London police say two people were killed in a stabbing near London Bridge that ended when the attacker was shot dead by police.
Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick said “tragically” two members of the public had lost their lives in the Friday attack.
Dick added three injured people were being treated in hospitals after the attack, which unfolded just yards from the site of a deadly 2017 van and knife rampage.
Health officials said one of the injured was in critical but stable condition, one was stable and the third had less serious injuries.
Police say the stabbings have been declared a “terrorist incident.”
Police said the attacker was Usman Khan, a 28-year-old who was released on probation last year after serving six years for terrorism offences.
Police said Khan was convicted in 2012 of terrorism offences and released in December 2018 “on license,” which means he had to meet certain conditions or face recall to prison. Several British media outlets reported that he was wearing an electronic ankle bracelet.
The police force said officers were called just before 2 p.m. “to a stabbing at premises near to London Bridge,” which links the city’s business district with the south bank of the River Thames.
Scores of police, some armed with sub-machine guns, rushed to the scene, ushering bemused office workers and tourists out of an area packed with office buildings, banks, restaurants and bars. Workers in office blocks in the area were told to stay inside.
The fleeing attacker, who was wearing a hoax explosive device, was tackled by members of the public before being shot by police.
The Times of London said he stabbed people at a criminology conference in London that he was attending.
— amanda** (@AmandaHunter87) November 29, 2019
One video posted on social media showed two men struggling on the bridge before police pulled a man in civilian clothes off a black-clad man on the ground. Shots then rang out.
Other images showed police, guns drawn, pointing at a figure on the ground in the distance.
Amanda Hunter said she was on a bus crossing the bridge when she heard shots.
″(The bus) all of a sudden stopped and there was commotion and I looked out the window and I just saw these three police officers going over to a man,” she told the BBC.
“It seemed like there was something in his hand, I’m not 100% sure, but then one of the police officers shot him.”
Canada stands with the UK after today’s suspected terrorist attack in London, and we’re grateful for the first responders and people who bravely intervened. Our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 29, 2019
On behalf of all Toronto residents, we send our support to the people of London following the London Bridge terrorism incident. Thank you to the brave citizens & first responders who stopped this attack. We join London & cities around the world in condemning terrorism.
— John Tory (@JohnTory) November 29, 2019
BBC reporter John McManus was in the area and said he saw figures grappling on the bridge. He said: “I thought it was initially a fight,” but then shots rang out.
Cars and buses on the busy bride were at a standstill, with a white truck stopped diagonally across the lanes. Video footage showed police pointing guns at the truck before moving to check its container.
British Transport Police said London Bridge station, one of the city’s busiest rail hubs, was closed and trains were not stopping there.
City of London Police, the force responsible for the business district, urged people to stay away from the area.
The incident revived memories of the June 2017 London Bridge attack, when three Islamic State-inspired attackers ran down people on the bridge, killing two, before stabbing several people to death in nearby Borough Market.
That incident took place days before a general election. Britons are due to go to the polls again on Dec. 12.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said he was receiving updates on the incident and was returning to his 10 Downing St. office from the campaign trail.
In March 2017, an attacker fatally struck four people with a car on nearby Westminster Bridge then fatally stabbed a police officer before security forces shot and killed him in a courtyard outside Parliament.