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History > 2017 > UK > Terrorism (I)

 

 

 

Death toll from London Bridge attack

rises after body found in Thames

Police searching for missing Frenchman Xavier Thomas recover body bringing number known to have died to eight

 

Wednesday 7 June 2017

13.27 BST

First published

on Sunday 4 June 2017

11.54 BST

 

The number of victims of the London Bridge atrocity has risen to eight after police searching for a missing Frenchman recovered a body from the Thames.

Next of kin of Xavier Thomas, 45, missing since Saturday’s attack, have been informed, though no formal identification has yet taken place, the Metropolitan police said.

Those killed during the London Bridge attack include three French citizens, the French president said.

“We have had confirmation of the new death toll this morning,” Emmanuel Macron said on the steps of the Élysée palace. “As far as French nationals are concerned, there have indeed been three fatalities and eight wounded. We are paying a heavy price in these attacks.”

Six of those confirmed to have died have now been named by relatives.

The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said one of the French citizens who had previously been unaccounted for “has been identified among those who have died”.

French media reports identified him as Sébastien Bélanger, 36, who was reported missing by his girlfriend, Gerda Bennet.

Another French victim, Alexandre Pigeard, 26, who was working in a French restaurant in Borough Market, has also been named by French media as having died.

Thomas, who was in London for the weekend with his girlfriend, is believed to have been thrown into the river Thames after being struck by the speeding van driven along London Bridge in the attack.

The family of Sara Zelenak, 21, an au pair from Brisbane, who had been missing since being separated from friends in the chaos of the attack, has confirmed she is also among the dead.

Another Australian, Kirsty Boden, a 28-year-old nurse, died as she ran to help others during the attack. She worked as a theatre recovery nurse at Guy’s hospital.

“As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life,” her family said in a statement.

Boden is one of four Australians said to have been caught up in the terror attack.

As the process of identifying victims continues, Spanish authorities are still awaiting news of Ignacio Echeverría. a 39-year-old missing HSBC banker. The Spanish foreign ministry has said they have no update, and are urging the British authorities to speed up the identification process.



The victims

Christine Archibald, 30, a Canadian, and Londoner James McMullan, 32, were the first victims to be named by family members.

On Monday the family of McMullan, who had been on a night out, said they believed he was among the victims. Although his body has not been formally identified, his sister Melanie McMullan said in a statement that his bank card had been found on a body at the scene, and that the family expected official confirmation on Wednesday.

McMullan was described by his sister as “someone who put friends and family above all else”. She insisted that the family would not be drawn into hatred by the atrocity. “While our pain will never diminish, it is important for us to carry on with our lives in direct opposition to those who would try to destroy us, and remember that hatred is the refuge of small-minded individuals, and will only breed more,” she said. “This is not a course we will follow, despite our loss.”

 

Kirsty Boden

Boden had been working in London since 2013. In a statement, her family said: “Kirsty was loved and adored by her family, friends and boyfriend. She was the most outgoing, kind and generous person who loved to help people. Helping people was what she loved to do in her job as a nurse and in her daily life.

“As she ran towards danger, in an effort to help people on the bridge, Kirsty sadly lost her life. We are so proud of Kirsty’s brave actions which demonstrate how selfless, caring and heroic she was, not only on that night, but throughout all of her life. Kirsty – we love you and we will miss you dearly.”

She was a keen traveller and in a blog described herself as “just your average dreamer, with a full-time job and a constant longing to go where I haven’t been”. Recent posts were from Milan, Sofia, Lisbon and Kiev, for the 2017 Eurovision song contest. Urging others to travel, she had written: “At the risk of sounding cliche, life is short and we should all use the time we have wisely,” The Age reported.

Paying tribute, Dame Eileen Sills, the chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust said: “Kirsty was an outstanding nurse and a hugely valued member of the staff team in Theatres Recovery, described by her colleagues as ‘one in a million’ who always went the extra mile for the patients in her care.”

 

James McMullan

James McMullan, from Hackney in east London, had not been seen since he stepped out of the Barrowboy and Banker pub on Borough High Street for a cigarette five minutes before the attackers crashed their van directly outside.

Melissa McMullan had posted an appeal for information about her “amazing and incredibly talented big brother” on social media. She said he had been meeting up with school friends and had not been home or in contact since the attack. Friends had checked hospitals without success. The Londoner was about to launch an e-learning business.

Reading a statement announcing that James was believed to be among the victims after his bank card was found on one of those killed, Melissa, 30, said: “From his friends who were with him on the night, they want everyone to know what a generous and caring friend he was. Words will never be able to match his essence. There will only ever be one James. Nowhere else will you find such humour and unique personality and someone who puts friends and family above all else. He was an inspiration.”

 

Christine Archibald

A Canadian victim was named by her family as Christine Archibald, from Castlegar, British Columbia. After graduating in social work from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, she had worked at a homeless shelter. Her family said: “We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected.

“She lived this belief, working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiance. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death. Please honour her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labour or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you.”

Archibald was with her fiance, Tyler Ferguson, when she died. His sister, Cassie Ferguson, told CBC News: “He is broken into a million pieces. He held her and watched her die in his arms.”

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said he was heartbroken at the news. “We grieve with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, and wish all those injured a speedy and full recovery,” he said.

“Londoners and people across the United Kingdom have always displayed strength and resilience in the face of adversity. We recently witnessed this after the attacks in Manchester and in the Westminster area of London. This time will be no different.”

 

French victims

Three French citizens are believed to have died. Two are confirmed killed, while police searching for a third missing man have recovered a body from the Thames. The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said: “It is with great sadness that I have learned that one of the French citizens, who was previously given as unaccounted for, has been identified among those who have died.”

Le Drian did not name the victim but French media identified him as Sébastien Bélanger, 36, from Angers, a chef at the Coq d’Argent restaurant in the City who friends and relatives said had been watching the Champions league final with friends in a Borough market restaurant called Boro Bistro. Bélanger, who had lived in London for seven years, was reported missing by his girlfriend, Gerda Bennet, a bartender in Hoxton in the east of the city.

Appealing for information online, she said: “My heart is broken and I wish no one in this world could feel what I feel now.”

Bélanger’s cousin, Céline, told RTL radio that he and his friends “became separated when the attackers entered the bar. They all ran in different directions to escape, and lost contact with each other”.

Le Parisien newspaper said it had confirmed his death late on Tuesday night, adding that his mother and brother were expected to arrive in London on Wednesday. The paper said Bélanger had begun the evening in the The Barrowboy & Banker pub before moving on to the bistro.

French media on Tuesday named Alexandre Pigeard, 27, from Normandy, who moved to London two-and-a-half years ago and was working on Saturday night at the Boro Bistro, as also having died.

La Manche Libre quoted residents from Pigeard’s home town, Colleville-Montgomery near Caen as saying his death had been confirmed by the mayor. “He was a kid who wanted to succeed, who loved life,” one resident told the newspaper.

The paper said he was a familiar figure in Caen, where he had worked in a number of bars before leaving for the UK. The mother of Vincent Le Berre, a French bar manager at Boro Bistro in Borough market, earlier told Le Telegramme that her son believed a colleague of his, Alexandre, had been killed at the bar.

Le Drian said on Monday he had wanted to come to London “to show that France is at Britain’s side. “The UK has been hit for the third time in less than three months by a terrorist attack. We wanted to show our solidarity to all families of the victims and show we are all concerned by this, and to express our profound compassion.”

“At present the the toll among French citizens of the London attack is two dead and eight injured, including four in a serious condition,” the foreign ministry said. One French national “remains missing”.

Thomas’s next of kin have been informed that the body of a man was found in the river on Tuesday night at 7.44pm near Limehouse by specialist officers from the marine police unit.

Thomas, who was in London for the weekend with his girlfriend, has not been seen since Saturday night. His girlfriend, Christine Delcros, was seriously injured. Her sister, Nathalie Cros Brohan, posted online that she was on her way to London to visit Delcros in hospital. She appealed for anyone with news of Thomas to get in touch, adding: “We are terribly worried.”
 


Ignacio Echeverría

Ignacio Echeverría, 39, from Madrid, who works for HSBC in London, had apparently been skateboarding in a park with friends when he stopped to help a woman who was injured in the atrocity. His family had been asked for fingerprints for identification purposes.

Australian Sara Zelenak, 21, was last seen running from the attack on London Bridge, where she became separated from friends. Her mother, Julie, who travelled to London, confirmed her death in a Facebook post saying: “Sara Zelenak is confirmed dead they found her body & has DNA tests confirmed thank-you for all the overwhelming love & support from everyone.” Zelenak was a nanny, and was supposed to be babysitting on Saturday night but there was a last-minute change of plan.

Her mother told Australian radio station 97.3FM her daughter had been travelling in Europe since March, and was working as an au pair in London. She said her daughter had been at Westminster the day before Khalid Masood killed five in a car and knife rampage and had also planned to go to the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, where suicide bomber Salman Abedi murdered 22 victims. “Everything, she’s just missed,” she had said.

 

British Transport Police officer

Among the 48 injured were four police officers, including a British Transport Police officer who confronted the terrorists with nothing more than a baton. Theresa May said many of the wounded had sustained life-threatening injuries, while the NHS said at least 21 people were in a critical condition.

The BTP chief constable, Paul Crowther, said he had visited his colleague in hospital and he had “showed enormous courage in the face of danger, as did many others who were at the scene and rushed to help”.

“Although he is seriously unwell, he was able to recount how he faced the attackers armed only with his baton, outside London Bridge station. For an officer who only joined us less than two years ago, the bravery he showed was outstanding and makes me extremely proud,” he said.

A Metropolitan police officer, a rugby player based in Southwark, was off duty and having a drink with friends when he was stabbed tackling one of the three attackers. He is in a serious condition. The Met police commissioner, Cressida Dick, said: “My understanding is that, without hesitation, wearing his normal clothes, he dived in and tried to assist, and he I’m afraid was himself severely injured, but utterly heroic.”

A further two Met officers were hurt while on duty, one a plain clothes officer who received stitches to a head injury, and a uniformed officer who received an injury to his arm.

 

Man hit by police bullet

Mark Rowley, the Met police assistant commissioner, said a member of the public was shot as officers tried to neutralise the terrorists with an “unprecedented” level of gunfire. Speaking at a press conference, Rowley said the individual was being treated in hospital but was not in a critical condition.

He said eight armed officers discharged about 50 bullets as they tried to stop the three knife-wielding attackers.

Dr Malik Ramadhan, a senior doctor at the Royal London hospital, told the Guardian the man was shot in the head but was expected to make a full recovery. “We had one gunshot wound. There’s a patient in this hospital who’s been shot in the head; a man. He’s absolutely not dying. Our expectation is that he will make a full recovery,” said Ramadhan, the divisional director for trauma at the hospital.
 


Daniel O’Neill

The mother of one of the victims, 23-year-old Daniel O’Neill, has told of her son’s experience. “He just stepped outside the bar for a second and a man ran up to him and said ‘this is for my family, this is for Islam’, and stuck a knife straight in him. He’s got a 7in scar going from his belly round to his back,” Elizabeth O’Neill told reporters outside King’s College hospital.

“The man ran away, Daniel headed back into the pub, there were shots fired, everybody was told to lie down, and then they were told to go downstairs in the bar. At this stage, Daniel’s friend had put a tourniquet on him and was holding pressure there. He was brought downstairs – parts of that he doesn’t remember – and then the police were there and brought him in their car to the hospital.”

O’Neill said her son could talk but was in shock. “These people say they are doing this in the name of God, which is an absolute joke. They are callous, they are barbaric and they are absolute cowards. We will carry on as normal,” she said.

London hospitals, including King’s College hospital, the Royal London and St Thomas’s confirmed they were among those treating the injured, though a number had now been discharged.

 

Geoff Ho

Geoff Ho, the Sunday Express business editor, was taken to intensive care after being stabbed in the throat when he tried to help a wounded bouncer. He was filmed being led away from the scene by a police officer, clutching his neck and with his shirt off.

According to the Mirror, he wrote on Facebook: “Don’t know whether it was stupid or noble to jump in and break up the fight outside the Southwark Tavern, but two a***s trying to do over the lone bouncer on the door isn’t happening on my watch.”

His friend, Isabelle Oderberg, tweeted: “We have found Geoff. He is in intensive care.” She told the Melbourne newspaper the Age: “He is actually a martial artist and I wouldn’t be surprised if he would have stood up and been counted because he’s just that type of person.”

From his hospital bed, Ho wrote: “The bastard in the Arsenal shirt came at me first. I think I got a hit in on one of them, but either he or his accomplice got me with a shot to the throat.”

On Tuesday morning Ho tweeted:

Follow
Geoff Ho @FinanceHog
Thank you every one for the best wishes. I got out of surgery yesterday and am on the mend.
7:14 AM - 5 Jun 2017
156 156 Retweets 1,316 1,316 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy

 

Antonis Filis

Antonis Filis, a Greek national who works in London, is recovering in hospital after being stabbed in the kidney. Greece’s state news agency said Filis, who also sustained head injuries, had been with his girlfriend in Borough Market.

According to Greek local media, Filis’s parents, Giorgos and Grazia-Maria, heard the news from his girlfriend. Filis lived close to Borough Market and his father sent a message to check that he was all right. “We didn’t get an answer, and then a little while later we saw a call come in from his phone. A girl said: ‘Don’t worry, he is well, he has been injured,’” Giorgos Filis told Lamia Report, a news outlet in the central Greek town.

“I wouldn’t wish it on any parent to be faced with the feeling that we had … he stared at death in the face … he said they were aiming for his carotid – with God’s help and with him throwing up his hand [in front of his face], he was hit on the head. If it had been a little bit lower we don’t know what would have happened.”

Filis required eight stitches to his head and several hours of surgery after being knifed in the kidney. His father said he was now out of danger.

 

Brett Freeman

Brett Freeman, from Dagenham, east London, was stabbed four times according to friend Darren Mole. Mole tweeted:

Follow
DarrenMole @DarrenMole
Just woke up to find a friend of mine stabbed 4 times in the #LondonBridge terror attack. All on your watch @SadiqKhan 😡 time to resign
5:36 AM - 4 Jun 2017 · London, England
220 220 Retweets 445 445 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy
Mole posted a picture of Freeman in his hospital bed.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
Follow
DarrenMole @DarrenMole
He's a soldier 👊🏼
6:02 PM - 4 Jun 2017 · Romford, London
113 113 Retweets 395 395 likes
Twitter Ads info and privacy

 

Candice Hedge, 31

Kim del Toro, the mother of Candice Hedge from Australia who was named as one of those hurt in the attack, told Fairfax Media that her daughter had received emergency surgery at St Thomas’s hospital, and said: “She is going to be fine, thank goodness.”

The Brisbane Courier Mail said Hedge had finished her waiting shift at Elliot’s restaurant and was having a drink at the bar when a man came up behind her, grabbed her head and slashed at her throat.

Del Toro said Hedge had been at the bar with her boyfriend, Luke, when “he heard some commotion out the front and went out to see what was going on”.

“He saw some men with knives coming toward them, and he ran back inside to see where Candice was.”

She said he had been unable to find her, and the police had yelled for everyone to stay down. He had then seen his girlfriend running towards him, holding her bleeding neck.

Del Toro said her daughter had been able to make a Skype call on Sunday morning. “She couldn’t speak, but I got to see her and she gave me the thumbs up, so I knew that she was OK.”

Hedge also posted on Facebook to reassure friends, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. She wrote: “I’m doing OK. Still in hospital, but all in the clear. I really can’t talk. The f----- stabbed me in the neck. Don’t worry too much. I love you all.”

 

Andrew Morrison

In a video posted on Reddit, Morrison, from Darwin, Australia, who had a bloodstained cloth wrapped around his neck, said he had been stabbed after leaving Belushi’s bar where he had been watching the Champions League final.

“All of a sudden this guy comes up with a knife … I push him off. I walk into a pub and say: ‘Someone help me, I’ve been stabbed,’” he said on the video.

Morrison’s sister Katrina told the NT News the family was just happy he was safe. “Yes, my brother was involved,” she said. “We’re currently sorting out his flight home.”

Darwin man describes escape from London attacker
Oliver Dowling and Marie Bondeville
Oliver Dowling, 32, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was recovering from four hours of surgery after being stabbed in the face, neck and stomach.
 


Marie Bondeville with her boyfriend Oliver Dowling

According to the New Zealand Herald, his sister Freddy posted on Facebook: “Doctors are very happy with how he’s come out the other side. A massive thanks to the University of London hospital for their tireless efforts in helping my brother out!”

His girlfriend, Marie Bondeville, was also injured, she wrote, adding: “Marie has been in surgery at another hospital but unfortunately we haven’t been able to find out how she is due to not being immediate family.”

 

Roy Larner

Larner, 47, from Peckham, was stabbed eight times as he fought with the trio of attackers at the Black & Blue bar in Borough Market. They shouted: “This is for Allah” and “Islam, Islam, Islam,” he told the Sun. He said he shouted back: “Fuck you, I’m Millwall,” before trying to punch them.

 

Other victims

A spokesman for Spain’s foreign ministry told the Associated Press that a Spanish man had been treated in hospital for wounds described as not serious.

Two German nationals were among the injured, according to Germany’s interior ministry.

Six women and eight men were taken to King’s College hospital in south London and one patient had since been discharged, a spokesman said. The Royal London hospital in east London was continuing to treat 12 people, Barts health NHS trust said.

A spokeswoman for Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS foundation trust said it had treated nine patients at St Thomas’s – six men and three women. Five had since been discharged and four – two men and two women – had been admitted.

A rest centre was set up at London South Bank University where volunteers from the British Red Cross were helping those affected, Southwark council said.

Of the 48 people admitted to five London hospitals following the attack, 32 still remained, NHS England said on Tuesday. The number of those in a critical condition fell to 15 from 18 on Monday, and 21 initially.

Death toll from London Bridge attack rises after body found in Thames,
G,
7 June 2017,
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/04/
foreign-nationals-victims-of-london-terror-attacks

 

 

 

 

 

At least 22 killed,

59 injured in suicide attack

at Manchester Arena

 

Police believe bombing was responsibility of one man,
Salman Abedi, 22, who died while carrying out the attack

 

Tuesday 23 May 2017

18.44 BST

First published on Monday 22 May 2017

23.10 BST

The Guardian

 

At least 22 people, including children, have been killed and 59 injured in a suicide bombing at a crowded pop concert in Manchester, the most deadly attack in Britain in a decade.

Soldiers on British streets as threat level raised to critical – as it happened
Police say attacker died after detonating ‘improvised explosive device’ in foyer of concert hall
Read more
The horror unfolded at about 10.30pm on Monday at the end of a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande, whose music is popular with children and teenagers.

The attack, which took place in the foyer, caused hundreds of people to flee in terror, with young people at the concert separated from their parents in the chaos. It left a scene of carnage inside the concert venue, where medics described treating wounds consistent with shrapnel injury.

One witness said he could see nuts and bolts strewn on the floor of the foyer after the attack, which suggests a nail bomb may have been involved. Families of those injured later said nuts and bolts were removed in life-saving surgeries.

Theresa May said: “We are working to establish the full details of what is being treated by the police as an appalling terrorist attack. All our thoughts are with the victims and the families of those who have been affected.”

The attack came less than three weeks before Britain’s general election on 8 June and on the anniversary of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby. In response, all parties have suspended campaigning. Flags outside Downing Street flew at half-mast.

The prime minister chaired an emergency meeting of the government’s crisis committee, Cobra, on Tuesday morning and later travelled to Manchester to meet with local law enforcement and survivors. She was scheduled to chair a second Cobra meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

The home secretary, Amber Rudd, paid tribute to emergency services, saying: “This was a barbaric attack, deliberately targeting some of the most vulnerable in our society – young people and children out at a pop concert. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims who have been affected.”

Greater Manchester police have confirmed that they believe the bombing was the responsibility of one man armed with an improvised explosive device. The man, named as 22-year-old Salman Abedi, is among the dead.

Police raided a number of properties in south Manchester in the wake of the attack, including one address in Fallowfield where a controlled explosion was used to gain entry.

The chief constable, Ian Hopkins, said: “We have been treating this as a terrorist incident and we believe that while the attack last night was conducted by one man, the priority is to establish whether he was acting alone or as part of a network.”

The investigation into the attack involves the police counter-terrorism network and Britain’s domestic security service, MI5.

The death toll would make it the worst event of its kind in Britain since the 7/7 bombing in 2005, which hit London’s transport network, killing 52 people.

Witnesses in Manchester described how, after the concert had finished, the house lights came up and then a loud bang was heard. Majid Khan, 22, said: “A huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.

“It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us as they were trying to exit.”

Oliver Jones, 17, who attended with his 19-year-old sister, said: “The bang echoed around the foyer of the arena and people started to run.”

People outside the concert hall were visibly upset as a cacophony of sirens was heard and police and ambulance vehicles arrived at the scene.

Erin McDougle, 20, from Newcastle, said: “There was a loud bang at the end of the concert. The lights were already on so we knew it wasn’t part of the show. At first we thought it was a bomb. There was a lot of smoke. People started running out. When we got outside the arena there were dozens of police vans and quite a few ambulances.”

A group of young men from Sheffield said they had seen at least five people covered in blood and others being carried out by bouncers.

A mother, at the concert with her two daughters, described seeing a man she believes to have been the suicide bomber. Emma Johnson told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I turned and saw [a] bright red top in the crowd with a grey panel down the front with risen bits all over it. It was that which stood out because it was so intense among the crowds of people. As quick as I saw it the explosion happened.”

She said she was 15ft (4.5 metres) away. “It happened near where they sell the merchandise,” said Johnson. “There were dead bodies everywhere. I saw the remains of the torso and the remains of the body.”

Charlotte Campbell said she last heard from her 15-year-old daughter Olivia at 8.30pm on Monday, shortly before Grande went on stage, and was frantically trying to find her.

“Her dad is actually in Manchester looking for her,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “I’ve got friends out looking for her, I’ve got people I don’t even know out looking for her.

“I’ve got people messaging me saying: ‘Look, we’ve got her photo and we’re out looking for her – we’ll get in contact with you if we see her’. I’m just hearing nothing – her phone’s dead.”

People in Manchester rallied round to help people caught up in the attack. Sikh temples and hotels offered refuge and some locals opened up their homes. Some taxi drivers waived their fares.

The attack happened despite years of warnings and tightening of security, especially around crowded paces. Investigators will want to find out the reason for the attack, where the material for the suspected device was bought and how it was designed.

Since the attack on London in 2005, measures have been put in place to restrict the purchase of materials that can be used to make homemade explosives.

The Manchester attack came after weeks of heightened activity and disrupted plots by police and MI5. In March, four people and the attacker died after an attack in Westminster, central London, which targeted the Houses of Parliament.

The terrorist threat level for Britain is at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. The government is not planning to increase the threat level to critical. However, security is expected to be reviewed for major venues in Britain and elsewhere. London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said there would be more police on the streets of the capital on Tuesday after the “barbaric and sickening attack”.

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Cressida Dick, said the extra presence, including armed officers, would continue for as long as needed. She also said the force was working with all those planning events this weekend to ensure all necessary steps had been taken. Security was also stepped up in Scotland, where the chief constable deployed armed police on high visibility patrols in crowded areas, airports and railway stations.

In the US, the Department of Homeland Security warned of extra security measures.

World leaders expressed solidarity with the UK in the fight against terrorists. Donald Trump expressed his “deepest condolences” to the victims, condemning the attackers as “evil losers”. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, offered the British people “all the compassion and care of France which is at their side in mourning, with a particular thought for the victims and their families”. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Monday expressed her “sorrow and horror”.

In a statement just before 3am, Hopkins said the police had received reports of an explosion at 10.33pm at the conclusion of the Ariana Grande concert.

He said: “This is clearly a very concerning time for everyone. We are doing all that we can, working with local and national agencies to support those affected as we gather information about what happened last night.”

Hopkins urged people to remain vigilant and to stay away from the area of the attack so emergency services could continue their work.

Leaders representing different faiths condemned the attack. Harun Khan, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This is horrific, this is criminal. May the perpetrators face the full weight of justice both in this life and the next.”

The bishop of Manchester, David Walker, said faith leaders in the city were united. “The guilt for last night belongs to the perpetrators and the perpetrators alone – it doesn’t go beyond them,” he told the Today programme.

He said the Muslim community was “one with us”, adding: “You will be part of how we together respond to last night.”

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted his sympathy for the victims: “Terrible incident in Manchester. My thoughts are with all those affected and our brilliant emergency services.”

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, said: “This is a shocking and horrific attack targeting children and young people who were simply enjoying a concert,” and paid tribute to the emergency services.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester city council, said the incident was “horrifying”, adding: “If it is confirmed this was a terrorist attack it is a monstrous act but also a deeply futile one. Manchester is a proud and strong city and we will not allow those who seek to sow fear and division to achieve their aims.

“We give heartfelt thanks to our emergency services for their response and council staff are doing all they can to support.”

The metro mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “My heart goes out to families who have lost loved ones, my admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city.”

The Manchester Arena has a 21,000 capacity and is one of the largest music venues in Europe.

The ambulance service covering Manchester, which is dealing with a significant toll of wounded people, asked people to contact them only if they were in a life-threatening situation because of the “large number of resources” at the incident.

Police have released this emergency number for people concerned about loved ones caught up in the incident in Manchester: +44 (0)161 856 9400

At least 22 killed, 59 injured in suicide attack at Manchester Arena,
G,
23 May 2017,
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/22/
manchester-arena-police-explosion-ariana-grande-concert-england

 

 

 

 

 

Houses of Parliament attack:

four dead including police officer

 

22 March 2017

Guardian

 

Four people have died, including a police officer, and at least 20 people have been injured in a major terror attack outside the Houses of Parliament, the Metropolitan police have confirmed.

Mark Rowley, the head of counter-terrorism at the Met, said a police officer had died after being stabbed by a lone attacker attempting to enter the House of Commons. The suspect was shot and killed.

Moments earlier, at about 2.40pm, the attacker drove a vehicle at speed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, near parliament, killing two people.

Rowley said at least 20 people, including three officers, were hurt in the attack on the bridge. A diplomatic source told Reuters three French students were among the injured.

“This is a day we’ve planned for but hoped would never happen. Sadly it’s now a reality,” Rowley said. “The attack started when a car was driven over Westminster Bridge hitting and injuring a number of members of the public, also including three police officers on their way back from a commendation ceremony.

“The car then crashed near to parliament and at least one man armed with a knife continued the attack and tried to enter parliament.

“Sadly, I can confirm that four people have died. That includes the police officer protecting parliament and one man we believe to be the attacker, who was shot by a police firearms officer. The officer’s family have been made aware. At least 20 people have been injured.”

One woman is believed to have been thrown over the bridge into the river Thames – and later pulled alive from the water – while another fell on to a hard surface below the bridge.

The vehicle came to a halt on the pavement, up against railings to the north of New Palace Yard, the green space adjacent to Big Ben, opposite an entrance to Westminster tube station.

A man with a knife was then seen running through the gates of the Palace of Westminster, across New Palace Yard and stabbing a police officer. The attacker continued his rampage, targeting a second officer, according to witnesses, but was shot by police as he approached the second officer clutching his knife.

In the aftermath of the attack, the Foreign Officer minister Tobias Ellwood reportedly helped treat the injured officer. The Bournemouth MP, a former soldier, was pictured helping the police officer in Parliament Square. His brother Jonathan was killed in the 2002 Bali terror attack.

Colleen Anderson, a junior doctor, said a female pedestrian had died. She also said she treated a police officer in his 30s with a head injury who had been taken to King’s College hospital. “I confirmed one fatality. A woman. She was under the wheel of a bus. She died, confirmed her death at the scene,” she said.

The prime minister was expected to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee on Wednesday evening. A Downing Street spokesman said: “The thoughts of the PM and the government are with those killed and injured in this appalling incident, and with their families. The PM is being kept updated and will shortly chair COBR.”

Theresa May was in the Commons lobby when the incident occurred, according to the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt. He was with other ministers in a cabinet sub-committee when they were told of the incident.

Commander BJ Harrington, head of the Met’s public order command, said a full counter-terrorism investigation was under way. Harrington said the Met received a number of different reports, which included a report of a person in the river, a car in collision with pedestrians and a man armed with a knife.

The acting Met commissioner, Craig Mackey, was being treated as a key witness because he was on the scene when the attack began.

Police asked people to avoid the following areas: Parliament Square, Whitehall, Westminster Bridge, Lambeth Bridge, Victoria Street up to the junction with Broadway, and the Victoria Embankment up to Embankment tube.

The Commons leader, David Lidington, told MPs in the moments after the attack that a police officer had been stabbed” and the “alleged assailant was shot by armed police” following a serious incident within the parliamentary estate.

Pictures emerged after the incident showing people lying injured on Westminster Bridge, some of them bleeding.

Two people could be seen lying within New Palace Yard, immediately outside Westminster Hall. The sitting in the House of Commons was suspended while police officers sealed off the area. Staff inside parliament were told to stay inside their offices.

Minutes after the incident, an emergency services helicopter landed in Parliament Square, as sirens were heard outside. Air ambulance medics came from the helicopter to assist the casualties.

Immediately before the incident, at about 2.45pm, people were seen running from the direction of Westminster Bridge and around the corner into Parliament Square.

Rob Lyon, 34, from Rugby, was walking along Westminster Bridge with a colleague when he saw a 4x4 vehicle travelling at high-speed, hitting pedestrians. He said: “I heard a wheel definitely hit a kerb, quite a loud crunch noise. I looked up and saw a car clearly hitting people as it came towards me.

“A colleague I was with, James, I heard him sort of shout. I instinctively jumped off the pavement. I could see people being hit. And then the car just carried on up the bridge and I just looked around and was really in shock.”

Radoslaw Sikorski captured the aftermath of the attack on Westminster Bridge on video. Sikorski, a senior fellow at the Harvard Centre for European Studies, said: “I heard what I thought was just a collision and then I looked through the window of the taxi and [saw] someone down, obviously in great distress.”

Rick Longley said he saw the car crash into the railings and a man leap out. “We were just walking up to the station and there was a loud bang and a guy, someone, crashed a car and took some pedestrians out,” he said. “They were just laying there and then the whole crowd just surged around the corner by the gates just opposite Big Ben.

“A guy came past my right shoulder with a big knife and just started plunging it into the policeman.”

Pat McCormack, 21, from Washington in Tyne and Wear saw an attacker stabbing the police officer. “I saw him stabbing the officer in the back of the head and the back of the neck. He was running away but then he collapsed.”

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said: “There’s been an extremely serious incident in parliament today. Lives have been lost and people have been seriously injured. I want to thank the police and all the security services who did so much to keep the public, those who work in parliament and MPs safe. Our thoughts are with those who have suffered loss and those who have seen terrible injuries this afternoon.”

Steve White, the chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents tens of thousands of rank-and-file officers, said: “No words can capture how members of the policing family will feel after today’s horrific events. We have lived in the knowledge that an attack on UK soil has been highly likely for nearly three years. Everyone is firmly aware of this fact, but it makes it no less shocking when it becomes a reality.

“This incident highlights the very real risks that police face each and every day. Officers will tonight take the opportunity to hug loved ones and seek comfort in the company of friends and family. But one will not. The pain of that officer’s family, friends and colleagues will be shared by us all.

“Our hearts go out to their family and our thoughts are with them and their colleagues at this terrible time along with others who have been injured today.”

The incident took place a year to the day after the terror attack on Brussels, which killed 32 people and left 320 injured.

 

 

This article was amended on 23 March 2017. An earlier version said five people had been killed but this was corrected after the police revised the total to four.

Houses of Parliament attack: four dead including police officer,
G,
22 March 2017,
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/22/
westminster-attack-man-shot-by-police-and-several-hurt-in-nearby-incident

 

 

 

 

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