MS Risk Blog

Update: London Terror Attack

Posted on in Uncategorized title_rule

Twelve people have been arrested after the London terror attack on Saturday 3 June, which left seven people dead and 48 injured. The attack has since been claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, however they have provided nothing to back the claim.

Witnesses reporting a van travelling at high speed along London Bridge, hitting pedestrians at 21:58 BST on Saturday before crashing close to the Barrowboy and Banker pup. Three men then got out of the van and proceeded to stab people in nearby Borough Market. Witnesses at the scene reported the men wearing vests, which later were found to be hoaxes. The attackers were shot dead by eight officers who fired 50 bullets. A member of the public was accidentally shot. The three attackers were shot dead within eight minutes of the first 999 call being received.

The arrests occurred in Barking, east London, and follow a raid at a flat belonging to one of the three attackers. Of the twelve people arrested over the weekend, seven are women. A 55-year-old man has since been released without charge.

This is the third terror attack to occur in the UK in the past three months and comes after the car and knife attack that occurred in Westminster in March, in which five people were killed, and the Manchester bombing less than two weeks ago, in which 22 people were killed. While most political parties have suspended national general election campaigning, the prime minister confirmed that full campaigning would resume on Monday, with the general election to go ahead as planned on Thursday.

Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the attack, stating that it was “time to say enough is enough.” The sense across London and the UK is that many are fed up with such attacks, a similar sense that is being felt across Europe as well. Terrorism against soft targets is beginning to feel, to some people, like the new normal – a brutal reality of the type of threat that jihadists have sought to achieve in all their attacks across Europe.  Since 2013, security services in the UK have foiled eighteen plots, with officials reporting that a large proportion of those have involved suspects who set out to commit acts of violence similar to the attack on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge. While plans to use bombs, such as the one used in the Manchester Arena attack last month, are rarer as plotters need to have technical skills for such an attack, attacking people with cars and knives is far easier and has long been encouraged by IS and other jihadist groups.

Over the weekend, supporters of IS celebrated the London attack, even before the terrorist group claimed responsibility. While IS did not claim responsibility for the attack until overnight 4 – 5 June, there was little doubt within the British intelligence community that this was a jihadist attack inspired by IS. Saturday’s attack follows a widely-circulated propaganda message that was posted by the group on social media urging its followers to attack civilians in the West using trucks, knives or guns. The message also makes reference to the current Islamic holy month of Ramadan. Last year, attacks intensified during the holy period, with deaths being reported in Istanbul, Dhaka and Baghdad. This increase in attacks is seen by analysts as a last desperate attempt by IS to its supporters, following multiple setbacks in the Middle East, where its self-proclaimed caliphate is rapidly shrinking. The ideology of IS however is likely to survive those defeats, and it is likely that it will continue to fuel terrorist attacks around the world for some time to come.