Large numbers of armed British police will patrol London in the wake of the terror attack in a popular nightlife hub on Saturday that left seven dead, the city’s police chief said.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told reporters on Sunday that while police believe the incident was under control, a large police cordon would remain at the scene of the stabbing and car-ramming spree south of the Thames to patrol the area.
Dozens of heavily-armed London police were wearing face masks as they arrived Sunday morning to patrol Borough Market and the streets outside London Bridge train station, where attackers using a van and knives left seven people dead and more than 40 others injured.
Dick said police patrols would be increased throughout the entire city of London in the coming days, including those by armed officers.
She also confirmed to reporters the death toll from the attack had climbed to seven.
“It has now been confirmed sadly that seven members of the public have died,” Dick said, raising the toll from six victims earlier.
The assault began Saturday night when a van veered off the road and barreled into pedestrians on London Bridge. Three men fled the van with large knives and began stabbing people at bars and restaurants in nearby Borough Market, police and witnesses said. The attack unfolded quickly, and police said officers had shot and killed the three attackers within eight minutes.
The violence turned a summery night in an area packed with revelers into a scene of panic and chaos, with officers running through crowded streets screaming for people to flee. Lifeboats on the River Thames helped evacuate the area.
Emergency officials said 48 people were treated at London hospitals and a number of others suffered less serious injuries.
The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks “terrorist incidents,” but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Britain was already on edge after a suicide bombing two weeks ago at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in northwest England, that killed 22 people and injured dozens of others. Grande and other stars are scheduled to perform a benefit concert for victims Sunday night.
The latest attacks come just days before Thursday’s general election. May’s Conservative Party had been expected to win by a wide margin but recent polls have showed the race tightening. Major parties suspended national campaigning Sunday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the attackers hoped to disrupt democracy and hamper plans for voting, but that would not happen. He said Londoners should remain vigilant but added: “I’m reassured we are one of the safest global cities in the world.”