Islamic State Claims London Terror Rampage
By VOA News June 04, 2017
Islamic State (IS) is claiming responsibility for Saturday night's deadly terror rampage in London, which killed seven people and wounded 48.
IS made its claim of a "security detachment" carrying out the attack on its Amaaq news agency webpage. A van driver ran over pedestrians on the London Bridge. Three men jumped out of the van and stabbed people in a nearby market.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Sunday police believe the three men shot dead by police were the lone perpetrators of the attack and therefore raising the threat level to the top at "critical" was not warranted.
Following the May 22 suicide bombing after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, authorities raised the threat level to critical for one week as they sought possible accomplices.
'Enough is enough'
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday the three terrorist attacks in Britain in the last three months are "bound together by the evil ideology of Islamist extremism."
There is "far too much tolerance for extremism in our country," May said. "We need to be more robust in identifying and stamping out extremism in public service and across society. … It is time to say enough is enough."
May said Saturday's attack does not appear to be connected to the suicide bombing in Manchester that killed 22 people, or another attack on pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in March.
But she said "terrorism breeds terrorism" and the perpetrators are "copying one another."
Officials say the investigation into Saturday's attack is moving quickly. Counterterrorism officers arrested 12 people following raids in East London Sunday morning.
The attack began when a large delivery van - apparently rented from a do-it-yourself building chain store - drove into pedestrians at high speed on London Bridge late Saturday evening.
Witnesses said they saw the van heading toward Borough Market veer off the roadway at high speed, probably in excess of 80 kilometers per hour, and drive into pedestrians. As many as eight people who were walking across the bridge were hit and thrown to the pavement.
The vehicle then proceeded to Borough Market where three men exited the vehicle and carried out multiple stabbings.
Police said the three attackers were shot dead by armed officers within eight minutes of the first call to emergency services. They said that canisters the attackers wore, making them look like suicide bombers, were fake.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, denounced the attack. "I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," he said. "There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts."
Farhad Ahmad, a London Imam, told Sky News "people need to be told that there is no support for this in Islam at all."
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates each issued statements condemning the attack and expressing support for Britain.
At a mass marking Pentecost, the end of the Easter season, Pope Francis asked for prayers for the victims and their families. He also prayed for "peace to the whole world" and for the wounds of war and terrorism to be healed.
Before their Champions Trophy match in Birmingham, rival cricket teams from India and Pakistan observed a moment of silence for the victims.
A moment of silence was also held in Manchester, where American pop singer Ariana Grande returned to headline a concert to raise money for the victims of the May 22 suicide bombing.
Trump offers 'full support'
President Donald Trump offered America's "full support" in investigating the "brutal terror attacks" in London during a telephone call with Prime Minister May.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it was in close contact with British authorities.
"At this time," an official statement said, "we have no information to indicate a specific, credible terror threat in the United States" as a result of the London attack.
Trump also tweeted that the attacks emphasized the correctness of his strict policies on immigration. Other users of social media, both in the U.S. and in Britain, criticized Trump.
VOA's Kenneth Schwartz contributed to this report.
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