British police shot dead on Friday a man with a fake suicide vest that stabbed two people to death in London and wounded three more before being hit by passers-by, in what authorities called a terrorist attack.
The attacker was enraged just before 2pm (1400 GMT), targeting people in Fishmongers & # 39; Hall, near the London Bridge, in the heart of the city's financial district, scene of a deadly attack by Islamist militants ago two years.
On the street, half a dozen passers-by knocked the suspect down and grabbed his knife.
A video posted on Twitter shows police dragging a man out of the suspect before an officer points carefully. Two shots rang out. The man stopped moving.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who called early elections on December 12 and will be the host of NATO leaders, including the president of the United States, Donald Trump, next week, praised those who took the man for his courage and said Britain would never be intimidated.
"I … want to pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery of those members of the public who intervened physically to protect the lives of others," Johnson told reporters on Downing Street.
"For me they represent the best of our country and I thank you on behalf of our entire country," Johnson said. "This country will never be intimidated, divided or intimidated by this type of attack."
He said that it was now believed that the incident had been contained and promised that any other person involved would be prosecuted. Downing Street said he would later chair a meeting of the government's emergency security committee.
Britain's chief anti-terrorist officer, Neil Basu, said specialized armed police officers in the city of London shot the suspect, who died at the scene. He said a fake explosive device was tied to his body.
"Our anti-terrorism detectives will work 24 hours to identify those who have lost their lives and support all victims and their families," London police chief Cressida Dick told reporters.
"We are also working at full speed to understand exactly what happened and if someone else was involved."
Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Johnson's main opponent in the elections, said he was surprised by the incident and that his thoughts were with those trapped in him.
The campaign has been temporarily suspended.
Kicked in the head
Commissioner Dick said the attacker launched his assault on Fishmongers & # 39; Hall, a large building at the north end of the bridge.
One of those who faced the attacker there told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that had kicked him in the head to drop the knife.
Stevie Hurst, who tours the capital, said he and a colleague faced the suspect with five other people.
“I jumped and kicked him in the head to release his knife. Some others did, "he told Telegraph. "I was screaming" get off me, get off me "".
While three armed policemen surrounded the suspect in the shadow of the Shard skyscraper, the tallest building in Western Europe, a spectator in a suit and tie grabbed the knife and quickly withdrew when the police clashed.
The mayor of the city, Sadiq Khan, said ordinary Londoners demonstrated "impressive heroism" by disarming the attacker carrying a knife despite having a device that they did not know was a hoax.
"The amazing thing about the images we've seen is the impressive heroism of the members of the public who literally ran into danger without knowing what they were facing," Khan told reporters.
The ambulance service declared a "major incident" in the area and the London Bridge station, a busy suburban center, was closed for several hours.
During the 2017 election campaign, the London Bridge was the scene of an attack when three militants drove a van against pedestrians and then attacked people in the vicinity, killing eight and wounding at least 48.
The militant group of the Islamic State said its fighters were responsible, but the British authorities have questioned those claims.
The previous month, a suicide bomber killed 22 children and adults and wounded 59 in a crowded concert hall in the English city of Manchester, when crowds began to leave a concert by American singer Ariana Grande.
In March of the same year, an attacker stabbed a policeman near the London parliament buildings after a car crashed into pedestrians on the nearby Westminster Bridge.
Six people died, including the assailant and the policeman who stabbed him, and at least 20 were injured in what the police called a "marauding terrorist attack."
Earlier this month, Britain had reduced its level of threat of national terrorism to "substantial" from "serious", its lowest level since 2014.