The attack began late Saturday night, when a white van swerved into crowds of pedestrians on London Bridge, leaving bodies lying in the roadway, according to witness reports. At least one pedestrian is thought to have jumped into the Thames to escape being hit.
The suspects are then believed to have exited the van and proceeded on foot towards the nearby area of Borough Market, one of the capital's most popular nightlife spots.
Eyewitnesses spoke of abject panic as three men armed with "foot-long" knives burst into packed restaurants and cafes, slashing at those inside indiscriminately. Many customers fought off the attackers, using chairs, pint glasses and bottles. Others hid behind tables and inside bathrooms or attempted to flee.
In total, the marauding attack lasted approximately eight minutes, according to police, who shot dead all three known suspects at the scene. At least one of the suspects appeared to be wearing a suicide bomb vest, though this was later confirmed by police to be a hoax.
The London Ambulance Service, who dispatched upwards of 80 medics to help deal with the incident, said at least 48 people were taken to five hospitals across the capital, with many more treated at the scene. French and Australian nationals have been confirmed by their respective governments as among those affected.
A police officer who was responding to the attack on London Bridge was also stabbed. The officer received serious but not life-threatening injuries, according to an official police statement.
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