Met's top cop calls attack "ghastly" as death toll rises to seven
The death toll from the terrorist attack in London Bridge has risen to seven, the head of Scotland Yard has revealed.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick condemned the atrocity as "appalling" and "ghastly".
She said police believe there were three attackers and that all had been "neutralised".
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".
The trio were pictured wearing what appeared to be explosive vests, with police later confirming they were hoaxes.
Police were called at around 10.08pm 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 call being made.
In addition to seven fatalities, 48 people are being treated in hospital after being injured in the attack.
It is the third terrorist atrocity in Britain in less than three months after the Westminster and Manchester attacks in March and May.
Addressing media outside Scotland Yard, Ms Dick said: "Last night we saw another appalling and tragic incident in London - something we hoped we would not see again."
The commissioner said: "Our understanding is that there were three people involved in the attack.
"We have witness reports of three people armed with knives and three attackers. And we believe the threat that they posed was neutralised within eight minutes.
"Of course it's a very complex and confused scene, and a confused series of events, so it's important that we first of all make sure that there is no one else outstanding.
"We don't believe there is but we must make absolutely certain ... and as I said we have a very large investigation ongoing and we will be seeking to establish whether anyone else was working with or assisting in any way, or helping in the planning of this attack in the way that you would expect.
"So at the moment we believe there were three attackers and we believe they are dead."
The official terror threat level in the UK is currently at severe, the second highest category.
Ms Dick said authorities are already at a "very high level of alertness".
She said: "Severe means that an attack is highly likely, and the threat level was at severe.
"So, we were prepared potentially for an incident as we have been for some considerable time. The threat level is a matter, as you know, for the independent JTAC, the terrorism analysis centre, and they take a whole range of factors into account in setting the threat level.
"In my view, we responded extremely well. to this ghastly, ghastly incident.
"I can tell you that we will be doing absolutely everything in our power to try to stop such horrendous attack as this.
"We will be working with the Government, and with our colleagues in the intelligence services to do so."
Although police believe the incident is "under control", a large cordon remains in place in the affected areas.
Large numbers of officers are at the scene as a thorough search is conducted to ensure "everyone has been accounted for".
Ms Dick declined to comment on the identity of the attackers, saying: "I can't tell you anything about the identity of the suspects at the moment.
"Obviously a very high priority for us is to identify them, work out who they are, where they've came from, what is behind this.
"I'm not prepared to comment at all about any information that we currently have. You understand why."
The commissioner said a "fast-moving" investigation is ongoing with "very significant" resources deployed both to the inquiry and patrols on the streets of the capital.
Ms Dick said police have "very good" resources and "extraordinarily highly-trained people" but attacks are difficult to predict.
She said: "We've been trying to prepare for an attack like this. We have an excellent working relationship with our colleagues in the agencies, and we have officers on the streets of London all the time.
"These sorts of things, as you know, as is quite apparent, are hard to predict, and are sometimes sadly, as has been proven over the last few weeks, hard to prevent.
"We're clearly going to have to look, all of us, in the light of the Westminster attack and the events in Manchester, at our resource levels and how we use them.
"But that's just a natural thing to do. I believe the Metropolitan Police is well resourced."
Witnesses said the terrorists drove into pedestrians on the bridge in the same way as Westminster Bridge attacker Khalid Masood.
They then emerged and attacked some of the people they had hit with the van before heading to Borough Market, where the pubs and restaurants were packed with
Saturday night crowds, including many watching the Champions League final between Juventus and Real Madrid in Cardiff.
They were heard shouting 'This is for Allah' as they attacked people.
One woman, who was in Black and Blue restaurant, said: "We just saw three guys come into the restaurant, stabbed someone in the face and someone in the stomach.
"One of them had a big knife. Then he came in and walked around the restaurant. I guess they just kind of stabbed anyone that they saw and knocked things on the ground and then we just hid."
Barman Alex Martinez was forced to take shelter in a bin when a one knifeman entered El Pastor restaurant.
He said: "I saw that man with a knife in his hand and after that a man started screaming so I knew something wrong was happening.
"The man started screaming and dropping everything on the floor, the plates, the cutlery, the bottle, everything, he dropped it."
Ms Dick gave details of how the incident unfolded.
"Our officers confronted the suspects and brought this terrible incident to a conclusion within eight minutes," she said.
"We were called at 10.08pm last night initially to reports that a vehicle had struck pedestrians on London Bridge.
"That vehicle continued to drive from London Bridge to Borough Market. The suspects then left the vehicle and a number of people were stabbed.
"The suspects were shot dead by armed officers."
She said she understood it was a "worrying time" and "there is going to be considerable concern by some people, and fear indeed amongst some people".
The commissioner added: "What I think we are asking for is that people do not overreact.
"People of course will make their own decisions about what they do or don't do.
"But the last thing we need is people overreacting or beginning to take out their frustrations on other people in other communities or in their own communities.
"So we would like people to allow the police and the intelligence agencies to get on with their work and to remain calm.
"And of course we would want people, where they feel able to, to carry on with their normal lives."