(Reuters) — Police shot dead a man in south London on Sunday after two people were stabbed in what police described as a terrorism-related incident.
Armed officers shot the man in Streatham, a busy residential district south of the River Thames.
“The circumstances are being assessed; the incident has been declared as terrorist-related,” the Metropolitan Police said on Twitter.
Police said later the man they had shot had been pronounced dead, and two people had been wounded.
“We await updates on their condition,” police said, adding the scene of the incident was now fully contained.
Karker Tahir, a man who was working nearby, told Sky News that the man was shot three times. Police had told people in the area to leave because the man had a bomb in his bag, Tahir said.
A Western security source said the incident was related to Islamist militancy.
Armed police cordoned off the area and said people should avoid the area.
Several videos of the scene were posted on Twitter, but not verified by Reuters. In one, filmed from inside a shop across the road, a man can be seen lying on the street while at least two armed police officers point their guns from behind an unmarked car with its blue lights flashing.
At least one helicopter flew overhead and police cars were in surrounding streets, with the area blocked off by tape.
According to reports, the attacker was armed with a machete and some witnesses described him as wearing what appeared to be a suicide vest.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter, “”Thank you to all emergency services responding to the incident in Streatham, which the police have now declared as terrorism-related.”
He added: “My thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.”
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan said in a statement: “Terrorists seek to divide us and to destroy our way of life – here in London we will never let them succeed.”
A previous stabbing in London
The stabbing comes after the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union on Friday, a move motivated largely by British frustrations with immigration.
The last such incident in London was in November, when police shot dead a man wearing a fake suicide vest who stabbed two people to death and wounded three more before being wrestled to the ground by bystanders.
That attack was carried out by a man with Islamist militant sympathies. He had been jailed for terrorism and released early.
London has in recent years grown accustomed to Islamist terrorist attacks.
In 2017, three Islamic State-inspired terrorists rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before going on a stabbing spree in the nearby Borough Market.
Eight people were killed and 48 were injured, including four unarmed police officers who attempted to stop the assailants. Armed London police ultimately shot the attackers dead.
Three months earlier, a similar attack on London’s Westminster Bridge killed four people, including an unarmed police officer. Dozens of people were injured. The attacker wore a fake explosive vest.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by David Goodman; Pluralist contributed to this report.)
- A police officer points his weapon at an alleged terrorist who was killed after a stabbing spree in London, England, on Feb. 2, 2020.: Screen grab