LONDON — Attackers targeted the heart of London on Saturday night, with a white van plowing into screaming pedestrians on London Bridge, followed by stabbings in bars around Borough Market.
Police officers pursued and shot dead three attackers within eight minutes of the first emergency call, authorities said.
At least seven people were killed and 48 others injured, police said. The three attackers were shot dead by police.
Here’s how the incident unfolded:
At 10:08 p.m. (5:08 p.m. ET), London Metropolitan officers responded to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on London Bridge.
Witness Mark Roberts said he saw a van speed across London Bridge toward the underground station before it suddenly swerved, bounced off the pavement and hit several pedestrians.
What sounded like gunfire rang out five to 10 minutes later, he said. Brad Meyers had just left London Bridge when he heard a “boom” behind him, which he thought was a car hitting the guardrails or other vehicles.
He said he saw someone jump into the water in fear. Multiple ambulances rushed to the scene, with the first team arriving within six minutes, according to the London Ambulance Service.
British Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack a “potential act of terrorism,” and plans to chair a government emergency meeting Sunday. Police said the assailants were wearing what looked like explosive vests, which were later found to be fake.
As emergency services sped toward London Bridge, reports came in of multiple stabbings nearby, in the area around Borough Market, a popular gourmet food market surrounded by fashionable bars and restaurants.
Elisabeth Smedly said a man ran into Elliot’s Cafe in Borough Market and stabbed two people before rushing out. Local restaurant owner Jack Applebee said he saw people running down the street and heard a female voice shout “they’re stabbing everyone.”
The man stabbed a waitress hiding behind a partition, Smedley said. “Everyone ran to the back of the restaurant and crouched down, trying to hide themselves from view. He stabbed her in the neck. He stabbed another man in the back, and then he ran out of the restaurant.”
Applebee turned and saw three men wearing belts or vests with packets around the belly. As they dived under tables, he said, they heard 10 to 15 gunshots. Police stormed in and helped escort people out
Police announced the two incidents at London Bridge and Borough Market were “terrorist incidents” and warned people to avoid the area while emergency vehicles responded to the attacks.
Giving a fuller account on Sunday, police said three men leapt out of the van at London Bridge, brandishing knives and ran towards Borough Market, clarifying that the two locations were part of the same attack.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said some of the 48 people hospitalized in the incident were in critical condition. French President Emmanuel Macron said French citizens were among the casualties, but did not provide specifics.
Police said three suspects were shot at the scene within eight minutes of the first emergency call being received. Investigations will determine whether they had support or were part of a larger network.
As they responded to the incident, police were called to a third potential “incident” in Vauxhall, three miles away. Authorities later confirmed it was not related.