Tourists and Londoners wanted to enjoy a peaceful evening near Britain’s famous London Bridge and Borough Market, but three men disturbed the peace as they stabbed and ran over many citizens on June 3, 2017.
Around 10 P.M, a white Renault van drove recklessly down London Bridge and ran over multiple people in its way. At first, citizens around the area thought that the driver, Khuram Butt, was under the influence of alcohol, but it soon became evident that Butt ran over innocent civilians on purpose. Eyewitnesses claimed that Butt drove the van so fast that some victims flew up in the air due to the impact of the crash.
Other eyewitnesses explained how panic and chaos quickly rose as people near London Bridge began to run for safety. One man feared being hit by Butt’s van so much that he decided to jump off the bridge and into River Thames. Unfortunately, he was found dead three days later.
Freshman Carolina Alburez said, “The London Bridge attack proved to me that there is no hope in humanity.”
The man who jumped off London Bridge was soon identified as French citizen Xavier Thomas. Before Thomas’ death, there were only two French citizens that were murdered during the attack. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, confirmed Thomas’ death the same day his body was found: “We received confirmation of the new toll this morning. There are three deaths and eight injuries on the French side.”
Butt’s reckless driving soon came to an end as he crashed into a nearby bus stop. Tourists and local citizens were surprised when they saw Butt and two other men — Rachid Reduoane and Youssef Zaghba — jump out of the van and into the streets. Pedestrians noticed that the men were holding 12 inch knives. The attackers then decided to stab people nearby.
Butt, Reduoane, and Zaghba wore fake suicide belts around their waist in order to cause more fear. After they stabbed random people on London Bridge, they made their way to the popular Borough Market. The attackers entered restaurants in the market and slashed as many customers as they could.
Freshman Brielle Fitzpatrick said, “It is disgusting that someone can just stab people to death without feeling some sort of sympathy. People disgust me.”
Witnesses described some customers trying to fight off the attackers by throwing bottles and chairs at the attackers, but they were killed. Witnesses claimed that the attackers yelled, “This is for Islam” as they killed their victims.
Around 10:10 P.M, British police officers arrived at the scene and began their search for the the attackers. Unfortunately, one police officer was stabbed and killed in front of the Houses of Parliament by Butt. Finally, eight policemen found and surrounded Butt, Reduoane, and Zaghba. They soon shot 50 rounds of bullets and killed the attackers.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “The emergency services acted heroically and brilliantly last night.”
Unfortunately, eight people were killed and 50 people are in critical condition after the attack. As ambulances arrived at the scene, paramedics quickly treated some of the victims on the floor.
Policemen did not leave the area where the three attackers held their attack. They went to the white Renault van that was driven and began a search inside, uncovering 13 wine bottles filled with flammable liquid and blow torches. This discovery made officials believe that the London attack was meant to be much worse.
British officials announced that the London attack was an act of terrorism. On June 4, the Islamic State terrorist group declared that their “soldiers” committed the attack in London. Authorities did not mention whether the Islamic State’s claim could be true, but they did say that there was no evidence to support their claim.
Outraged by the attack, British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a tougher stance against extremists. Soon, raids by police throughout London began. Officers arrested 12 people who were thought to have a connection with the London attack, but they were released with no charge.
One house that was searched belonged to one of the three London Bridge attackers. The police are searching for other people that are known to have signs of being a radical.
The ringleader of the attack, 27-year-old Butt, was known to the police. He was a British citizen born in Pakistan. Butt featured in a Channel 4 documentary called “The Jihadis Next Door,” which warned of the rise of extremism in Britain. In the documentary, he posed with the Islamic State flag.
The second attacker, 37-year-old Reduoane, was not previously known to the police. He claimed that he was of Moroccan and Libyan decent. Reduoane lived in Ireland for five years, but authorities never suspected him as a terrorist.
Zaghba was known by the Italian police because he was stopped at Bologna’s airport in Italy for claiming that he wanted to be a terrorist. Zaghba’s mother also claimed that her son wanted to go to Syria because that was a place to practice pure Islam.
How might this recent London attack affect local Londoners around the area? What can we do to prevent an attack like this from happening again?