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London Bridge Attack: The Implements of Terror

After crashing the van into a railing, the attackers emerged with the knives and proceeded to slash and stab people who were out for a night of revelry at the bars and restaurants.

The men, later identified as Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, a Pakistani-born British citizen; Rachid Redouane, 30, a Moroccan denied asylum in Britain in 2009; and Youssef Zaghba, 22, an Italian of Moroccan descent, were shot and killed by the police.

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From left: Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba. Credit Metropolitan Police

The attack took all of eight minutes from start to finish.

The knives were branded with the word “Ernesto,” the authorities said. The attackers hung them around their wrists by attaching leather straps to the knife handles.

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Credit London Metropolitan Police, via European Pressphoto Agency

The men also wore fake explosives to instill “maximum fear” in those they approached that night, the police said.

The belts were still strapped to the attackers’ bodies when they were shot. Photographs of the blood-splattered belts, made from plastic water bottles wrapped in duct tape, were among the images released.

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The fake explosive belts worn by the London Bridge attackers on June 3. Credit London Metropolitan Police European Pressphoto Agency

Cmdr. Dean Haydon of the Metropolitan Police, who is leading the investigation, said in a statement: “I have not seen this tactic in the U.K. before where terrorists create maximum fear by strapping fake explosives to themselves.

“Anyone who saw them on the night would have thought they were genuine. It is hard to speculate what the motive was for wearing the belts. It could be that they had plans to take the attack into a siege situation, or it might be that they saw it as protection from being shot themselves.”

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Credit London Metropolitan Police, via European Pressphoto Agency

He added: “It makes the bravery of those police officers and members of the public who tackled the terrorists even more remarkable.

“The belt would have been visible to them, and if you are fighting back or aiming a shot at someone wearing the device, you would clearly be very aware that you could be caught in an explosion.”

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The inside of the van. Credit Reuters

The authorities said the attackers might have been planning even worse carnage. Mr. Butt tried to rent a 7.5-ton box truck, the police said, but his payment was declined and he rented the smaller van instead.

The police found gas bombs and blow torches in the van that crashed on the bridge.

Source: NYT > World

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