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London terror attack: Theresa May says UK is in the grip of copycat terror attacks

PUBLISHED: 11:17 04 June 2017 | UPDATED: 18:29 04 June 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Theresa May has warned that Britain is in the grip of a spate of copycat terror attacks in the wake of the London Bridge atrocity.

The Union flag flies at half mast in Whitehall, central London, following last night's terrorist incident at London Bridge. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire The Union flag flies at half mast in Whitehall, central London, following last night's terrorist incident at London Bridge. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Prime Minister delivered a stark assessment of the threat facing the UK after seven people were murdered and dozens more injured by three terrorists on Saturday night.

MORE: Witnesses describe seeing speeding vehicle veer into crowds in London

It was the third terrorist outrage to hit the country this year following the Westminster and Manchester attacks.

Speaking outside Downing Street, Mrs May said that although there was no direct link between the three incidents, “terrorism breeds terrorism”.

Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement in Downing Street. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

The prime minister said: “This is, as we all know, the third terrorist attack Britain has experienced in the last three months.

MORE: Seven dead, at least 48 injured, three attackers killed

“In March a similar attack took place just around the corner on Westminster Bridge.

“Two weeks ago the Manchester Arena was attacked by a suicide bomber and now London has been struck once more.

“And at the same time the security and intelligence agencies and police have disrupted five credible plots since the Westminster attack in March.

MORE: Prime minister under pressure to suspend general election after London terror attack

“In terms of their planning and execution, the recent attacks are not connected but we believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face.

“As terrorism breeds terrorism and perpetrators are inspired to attack, not only on the basis of carefully constructed plots after years of planning and training, and not even as lone attackers radicalised online, but by copying one another and often using the crudest of means of attack.”

MORE: Leaders and politicians from Norfolk and around the world react

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick has praised the “extraordinary” courage of members of the public and emergency services who “ran towards the danger”.

She paid tribute to the actions of those caught up in the terror attacks in the London Bridge area on Saturday night, saying she was sure they had helped save lives.

Addressing media outside Scotland Yard, Ms Dick said: “In the early hours of the morning I visited one of the hospitals where the injured are being treated.

MORE: Stabbings reported as police respond to London attacks declared as ‘terrorist incidents’

“There I heard truly remarkable stories of extraordinarily brave actions by officers on and off duty who were first on the scene.

“I also heard of colleagues from other emergency services and members of the public who ran towards the danger as this incident unfolded.

“Many, many people risked their own safety to help others and to treat those seriously injured and indeed to confront the suspects involved.

“It’s clear to me that the courage of those people during and following the attack was extraordinary and I pay tribute to all of them who came to the aid of those in need during this dreadful attack, and I am sure helped to save lives.”

Meanwhile in Barking, east London, there was an armed police operation, but Scotland Yard were unable to immediately confirm whether there was any link to the attacks.

MORE: Neighbours report hearing shots fired as 12 are arrested

Attackers brought carnage to the streets of the capital, stabbing a police officer and revellers with 12-inch knives, reportedly shouting “this is for Allah”.

Police were called at around 10.08pm on Saturday night to reports of a vehicle striking pedestrians on London Bridge.

The white van then continued to drive to Borough Market.

Three men then left the vehicle and began to stab people, including a British Transport Police Officer;

The suspects were confronted and shot by police at Borough Market within eight minutes of the first emergency call being made.

The trio were pictured wearing what appeared to be explosive vests, with police later confirming they were fake. Mrs May said they were “worn only to spread panic and fear”.

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