British police on Friday shot dead a man who stabbed two people to death in London and wounded three more before being wrestled to the ground by bystanders, in what the authorities called a terrorist attack.
The attacker, wearing a fake suicide vest, went on the rampage just before 2 pm (1400 GMT), targeting people at Fishmongers' Hall near London Bridge in the heart of the city's financial district - the scene of a deadly attack by Islamist militants two years ago. The Times newspaper, citing unnamed government sources, reported that the man had previously been convicted of an Islamist terrorism-related offence and was released from prison about a year ago after agreeing to wear an electronic tag.
Britain's top counter-terrorism officer, Neil Basu, said specialist armed officers from the City of London police shot the suspect, who died at the scene. He said a hoax explosive device was strapped to his body.
"It is a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early, and it is very important that we get out of that habit and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists," Boris Johnson said.
Once the attacker was out on the street, a dramatic video posted on Twitter captured the moment when half a dozen bystanders tackled the suspect on London Bridge and grabbed his knife.
The video showed police dragging one man off the suspect before an officer took careful aim. Two shots rang out. The man stopped moving. Boris Johnson, who has called a snap election for December 12 and is due to host NATO leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump next week, praised those who took on the man for their courage and said Britain would never be cowed.
"I ... want to pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery of those members of the public who physically intervened to protect the lives of others," Boris Johnson told reporters in Downing Street.
"For me they represent the very best of our country and I thank them on behalf of all of our country," Boris Johnson said. "This country will never be cowed, or divided, or intimidated by this sort of attack."
"Our Counter Terrorism detectives will be working round the clock to identify those who have lost their lives, to support all the victims and their families," London police chief Cressida Dick told reporters.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson's main opponent in the election, said he was shocked by the incident and that his thoughts were with those caught up in it.
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