London Bridge. And the Four London Bridge Terror Attacks.

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London Bridge. And the Four London Bridge Terror Attacks.

The Postcard

A postally unused Valentine’s Series postcard that was printed in Great Britain. The image is a glossy real photograph.

On the divided back of the card the publishers have printed:

"London Bridge –
The busiest of London
bridges, built of Aberdeen
granite in 1831, widened
It has five arches in contrast
with the nineteen of its
wooden namesake, which
was lined with quaint houses".

Terror Attacks on London Bridge and Nearby

There have been four terror attacks on or near London Bridge dating back to 1884. They are as follows:

(1) The 1884 London Bridge Terror Attack

On Saturday 13th. December 1884, two American-Irish Republicans carried out a dynamite attack on London Bridge as part of the Fenian dynamite campaign.

The bomb went off prematurely while the men were in a boat attaching it to a bridge pier at 5.45 pm during the evening rush hour. There was little damage to the bridge, and no casualties other than the bombers.

However, there was considerable collateral damage, and hundreds of windows were shattered on both banks of the Thames. The men’s boat was so completely destroyed that the police initially thought the bombers had fled.

On the 25th. December 1884 the mutilated remains of one of the bombers were found. The body of the other man was never recovered, but the police were later able to identify the dead men as two Americans, William Mackey Lomasney, and John Fleming.

The men were identified after a landlord reported to police that dynamite had been found in the rented premises of two American gentlemen who had disappeared after the 13th. December, enabling police to piece together who was responsible for the attack.

The men had already been under surveillance by the police in both America and Great Britain.

(2) The 1992 London Bridge Bombing

On Friday the 28th. February 1992, the Provisional IRA exploded a bomb inside London Bridge station during the morning rush hour, causing extensive damage and wounding 29 people. It was one of many bombings carried out by one of the IRA’s London active service units. It occurred just over a year after a bomb at Victoria station.

— The 1992 Bombing

At around 8:20 am, someone rang Ulster Television’s London office warning that a bomb was going to explode in a London station, without saying which one.

About ten minutes later, the bomb detonated, which made debris fly almost 50 feet (15 m) away from the blast area. Twenty nine people were hurt in the explosion, most of them from flying glass and other bits of debris; four were seriously hurt, but nobody was killed.

The victims were treated at Guy’s Hospital.

— Aftermath of the 1992 Explosion

The head of Scotland Yard’s anti terrorist squad, George Churchill-Coleman, said that the 2 lb (910 g) bomb of high explosives was "clearly designed to kill."

Investigations suggested that the bomb had been placed in the men’s restrooms. Churchill-Coleman added that the IRA’s warning was "deliberately vague," and was given too late to act upon.

Prime Minister John Major said that the bombing would not change British policy in Northern Ireland:

"It was pointless. It was cowardly. It was
directed against innocent people and it
will make absolutely no difference to
our policy — no difference at all."

Fearing additional IRA attacks on public transport, the security services warned commuters "more than ever" to stay on guard at all times. The next day, another bomb went off in London, by the Crown Prosecution Service office, injuring two more people and bringing the total injured to 31 in the space of just over 24 hours.

This was one of dozens of bombs that detonated in London that year, the biggest of which was the Baltic Exchange bombing, killing three people and causing almost £1 billion worth of damage.

The IRA maintained this pressure, bombing mainland Britain and especially the City of London as much as possible until the ceasefire of 1994.

(3) The 2017 London Bridge Attack

On the 3rd. June 2017, a terrorist vehicle-ramming and stabbing took place in London when a van was deliberately driven into pedestrians on London Bridge, and then crashed on Borough High Street, just south of the River Thames.

The van’s three occupants then ran to the nearby Borough Market area and began stabbing people in and around restaurants and pubs. They were shot dead by Metropolitan and City of London Police authorised firearms officers, and were found to be wearing fake explosive vests.

Eight people were killed and 48 were injured, including members of the public and four unarmed police officers who attempted to stop the assailants. British authorities described the perpetrators as radical Islamic terrorists.

The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack.

— Background to the 2017 Attack

In March 2017, five people had been killed in a combined vehicle and knife attack at Westminster. In late May, a suicide bomber killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.

After the Manchester bombing, the UK’s terror threat level was raised to "critical", its highest level, until the 27th. May 2017, when it was lowered to severe.

— The 2017 Attack

The attack was carried out using a white Renault Master hired earlier on the same evening in Harold Hill, by Khuram Butt. He had intended to hire a 7.5 tonne lorry, but was refused due to his failure to provide payment details.

The attackers were armed with 12-inch (30 cm) kitchen knives with ceramic blades, which they tied to their wrists with leather straps. They also prepared fake explosive belts by wrapping water bottles in grey tape.

At 21:58 on the 3rd. June 2017, the van travelled south across London Bridge, and returned six minutes later, crossing over the bridge northbound, making a U-turn at the northern end and then driving southbound across the bridge.

It mounted the pavement three times and hit multiple pedestrians, killing two. Witnesses said the van was travelling at high speed. 999 emergency calls were first recorded at 22:07. The van was later found to contain 13 wine bottles containing flammable liquid with rags stuffed in them, along with blow torches.

The van crashed on Borough High Street after crossing the central reservation. The van’s tyres were destroyed by the central reservation, and the three attackers, armed with knives, abandoned the vehicle.

Then they ran down the steps to Green Dragon Court, where they killed five people outside and near the Boro Bistro pub. The attackers then went back up the steps to Borough High Street and attacked three bystanders.

Police tried to fight the attackers, but were stabbed, and Ignacio Echeverría helped them by striking the terrorist Redouane and possibly Zaghba with his skateboard. Echeverría was later killed outside Lobos Meat and Tapas.

Members of the public threw bottles and chairs at the attackers. Witnesses reported that the attackers were shouting:

"This is for Allah".

People in and around a number of other restaurants and bars along Stoney Street were also attacked. During the attack, an unknown man was spared by Rachid Redouane, but despite many efforts the man was never found.

A Romanian baker hit one of the attackers over the head with a crate before giving shelter to 20 people inside a bakery inside Borough Market.

One man fought the three attackers with his fists in the Black and Blue steakhouse, shouting:

"F*** you, I’m Millwall."

His actions gave members of the public who were in the restaurant the opportunity to run away. He was stabbed eight times in the hands, chest and head. He underwent surgery at St Thomas’ Hospital, and was taken off the critical list on the 4th. June.

A British Transport Police officer armed with a baton also took on the attackers, receiving multiple stab wounds and temporarily losing sight in his right eye as a consequence.

Off-duty Metropolitan police constables Liam Jones and Stewart Henderson rendered first aid to seriously injured members of the public before protecting over 150 people inside the Thameside Inn and evacuating them by Metropolitan marine support unit and RNLI boats to the north shore of the Thames.

The three attackers were then shot dead by armed officers from the City of London and Metropolitan police Specialist Firearms Command eight minutes after the initial emergency call was made.

CCTV footage showed the three attackers in Borough Market running at the armed officers; the attackers were shot dead 20 seconds later. A total of 46 rounds were fired by three City of London and five Metropolitan Police officers.

— Aftermath of the 2017 Attack

The Metropolitan Police issued ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ notices via social media during the attack, and asked the public to remain calm and vigilant.

All buildings within the vicinity of London Bridge were evacuated, and London Bridge, Borough and Bank Underground stations were closed at the request of the police.

The mainline railway stations at London Bridge, Waterloo East, Charing Cross and Cannon Street were also closed. The Home Secretary approved the deployment of a military counter terrorist unit from the Special Air Service (SAS).

The helicopters carrying the SAS landed on London Bridge to support the Metropolitan Police because of concerns that there might be more attackers at large.

The Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit dispatched boats on the River Thames, with assistance from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), to contribute to the evacuation of the area and look for any casualties who might have fallen from the bridge.

A stabbing incident took place in Vauxhall at 23:45, causing Vauxhall station to be briefly closed; this was later confirmed to be unrelated to the attack.

At 01:45 on the 4th. June, controlled explosions took place of the attackers’ bomb vests, which were found to be fake.

An emergency COBR meeting was held on the morning of the 4th. June. London Bridge mainline railway and underground stations remained closed throughout the 4th. June. A cordon was established around the scene of the attack. London Bridge station reopened at 05:00 on Monday the 5th. June.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that there was a surge of hate crimes and islamophobic incidents following the attack.

New security measures were implemented on eight central London bridges following the attack, to reduce the likelihood of further vehicle attacks, with concrete barriers being installed. The barriers have been criticised for causing severe congestion in cycle lanes during peak hours.

Borough Market reopened on the 14th. June.

— Casualties of the 2017 Attack

Eight civilians died in the attack: one Spaniard, one Briton, two Australians, one Canadian and three French citizens were killed by the attackers, and the three attackers themselves were killed by armed police.

Two of the civilian fatalities were caused in the initial vehicle-ramming attack, while the remaining six were stabbed to death. One body was recovered from the Thames near Limehouse several days after the attack.

48 people were injured in the attack, including one New Zealander, two Australians, two Germans and four French citizens.

Of the 48 people admitted to hospital, 21 were initially reported to be in a critical condition.

Four police officers were among those injured in the attack. A British Transport Police officer was stabbed, and suffered serious injuries to his head, face and neck. An off-duty Metropolitan Police officer was seriously injured when he was stabbed.

Two other Metropolitan Police officers received head and arm injuries. As a result of police gunfire, a bystander received an accidental gunshot wound, which was not critical.

— The 2017 Attackers

On the 4th. June the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, said that:

"We are confident about the fact that
they were radical Islamic terrorists, the
way they were inspired, and we need
to find out more about where this
radicalisation came from."

Amaq News Agency, an online outlet associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), said the attackers were ISIS fighters.

On the 5th. June, two of the attackers were identified as Khuram Shazad Butt and Rachid Redouane. The third of the three attackers, Youssef Zaghba, was identified the following day.

(a) Khuram Shazad Butt

Butt (born 20th. April 1990) was a Pakistan-born British citizen whose family came from Jhelum. He grew up in Great Britain, living in Plaistow.

He had a wife and two children. Neighbours told the BBC that Butt had been reported to police for attempting to radicalise children; he had also expressed disgust at the way women dressed.

He was known to police as a "heavyweight" member of the banned extremist group al-Muhajiroun. A BBC interviewee said he had a verbal confrontation with Butt in 2013 on the day after another Al-Muhajiroun follower had murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby.

Butt was part of an al-Muhajiroun campaign in 2015 to intimidate Muslims who planned to vote in the UK general elections of that year, on the basis that it was forbidden in Islam.

He was known for holding extreme views, having been barred from two local mosques. He appeared on a 2016 Channel 4 Television documentary, The Jihadis Next Door, which showed him arguing with police over the unfurling of an ISIL black flag in Regent’s Park.

According to a friend, he had been radicalised by the YouTube videos of the American Muslim hate preacher Ahmad Musa Jibril. Butt was known to have taken drugs before he became radicalised.

After radicalisation, Butt started to stop his neighbours on the street and ask them whether they had been to the mosque.

Butt had worked for a man accused of training Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the July 2005 London bombing. The police and MI5 knew of Butt, and he was investigated in 2015. The investigation was later "moved into the lower echelons", and his file was classed as low priority.

Butt sometimes manned the desk of the Ummah Fitness Centre gym, where he prayed regularly. CCTV footage was released of Butt, Redouane and Zaghba meeting outside the gym days before the attack. A senior figure at a local mosque had reported the gym to police.

The New York Times said that Butt and his brother were part of the UK government’s Prevent programme, which aims to stop people from becoming terrorists, and which reports suspected radicals to police programmes.

At the time of the attack he was on police bail following an allegation of fraud, though the police had intended to take no further action due to a lack of evidence. He had previously been cautioned by police for fraud in 2008 and common assault in 2010.

(b) Rachid Redouane

Redouane (born 31 July 1986) was a failed asylum seeker in the UK, whose application was denied in 2009, and not previously known to police. He had claimed to be either Moroccan or Libyan.

Redouane worked as a pastry chef, and in 2012 he married an Irish woman in a ceremony in Ireland. He beat and bullied his wife.

He used to drink alcohol. He lived variously in Rathmines, a suburb of Dublin, also in Morocco and the UK. According to his wife, Redouane was most likely radicalised in Morocco. Later the couple stayed in the UK on an EU residency card where they had a daughter in 2015.

The couple separated in 2016 and she divorced him after he tried to force his extremist beliefs on her.

At the time of the attack, he was living in Dagenham, East London.

(c) Youssef Zaghba

Zaghba (born 1995 in Fez, Morocco) was at the time of the attack living in east London where he worked in a fast-food outlet. He also worked for an Islamic television channel in London.

Zaghba was born to a Moroccan Muslim father and an Italian Catholic Christian mother who had converted to Islam when she married. Zaghba had dual Moroccan and Italian nationality.

When his parents divorced, he went to Italy with his mother. In 2016, Zaghba was stopped at Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport by Italian officers who found ISIS-related materials on his mobile phone; he was stopped from continuing his journey to Istanbul.

Italian authorities said Zaghba was monitored continuously while in Italy and that the UK was informed about him. Giuseppe Amato, an Italian prosecutor, said:

"We did our best. We could just monitor
and surveil Zaghba and send a note to
the British authorities, that’s all we could
do and we did it.
Since he moved to London, he came back
to Italy once in a while for a total of 10 days.
And during those 10 days we never let him
out of our sight."

According to The New York Times, the Italian branch of Al-Muhajiroun had introduced Butt to Zaghba.

— Investigation of the 2017 Attack

On the morning of the 4th. June, police made 12 arrests following raids in flats in the Barking area of east London, where one of the attackers lived; controlled explosions were carried out during the raids.

Those held included five males aged between 27 and 55, arrested at one address in Barking, and six females aged between 19 and 60, arrested at a separate Barking address. One of the arrested males was subsequently released without charge.

Four properties in all were searched, including two in Newham in addition to the two in Barking. Further raids and arrests were made at properties in Newham and Barking early on the morning of the 5th. June.

On the 6th. June, a man was arrested in Barking, and another in Ilford the following day. By the 16th. June, all those arrested had been released without charge.

— The Inquest Into the 2017 Attack

On the 7th. May 2019, an inquest into the deaths of the victims opened at the Old Bailey in London. Judge Mark Lucraft QC, Chief Coroner of England and Wales, presided, and people related to the dead gave accounts of what happened and who they had lost.

The inquest concluded on the 16th. July 2019 that all three attackers had been lawfully killed.

(4) The 2019 London Bridge Stabbing

On the 29th. November 2019, five people were stabbed, two fatally, in Central London. The attacker, Briton Usman Khan, had been released from prison in 2018 on licence after serving a sentence for terrorist offences.

Khan was attending an offender rehabilitation conference in Fishmongers’ Hall when he threatened to detonate what turned out to be a fake suicide vest.

He started to attack people with two knives taped to his wrists, killing two of the conference participants by stabbing them in the chest.

Several people fought back, some attacking Khan with a fire extinguisher, a pike and a narwhal tusk as he fled the building and emerged on to London Bridge, where he was partially disarmed by a plain-clothes police officer.

He was restrained by members of the public until additional police officers arrived, pulled away those restraining him, and shot him.

— Background to the 2019 Attack

A conference on offender rehabilitation was held on the 29th. November 2019 in Fishmongers’ Hall, at the northern end of London Bridge, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Learning Together. This is a programme run by the Cambridge Institute of Criminology to help offenders reintegrate into society following their release from prison.

Learning Together was set up in 2014 by University of Cambridge academics Ruth Armstrong and Amy Ludlow from the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology:

"To bring together people in criminal justice
and higher education institutions to study
alongside each other in inclusive and
transformative learning communities."

The programme served to enable students and prisoners to work together.

Former prisoner Usman Khan had been invited to the conference as a previous participant in the programme, and although banned from entering London under the terms of his release, he was granted a one-day exemption to attend.

— The 2019 Attack

At 13:58 on the 29th. November, the police were called to Fishmongers’ Hall after Khan, wearing a fake suicide vest, threatened to blow up the hall. The police reported that there had been no prior intelligence of the attack.

Holding two kitchen knives taped to his wrists, Khan began stabbing people inside the building. Several fought back, including a South African-born Londoner, Darryn Frost, who grabbed a 1.5-metre-long (4.9 ft) narwhal tusk from the wall to use as a weapon, former prisoner John Crilly, and Steven Gallant, a convicted murderer attending the conference on day release from prison.

Khan fled and began stabbing pedestrians outside on the north side of the bridge.

Several people were injured before members of the public, including a tour guide and a plain-clothes British Transport Police officer, later seen walking away with a knife, restrained and disarmed Khan on the bridge.

One of the people who stepped in to fight the attacker drove him back by spraying a fire extinguisher.

Armed officers of the City of London Police arrived at 14:03 and surrounded the attacker, who at the time was being restrained by a Ministry of Justice communications worker attending the rehabilitation meeting.

The officers pulled this person away to provide a clear shot, before one fired twice. Around 10 minutes after this, Khan started to get up; he was then shot 9 further times by 6 firearms officers. Khan had not been secured after the initial shooting due to the suicide vest. Khan died at the scene.

A Transport for London bus which had stopped adjacent to the site of the shooting was found to have damage to both its front and rear windows, possibly caused, according to the Metropolitan Police, by a ricocheting bullet.

— The Victims of the 2019 Attack

Three of the victims were associated with Cambridge University’s Learning Together prison-rehabilitation programme; two died and one was injured.

The two who died from their stab wounds were Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones.

Merritt was a 25-year-old law and criminology graduate from Cottenham, Cambridgeshire who had studied at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge. He worked as a University of Cambridge administration officer, and was a course coordinator for Learning Together.

Jones was a 23 year old former Anglia Ruskin University and University of Cambridge student from Stratford-upon-Avon.

Funeral services for Merritt and Jones were conducted on the 20th. December 2019.

Two other women were seriously injured, while a chef who was working at the event was stabbed but had less serious injuries.

— The Terrorist Usman Khan

Usman Khan was a 28-year-old British national from Stoke-on-Trent, of Pakistani descent. Khan appears to have left school with no qualifications after spending part of his late teens in Pakistan.

He was known to police, and had links to Islamist extremist groups. In December 2018 he had been automatically released from prison on licence, where he was serving a 16-year sentence for terrorism offences, and was wearing an electronic tag.

Khan had been part of a plot, inspired by Al-Qaeda, to establish a terrorist camp on his family’s land in Kashmir and bomb the London Stock Exchange. The plot was disrupted by MI5 and the police, as part of MI5’s Operation Guava (police Operation Norbury), and Khan was given an indeterminate sentence.

Of the nine men involved, Khan was the youngest at 19 and according to Mr Justice Wilkie, Khan and two others were “more serious jihadis” than the others.

In 2013, Khan’s sentence was revised after an appeal, and he was ordered to serve at least 8 years of his new 16-year sentence, with a 5-year extended licence allowing recall to prison.

According to the anti-extremism group Hope not Hate, Khan was a supporter of Al-Muhajiroun, an extremist group with which scores of terrorists were involved. He was a student and personal friend of Anjem Choudary, an Islamist and terrorism supporter.

Post-mortem examination showed evidence of occasional use of cocaine by Khan.

— Aftermath of the 2019 Attack

The news of the attack was broken live as it happened on the BBC by one of its reporters, John McManus, who witnessed members of the public fighting Khan as he crossed the bridge, and heard two shots being fired by police officers.

McManus said that he was certain that more than two shots were fired during the incident.

The police, ambulance, and fire services attended the scene, and a major incident was declared. A large police cordon was set up in the area and residents were told to stay away. Police closed both Monument Underground station and London Bridge station after the attack.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, returned to Downing Street following the incident, after campaigning in his constituency for the forthcoming general election. Johnson commended the "immense bravery" of the emergency services and members of the public, and claimed that anyone involved in the attack would be hunted down.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, thanked the emergency services and members of the public who helped to restrain the attacker, saying they had shown "breathtaking heroism".

The Conservative Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats temporarily suspended campaigning in London for the general election. A parliamentary election hustings event scheduled to be held at Great St. Mary’s Church in Cambridge on the 30th. November was cancelled and replaced by a memorial vigil for the victims of the attack.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick made a statement following the attack. She said that there would be an increased police presence on the streets, and that cordons in the London Bridge area would remain in place. An appeal was made for the public to submit any film or picture evidence or information that could assist the investigation.

In Pakistan, publication of Khan’s Pakistani origins by the leading newspaper Dawn were deemed unpatriotic and defamatory, and led to demonstrations demanding that the publisher and the editor be hanged.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. Its news agency, Amaq, claimed Usman Khan was one of its fighters. A janaza prayer for Khan was held at a mosque in Birmingham, and he was buried in his family’s ancestral village in Pakistan, following objections to his burial in the UK by local Muslims in his native Stoke.

In 2021, following an inquest, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Jonathan Hall QC called for those involved in the planning or preparation of terrorist attacks to be given automatic life sentences. Hall stated:

"It is hard to underestimate how serious
Usman Khan’s original offence was."

— Investigations Into the 2019 Attack

London Bridge was closed until the early hours of the following Monday for forensic investigation of the scene. A property in Stafford and one in Stoke-on-Trent were searched by police.

An inquest into the deaths of Merritt and Jones was opened on the 4th. December 2019 at the Central Criminal Court in London, and was subsequently adjourned.

A pre-inquest review hearing took place at the Old Bailey on the 16th. October 2020, before the Chief Coroner of England and Wales, Mark Lucraft QC.

The inquest re-opened on the 12th. April 2021, presided over by Lucraft. On the 28th. May 2021 the jury concluded that the victims had been unlawfully killed.

They further concluded that insufficient monitoring of Khan, unreasonable belief in his rehabilitation, a lack of information sharing between agencies, and inadequate security planning at the event were all contributing factors in their deaths.

Khan’s inquest, also overseen by Lucraft, found in June 2021 that Khan was lawfully killed by the police.

— Royal Prerogative of Mercy for Steven Gallant

Steven Gallant was granted the Royal prerogative of mercy by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Queen in October 2020, in order to bring his parole hearing forward by ten months to June 2021.

The Ministry of Justice stated that:

"This is in recognition of his exceptionally
brave actions at Fishmongers’ Hall, which
helped save people’s lives despite the
tremendous risk to his own".

Though the parole board still has to decide on whether to release him, it was reported that it would be unlikely for his case to be denied after the Queen’s intervention. The families of both Merritt and of Gallant’s 2005 murder victim approved the action due to his heroic deeds and efforts to turn his life around since the murder.

Posted by pepandtim on 2021-02-12 00:56:43

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