Coordinated terror attacks on Saturday evening turned central London into a scene of bloody horror, and media reports said multiple people were killed.
The first attack was on London Bridge, where a van plowed into a crowd of some 20 pedestrians at about 10:30 p.m. A witness told the BBC that three men jumped from the van and began stabbing people, shouting: “This is for Allah.”
Another van headed south from London Bridge to nearby Borough Market, a busy 1,000-year-old food market surrounded by bars and restaurants on the south side of the Thames River.
Armed men also jumped from that van and attacked people.
Shots were fired in the two attacks, police said. The Sun newspaper said police killed two terrorists.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the “terrible incident” was “a potential act of terrorism.” London police declared the attacks “terrorist incidents.”
Up to seven people were killed in the attacks, said The Sun. But there was no official casualty count by early Sunday London time, and reports of the number of people hurt or killed varied.
In Washington, President Trump vowed that the US would provide whatever help the British need. “WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
He also tweeted that the attacks prove the need for “the courts” to approve his travel ban to provide “an extra level of safety!” in the US.
“I saw this van going left and right, left and right, trying to catch as many people as he could,” a witness who gave his name as Alessandro told BBC radio.
“And people just tried to get out of the way of the van,” he said.
BBC reporter Holly Jones, who also was on the bridge at the time, estimated the van’s initial speed at 50 mph.
“It veered off the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement,” Jones told BBC News.
“He swerved right round me and then hit about five or six people. He hit about two people in front of me and then three behind.”
“I’d say there are about four severely injured people. They all have paramedics assisting them,” Jones added.
Mark Roberts, a 53-year-old management consultant, told Reuters that the attack was “horrendous.”
“It looked like he was aiming for groups of people. I froze because I didn’t know what to do,” Roberts said.
“I was thinking: Which way do I run to get away?” he said, adding that the van then veered onto the other side of the bridge before hitting a girl.
The van came to a halt at a bus stop, said a CNN report.
Moments later, a second van, also speeding at about 50 mph, zoomed south from the bridge to Borough Market and plowed into another crowd of people, various reports said.
Three men armed with long knives jumped out of that van and began stabbing people, according to witness reports. Police warned pedestrians to run as fast as they could.
A witness in front of Elliot’s Cafe in the market area saw a large group of people started running up the street, CNN reported.
“There is a man with a knife up there and he is coming this way,” the witness said one of those fleeing the scene recounted.
“There was complete panic as everyone ran to the back of the restaurant and crouched down trying to hide themselves from view,” the witness said.
“A man suddenly appeared in the restaurant with a massive knife — some people in the restaurant believe there may have been another man — but it was so chaotic it was hard to tell,” the witness added.
“‘I was in Arabica restaurant with a friend in Borough Market,” another witness told MailOnline.
“Suddenly there was commotion and people were screaming. Security guards were yelling at people to get back from the window. About 50 people piled into the restaurant.
“Then I heard two separate bursts of gunfire and people rushed into the restaurant kitchens to hide. It was utter chaos,” the MailOnline witness said.
“Some people tried to leave the kitchen via the back door but some of us tried to keep people calm. We hid for 45 minutes and then were evacuated from the market by armed police.”
A terrified woman told The Sun, “We had to run. There was loads of shooting.”
Alex Shellum was with his girlfriend and two friends at the Mudlark pub underneath the London Bridge when a wounded woman staggered in seeking help.
“She was bleeding heavily from the neck — it appeared that her throat had been cut. People sought to stem the bleeding and the pub was closed,” Shellum told the BBC.
“Outside the pub, emergency services were performing CPR on a further individual,” Shellum said. “From there, we were instructed to move along by armed police.”
In another incident near Borough Market, a man who identified himself as Ben told BBC radio that he “saw a man in red with a large blade, at a guess 10 inches long, stabbing a man, about three times.”