LONDON– Two members of the public died after a stabbing attack at London Bridge on Friday, in which police also shot dead the suspect.
The Met Police has declared the attack a terrorist incident.
The suspect, who died at the scene, was wearing what is believed to have been a hoax explosive device, police said.
Videos on social media appear to show passers-by holding down a man. An officer arrives, seems to indicate to the group to move, and fires a shot.
A Whitehall source confirmed two members of the public died to the BBC but gave no further information.
Details are still emerging and Neil Basu, the head of UK counter-terrorism policing, said the force was keeping an open mind over the motive.
He said officers were called to a stabbing at a premises near the bridge just before 14:00.
BBC journalist John McManus, who was at the scene as it unfolded, said he had seen a struggle on the bridge, with several men restraining one man. Police then arrived quickly and a number of shots were fired at him, he said.
In footage shared on social media, the man could be seen being pinned down by members of the public. Another man in a suit could be seen running from him, having apparently retrieved a large knife.
Mr Basu told a press conference: “A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from City of London police and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene.”
He added that a “wide cordon remains in place” following the incident.
Mr Basu said: “Officers continue to carry out extensive searches in the area to ensure there is no further threat to the public.”
The man was wearing what is believed to be a hoax explosive device, Mr Basu said.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said attackers wear fake suicide vests for a couple of reasons: To add to public panic and in some cases to ensure police shoot them dead.
To some attackers, martyrdom is preferable to capture, trial and spending many years in prison, our correspondent added.
Mr Basu said the force would have extra police patrols across the capital.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who returned to Downing Street from his constituency, said the emergency services and members of the public who intervened “represent the very best of our country”.
He said: “This country will never be cowed or divided or intimidated by this sort of attack and our values, our British values, will prevail.”
The prime minister will convene a meeting of the government’s emergency Cobra committee at 21:30.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan thanked the members of the public who showed “breathtaking heroism” in running towards danger – “not knowing what confronted them”.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it has begun a mandatory investigation into the shooting.
London Bridge station and Tube has now reopened after it was earlier closed, Network Rail said.
But trains may continue to be delayed, cancelled or revised while services are reinstated, it added.
Both the Conservatives and Labour say they have suspended election campaigning for the night following the attack.
SOURCE: BBC NEWS