Police have arrested 12 people including four women during a dawn raid at a block of flats in Barking where one of the London Bridge terrorists reportedly lived.
One witness said a suspect who tried to flee was shot while others reported hearing gunfire and explosions as police swooped on the east London address at 7am on Sunday.
Several men were pictured laying face down in the road handcuffed, while others were later led from the flat alongside four women. The arrests marked the first by police over the attack which killed seven and wounded 48, including 21 people left in critical.
A second raid by armed officers was then caught on film less than a mile away on Barking Road, East Ham, at 3.30pm as officers pointed their weapons to a first floor flat above a Paddy Power shop.
The Metropolitan Police would not confirm whether the operation is linked with last night’s terrorist attack, or give any further details about the raid. Witnesses claimed at least three people had been taken from the scene.
One of the suspects arrested in the East Ham raid made a desperate attempt at a rooftop escape by climbing out of a window.
He was only apprehended after armed officers pointed their weapons at him and threatened to shoot, Malik Rouf, 30, an eyewitness, told MailOnline.
‘I don’t know if he was scared or anything but he looked pretty desperate,’ he said. ‘He looked pretty determined to escape.’
The suspect, said to be black and in his twenties, turned around and climbed back through his window where he was arrested along with another black man.
The armed officers had jumped out of three unmarked police cars before pouncing, the eyewitness said. The two suspects were dragged into a van and driven away.
Meanwhile armed police and forensic officers were seen scouring the scene at London Bridge and Borough Market, where three terrorists left a trail of death and destruction when they went on a van and knife rampage.
The attackers, who were wearing fake suicide vests, mowed down up to 20 pedestrians as they careered across London Bridge in an ‘S shape’ at 50mph before abandoning the vehicle at nearby Borough Market, where they began ‘randomly stabbing’ revellers packed into busy bars and pubs.
Speaking outside No 10 today, Theresa May said the attack is not directly connected to the Manchester bombing last month or the Westminster atrocity in April but that all three are linked by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism’. The Prime Minister insisted ‘enough is enough’ as she vowed to introduce tougher punishments for those connected to extremism. The terror threat level remains at severe, meaning an attack is ‘highly likely’.
Forensic officers were seen scouring London Bridge for clues today as security services try to piece together what happened. Meanwhile:
- Witness accounts of the terrifying events started to emerge with revellers describing how they fought off knifemen with chairs and glasses after attackers stormed packed bars and restaurants
- A hero taxi driver revealed how he tried to knock down three men ‘armed with 12in knives’ while another reported seeing victim being stabbed in the face and chest
- Dashcam footage emerged showing the aftermath of the devastation caused by the van on London Bridge, with bystanders seen tending to victims on the side of the road
- Desperate families are begging for information on loved ones feared missing after the attack, including a 16-year-old girl who failed to return home last night
- Kindhearted Londoners offered beds, food and cups of tea to survivors as the city came together in the wake of another attack and #PrayForLondon trended on social media
- Today heavily armed officers raided a flat in Barking, east London, on Sunday morning as police launched a major investigation into the third terror attack on British soil in as many months
- The Prime Minister chaired a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee in Whitehall this morning and insisted in a press conference outside No 10 afterwards: ‘Enough is enough’
- The terror threat level remains at severe, meaning another terror attack is ‘highly likely’
- Politicians faced calls to cancel the election next week but Mrs May confirmed it will go ahead as planned
- All parties except for Ukip agreed to suspend national election campaigning today but local efforts will continue
- London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the ‘barbaric’ and ‘horrific’ event as ‘deliberate and cowardly’. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the attack was ‘brutal’ and ‘shocking’ in a tweet last night
- President Donald Trump took to Twitter to criticise Sadiq Khan after the London Mayor told residents of his city that there is ‘no reason to be alarmed’ in the wake of the attack
- Ariana Grande, whose young fans were targeted in the attack at Manchester Arena, confirmed the benefit concert to benefit victims will go ahead tonight as planned with her manager urging people to stand together
- A minute’s silence will be held on Tuesday 6 June in remembrance of those who lost their lives
In a statement released this afternoon, the Metropolitan Police said: ‘The investigation into last night’s horrific attack in London is progressing rapidly as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to piece together exactly what occurred.
‘Officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command have this morning, Sunday 4 June, arrested 12 people in Barking, east London, in connection with last night’s incidents in London Bridge and the Borough Market area. Searches of a number of addresses in Barking are continuing.’
Speaking at the Elizabeth Fry flats today, a neighbour told Mail Online that he knew the man who lived at the address police are thought to have targeted.
He said: ‘I used to play table tennis with him in the lobby of the apartment. I can’t believe it. He approached me yesterday and asked me where I hired a van recently. He said he needed one as he was going to move house.
‘He was acting strange yesterday. He was being nicer than normal. He would always chat and was very friendly. Last week he invited me to a barbecue. He was always a very sociable person. It is such a shock.
‘I knew he lectured people on the Koran and there were always people dressed in robes coming in and out of his apartment. He was always nice, but yesterday he was an entirely different level of niceness.