Israel’s Foreign Ministry and lawmakers on Sunday condemned the “horrific” London terror attacks, with a minister saying there was now a “greater understanding” among the British of Israel’s experiences with Palestinian terrorism.
UK police confirmed earlier Sunday that six people were killed and 48 were injured when a vehicle veered off the road and mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and witnesses told of men with large knives stabbing passersby at nearby Borough Market. The death toll was later raised to seven.
The Foreign Ministry said it was checking whether Israelis were among the injured in the attacks, adding there was currently no indication that was the case.
“Israel condemns last night’s horrific #LondonBridgeAttack. We stand with the British people at this time,” the ministry tweeted.
— Israel Foreign Min. (@IsraelMFA) June 4, 2017
Speaking to Army Radio, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan drew parallels between the London attacks and Palestinian terror attacks that have also involved car-rammings and stabbings.
“There is much greater understanding today that the terror Israel has experienced… is not much different from the motives of extremist Islam that causes these attacks [in London],” he said.
In messages posted to his Twitter feed, Erdan called for a “global alliance” to combat terror.
“Israel stands in solidarity with the UK and London in the fight against terror. It’s time for a new global alliance against terror,” he wrote. “This was an attack not just against the UK but against Western values and democracy. Our prayers are with the victims.”
At least three of the London stabbers were apparently shot dead by security forces who arrived at the scene.
This was an attack not just against the UK but against Western values and democracy. Our prayers are with the victims.
— גלעד ארדן (@giladerdan1) June 4, 2017
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said he was “appalled” by the “horrific” attack.
Appalled by another horrific terror attack in the UK. My thoughts are with the British nation. We must unite&work together to defeat terror.
— יצחק הרצוג (@HerzogMK) June 4, 2017
MK Bezalel Smotrich, from the right-wing Jewish Home party, said the London attacks show Palestinian terrorism is unrelated to Israel’s control over the West Bank.
“Good morning to all the terror experts and analysts here in Israel. It is interesting what desperation motivates the terrorists in London. Is there an English occupation that we don’t know about?” he tweeted.
MK Yehudah Glick, of Erdan’s Likud party, also linked the rampage to past Palestinian terror attacks.
“Apparently the significant contribution by the Palestinians to the world is new methods of terror,” he wrote in Hebrew on Twitter. “These methods are now being used around the world.”
The violence turned a summery Saturday night in an area packed with bars and restaurants into a scene of panic and chaos, with officers running through crowded streets screaming for people to flee and lifeboats drafted to help clear the area.
The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks “terrorist incidents.”
Bursts of gunfire echoed through the streets — likely from armed police — and at least three blasts rang out as police performed controlled explosions. One image taken by a witness showed a man on the ground surrounded by police; he appeared to be wearing a vest with canisters attached to it.
Police later said that the attackers has been wearing “fake” explosive vests.
The mayhem began just after 10 p.m. local time when police responded to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on London Bridge, which crosses the River Thames in central London. Multiple witnesses reported a vehicle veering off the road and hitting as many as six pedestrians.
Soon after, reports started coming in of stabbings at Borough Market, a nearby area full of bars and restaurants surrounding a popular food market. Witnesses reported seeing as many as three attackers with knives.