UPDATE — 6/6, 10:57 a.m. EDT: British authorities have named the third offender in Saturday’s London Bridge attack as 22-year-old Italian citizen Youssef Zaghba, who lived in the UK and is of Moroccan heritage.
Zaghba, now deceased, was not known to Metropolitan Police or British intelligence as a radical Islamist or violent threat.
One other 27-year-old male was detained by local police Tuesday morning as part of a raid campaign to find others who may have been involved in planning the attack that killed seven and injured dozens more.
The late-evening tranquility in the central London Borough of Southwark was disrupted Saturday in a terror attack which claimed seven lives and injured 48 others.
Saturday’s incident is the second suffered by Londoners in three months, the latest just days before snap elections; a third terror attack occurred in Manchester, England, on May 22. .
According to London Metropolitan Police, a utility van driving on London Bridge at a speed above 50 mph swerved wildly in a deliberate attempt to run down pedestrians. Following the van stopping at at the south edge of the bridge, three men wearing fake suicide vests and wielding 12-inch, fixed knives emerged from the van and pursued more pedestrians.
Officials said the perpetrators then ran into the Borough Market, a popular London attraction for clubgoers, diners and tourists.
Eyewitnesses say the attackers shouted “this is for Allah” repeatedly as they searched for victims to attack. Eyewitness accounts also detail how citizens attempted to repel the attackers by throwing chairs and glasses to thwart the assault.
All three suspects were shot dead at the scene, with UK authorities identifying one as 27-year-old Khuram Shazad Butt, a British citizen born in Pakistan known to police as a radical Islamist.
A second suspect was named as Rachid Redouane, of Moroccan or Libyan origin.
Declaring “enough is enough,” British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack and in a statement delivered from 10 Downing Street said:
“Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time, but it cannot be defeated by military intervention alone. It will not be defeated by the maintenance of a permanent defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners. It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values — pluralistic British values — are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.”
“While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society. That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations. But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.”
Following the Saturday evening attack, Metropolitan Police stormed apartments in London’s east end Barking neighborhood and arrested 12 in connection with the attack, but all have since been released.
In a statement published by news outlet Amaq Sunday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying ISIS “soldiers” caused the mayhem.
An investigation by British authorities into the incident is still ongoing.
[BBC] [Evening Standard] [AP] [NPR] [More News/YouTube] [Photo courtesy PA via Daily Mail]