Two people were killed and three more were injured in a terrorist attack near London Bridge on Friday, police have confirmed. The suspect was wrestled to the ground by passersby and shot dead by officers.
Cressida Dick told a press conference the stabbing attack, which has been declared a terrorist incident, began at an event at Fishmonger’s Hall.
Within five minutes of being called officers confronted the suspect – who was shot dead by police – she said.
The attacker is understood to have been wearing an electronic tag when he staged the attack after being released from prison for terrorism related offences.
He was known to the authorities at MI5 and police because of his previous conviction, sources confirm.
The suspect, who police say was wearing a fake suicide vest, was killed after emergency services were called to a stabbing incident at premises near the bridge shortly before 2pm on Friday.
The incident played out in extraordinary scenes that prompted praise for the bravery of members of the public and police. In footage captured by bystanders, civilians are seen wrestling with a person lying on the ground at the northern end of the bridge, before being pulled to safety by armed police arriving at the scene.
A press report realised stated that the attacker was a guest at a Cambridge University conference on prisoner rehabilitation at Fishmongers’ Hall – where the attack began – and later threatened to blow up the venue.
It went on to quote unnamed Whitehall sources as saying the attacker had been released from prison around a year ago after serving time for a “terrorism-related offence”, and had agreed to wear an electronic tag.
Dozens of people were in attendance, including students from Cambridge University and former prisoners.
The university said it was “gravely concerned” about reports of its students and staff being caught up in the attack and was urgently seeking further information.
Ms Dick said police were working at “full tilt” to understand what had happened and whether anyone else was involved.
Officers were still working to identify the dead, she said.
Of the injured people, one is critical but stable, a second is stable and a third has less serious injuries, the head of the NHS, Simon Stevens said.
Details of what happened are still emerging, but videos on social media appear to show passers-by holding down the suspect on London Bridge.
Another man in a suit could be seen running from him, having apparently retrieved a large knife.
Footage then shows an officer arriving, seeming to indicate to the group to move, and firing a shot.
The actions of the public have been widely praised, including by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Ms Dick, who said they had shown “extreme courage”.
She added: “Ours is a great city because we embrace each other’s differences.
“We must emerge stronger still from this tragedy. In doing that we will ensure that the few who seek to divide us will never, ever succeed.”
In a separate incident in the Netherlands: Several stabbed in The Hague city center incident
The attacker is still on the run after three teenagers were injured during a stabbing incident in the Grote Marktstraat in the center of the city.
Three teenagers were injured during a stabbing incident at a shopping street in the center of the Dutch city on Friday evening.
Dutch media reported that the incident took place at around 8 p.m. (1900 UTC) outside of a department store in the Grote Markt area. Because of Black Friday sales, there were unusually large crowds in that part of the city.
According to the daily Algemeen Dagblad (AD) newspaper, bystanders reported seeing three people brought away on stretchers.
It is not yet known how old the victims are or how serious their injuries are.
The Hague’s deputy mayor Boudewijn Revis said he was “shocked” that the victims were children.
Assailant still on the run
The perpetrator has still not been found. There is a large police presence throughout the city and a helicopter is circling overhead, according to AD.
Marje Kuiper, police spokeswoman, said an earlier description released of the attacker was incorrect.
The Hague police had previously said they were searching for a man between 45 and 50 years old in a gray tracksuit and black jacket and of North African descent.
Appealing for witnesses
The Hague police called on witnesses to provide any video or photos they may have regarding the incident and tweeted that the force is conducting extensive investigations into the stabbing incident.
They asked for patience in confirming more details of the attack, saying that the “complexity” of the situation meant it would take time.
Police have yet to offer a motive for the attack and said they are “currently taking all scenarios into account.” The attack came hours after a terror-related attack in London that saw two people stabbed to death.