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After London Attack, Prime Minister Says: ‘Enough Is Enough’

But Mrs. May said the election would go ahead on Thursday as planned.

The prime minister broke campaigning to lead an emergency meeting of her security cabinet on Sunday morning. In a statement after the session, she said the government would ramp up its counterterrorism efforts to deal with Islamist radicalism at home and to try to reduce or eliminate “the safe spaces it needs to breed,” both on the internet and in British communities, in which she said radical recruiters work.

“Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would,” she said. “Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”

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Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain spoke on Sunday morning about the Saturday night terrorist attack in London. Credit Kevin Coombs/Reuters

The government may extend the time of custodial sentences for terrorism suspects, but more needed to be done in binding communities together to combat what Mrs. May called “a perversion of Islam,” adding: “There is, to be frank, far too much tolerance of extremism in our country.”

She called for a global effort to “regulate cyberspace,” something that is likely to prove difficult, and said that the London attack was not connected to a suicide bombing at a pop concert in Manchester, England, last month that killed 22 people.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, issued his own strong condemnation of the attacks and suspended campaigning for the day. “We are all shocked and horrified by the brutal attacks in London,” he said in a statement. “My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have died and the many who have been injured. Today, we will all grieve for their loss.”

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Prime Minister Theresa May’s Statement

The British leader vowed a sweeping review of the nation’s counterterrorism strategy after the late-night assault, the third in less than three months.

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While none of the attackers were identified, the counterterrorism police conducted a raid Sunday in Barking, in east London, in connection with the assault and made 12 arrests. Searches there continued, the police said, suggesting that they had identified at least one of the assailants.

Britain’s home secretary, Amber Rudd, said on Sunday that the government was confident the attackers were “radical Islamist terrorists.” Speaking on ITV television, Ms. Rudd said, “As the prime minister said, we are confident about the fact that they were radical Islamist terrorists, the way they were inspired, and we need to find out more about where this radicalization came from.”

She refused to say whether the attackers had been known to the authorities before Saturday.

The attack took place at a sensitive moment politically, just days ahead of the general election and at a time when several opinion polls have shown Mrs. May’s lead over Mr. Corbyn to be narrowing.

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The London police detained men made to lie on the ground during a raid on a block of apartments in the Barking neighborhood of east London on Sunday. Credit Furqan Nabi/Press Association, via Associated Press

Using different methods, the pollsters are divided about the extent of the Conservative lead, but they all show the gap with Labour shrinking, making the landslide Mrs. May hoped for unlikely and even, for at least one polling company, raising the possibility of a hung Parliament.

It is too early to say how this latest attack will affect the vote, if at all. In general, crises tend to help the incumbent. However, Mrs. May did not seem to receive much of a poll bounce after Manchester, partly because of some campaign mistakes. And as the former home secretary, she might receive some blame for perceived security failings.

Campaigning had already been suspended once, following the Manchester attack. That happened while Mrs. May was on the defensive, after having to change her position on home care policy announced just days earlier in her party’s manifesto.

A second interruption to campaigning is unprecedented in recent elections, but British politicians concluded swiftly that to postpone Thursday’s vote would be tantamount to handing a victory to the terrorists.

Mayor Sadiq Khan of London, meanwhile, said the police had been dispersed across the city, as security would remain heightened throughout the week.

Mr. Khan, who described the assault as a “deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners,” said that some of the injured were in critical condition, raising the possibility that the death toll could rise. “We will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism,” he said.

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A police officer escorted people wrapped in foil blankets to get shelter in London on Sunday. Credit Chris J Ratcliffe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Muslim Council of Britain also condemned the attack and praised the emergency services.

“Muslims everywhere are outraged and disgusted at these cowards who once again have destroyed the lives of our fellow Britons,” said the council’s secretary-general, Harun Khan. “That this should happen in this month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith.”

The attack began shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, in what quickly became a terrifying night in Central London, as the sirens of police cruisers and ambulances wailed into the early morning hours.

The police got their first emergency call at 10:08 p.m. and within eight minutes had killed the three assailants, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, Cressida Dick, said on Sunday morning. It was a remarkably rapid response that was bound to have saved many lives.

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How the Attacks in London Unfolded

Three attackers drove a white van into pedestrians on London Bridge on Saturday night before stabbing people at nearby Borough Market.

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Witnesses and police officers described a white van roaring across London Bridge, jumping over the curb and plowing over shrieking pedestrians. The van eventually crashed into a railing, and three men jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the bars and restaurants at Borough Market. The attackers, who had a machete and large knives, began slashing at patrons, witnesses said.

Heavily armed police officers responded to the bridge attack, and more officers rushed to investigate reports of stabbings at the market. The police shot and killed the three attackers there. The three men were wearing what appeared to be canisters or suicide vests, but they were fake, the police said.

“Last night saw another appalling and tragic incident in London, something we hoped we would not see again,” Commissioner Dick said. She called on the public to remain calm and vigilant, and said that many people had risked their own safety to help others and to confront the attackers.

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Police forensics investigators on London Bridge on Sunday. Credit Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Though there has been no claim of responsibility for the attack, it hit a nation still recovering from the shock of the bombing in Manchester almost two weeks ago, when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the doors of an Ariana Grande concert. Twenty-two people were killed, including many children, and 116 were injured.

Ms. Grande is expected to return to Manchester with a star-powered lineup on Sunday night to perform in a charity concert and pay tribute to the victims.

Saturday’s attack was reminiscent of another on Westminster Bridge on March 22, when Khalid Masood, 52, drove a car into pedestrians, killing four people. He then stabbed a police officer to death before being shot and killed near Parliament. The police treated that attack, in which 50 were injured, as “Islamist-related terrorism.”

The mood in London veered from shock to anger, especially late Saturday night into early Sunday morning as police raced to lock down the area around Borough Market, advising people to run or hide, and to silence their cellphones as officers searched for other possible assailants.

There was panic that a third stabbing in the Vauxhall area about the same time as the assaults near the bridge might have been part of a coordinated attack, but the police later declared that event unrelated.

Expressions of support poured in from Europe, the United States and beyond. In a media communiqué, President Emmanuel Macron of France expressed solidarity with the British people and described the attack as “horrendous and cowardly.”

“French citizens are among the victims,” he added. “France is doing everything it can to provide them with assistance.” As none of the victims were immediately identified, it was not clear if any were French citizens.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia also said citizens of his nation were among the injured.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said, “We are united beyond all borders in horror and sorrow, but also in determination.”

President Trump tweeted: “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the UK, we will be there — WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”

But then the president took aim at political correctness and Mr. Khan. “We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people,” he wrote on Twitter. “If we don’t get smart it will only get worse.”

Mr. Trump then accused the London mayor, inaccurately, of saying there was nothing for Londoners to be concerned about. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!”” Mr. Trump wrote.

In fact, Mr. Khan wrote in a statement about the need to remain “calm and vigilant,” and was speaking about the enlarged police presence in the capital when he said there was no reason to be alarmed.

No motive has been ascribed to the attackers, but on the messaging app Telegram, members and supporters of the Islamic State shared a poster that calls for supporters to attack people with guns, knives and trucks during the holy month of Ramadan, which began last weekend.

Source: NYT > World

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