Two members of the public – a man and a woman – were killed in a terror attack at London Bridge on Friday afternoon, police have confirmed.
Three others – a man and two women – were also injured and remain in hospital, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said.
One is in a critical but stable condition, another is stable and the third suffered less serious injuries.
Mr Basu said in a statement: “Tragically, two people – a man and a woman – were killed during the attack. Three others – a man and two women – were also injured and remain in hospital.
“The circumstances, as we currently understand them, are that the attacker attended an event earlier on Friday afternoon at Fishmongers’ Hall called ‘Learning Together’.
“We believe that the attack began inside before he left the building and proceeded onto London Bridge, where he was detained and subsequently confronted and shot by armed officers.”
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick praised the “extraordinary courage” of members of the public who tackled the offender. It has since emerged that one of those who pinned him down was an off duty plain clothes police officer.
The attacker, who has been named by police as 28-year-old Usman Khan, was shot dead at point-blank range by police on London Bridge. He appeared to be wearing a fake suicide vest.
Sky’s Home Affairs correspondent Mark White has been told by sources that Khan was a convicted terrorist who had recently been released from prison and was wearing an electronic tag.
He was known to the police and had links to Islamist terror groups, Sky’s Foreign Affairs Editor understands. It is not known whether this could be Islamic State or al Qaeda.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It is a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early, and it is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists.”
Several people were injured after the attacker began stabbing people with a knife on Friday at around 2pm.
Footage showed members of the public attempting to detain the suspect and taking possession of the bladed weapon.
The video also showed specialist armed officers moving civilians away, aiming their weapons at point-blank range and shooting the attacker who died at the scene.
Neil Basu, the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations, said: “As you would expect, due to the nature of the incident, we responded as though it was terrorist-related. I am now in a position to confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident.
“Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command are now leading this investigation. I must stress, however, that we retain an open mind as to any motive.”
Mr Basu added that “meticulous searches” have been taking place in the London Bridge area to ensure there is no outstanding threat to the public.
He also warned that extensive cordons are likely to remain in place for some time – and he urged the public to stay away from the area.
In the hours after the terror attack, London Mayor Sadiq Khan praised the “breathtaking heroism” of the passers-by who risked their lives to detain the suspect.
Speaking outside Scotland Yard, Mr Khan said the terror attack appeared to be an isolated incident and confirmed that police are not looking for anyone else.
Mr Johnson earlier paid tribute to the bravery of the emergency services and the public.
“Anybody involved in this crime and these attacks will be hunted down and will be brought to justice,” he said.
Mr Johnson has returned to Downing Street, where he says meetings and consultations will be taking place throughout Friday evening.
He said that, to the best of his knowledge, the incident has been “contained”, adding that he will decide in the coming hours whether campaigning for the general election should continue as normal.
The incident comes nearly two-and-a-half years after the 2017 London Bridge terror attack. Eight people were killed and 48 others were injured when a van was driven into pedestrians on the bridge, with the van’s occupants running into Borough Market and stabbing people in restaurants and pubs.
At the beginning of this month, the UK’s terror threat level had been lowered from “severe” to “substantial” for the first time in five years. It meant an attack was considered to be likely instead of highly likely.
Witness Celia Sodera was on the top floor of a bus next to the man when a plain clothes police officer and members of the public took the knife from him.
She told Sky News: “We saw six people keeping someone on the floor. At one point someone said ‘he has a knife’. And we thought, ‘oh my god this guy was going to stab someone’ because we saw people running away.
“Then the police came and finally they removed the knife, then they shot the guy.
“He was still alive and he tried to pull the black jacket off so I was able to see the vest he was wearing and it seemed like a very scary device, a bomb device.”