical condition Sunday. Among the wounded were German, French and Spanish citizens, officials said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a Canadian was among the dead. A French national was also confirmed dead.

Counterterrorism officers raided several addresses in Barking, an east London suburb, and arrested 12 people there Sunday, police said.


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