Tourism

London tourism hub on lockdown after terror attack

Hannah Edensor

Terror attacks have been carried out in popular London hubs of tourism and nightlife overnight, just a fortnight after the attack on Manchester and a few months after the attack on Westminster Bridge.

According to the ABC, at least six people have been killed and over 20 injured when a van mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge, before a number of men leapt from the car and went on a stabbing spree.

Police say a number of assailants are involved in the attack, with witnesses saying several people jumped out of the car using “long knives” to stab people, about 10pm local time.

Nearby, there were reports of a stabbing attack near Borough Market, with police storming a pub and instructing everyone to get down on the floor as they searched for the attackers.

A witness, who oversees a number of pubs in the vicinity of the Borough Market attacks, told 9News there was a stabbing at the Borough Bistro pub and that “everyone started running and screaming”.

Per the ABC, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the attack was being treated as a potential act of terrorism and the Metropolitan Police declared the events as “terrorist incidents”.

The entire region of London Bridge and Borough Markets have been evacuated, with images of civilians walking the streets under police guard with their hands on their heads.

Guests at hotels in the vicinity of the attacks have been evacuated. Police urged people to stay away from the affected areas.

Per The Guardian, The Met UK Police Service has opened a casualty bureau for those concerned about family and friends who might have been caught up in the attacks. They’ve provided two numbers to call: 0800 096 1233 and 020 7158 0197.

There are unconfirmed reports that armed police have arrested “three or four” people in the Borough Market area, while images have started appearing on social media of men lying on the ground with canisters strapped to their bodies.

The ABC also posed the question of whether the UK terror alert should have been lowered from its highest Critical level, which it was raised to following Manchester. Critical terror alerts suggest further attacks are imminent, and has only been reached three times in British history.

The threat level was lowered to severe, meaning an attack is highly likely, last Saturday.

Three major London hospitals located within two kilometres of London Bridge said they were on lockdown after the attacks.

“Due to the ongoing incident in central London, Guy’s, St Thomas’ and [Evelina London Children’s Hospital] are on lockdown to keep patients, relatives and staff safe,” the authority that runs the hospitals said on Twitter.

Media reports say Foreign Minister Julie Bishop could not confirm any Australians were injured or killed in the attack, while US President Donald Trump used the attack as a way of promoting the travel ban.

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety,” Trump said.

Per The Telegraph UKLondon bus tour guide John Stokes said he counted eight people lying in the road or pavement receiving medical treatment on London Bridge.

He had just arrived on the scene with a bus full of tourists immediately after the attack, claiming he thought it was just a random traffic accident before seeing the people lying on the ground.

After the police arrived, he said, a police officer banged on the bus door and told everyone on the bus to run towards Monument.

“All the tourists on our bus ran for their lives,” he said.

More to come on the impact on London travel, the safety of travellers, and threats to tourism and civilians.

Image: Independent UK

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