Police investigating the London Bridge terror attacks which left seven people dead and dozens more injured have arrested 12 people.
They were detained after an armed raid in Barking, east London, the day after the van and knife rampage by three terrorists who were shot dead by police.
Scotland Yard said the investigation into the “horrific attack” at London Bridge and Borough Market was progressing rapidly with officers searching several addresses in the area.
The arrests in connection with the attacks came as Prime Minister Theresa May warned that Britain is in the grip of a spate of copycat terror plots and it emerged that an off-duty Metropolitan Police officer was among the 48 people injured by the terrorists.
The killings on Saturday night were the second terrorist atrocity to hit the country in as many weeks after 22 were killed at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Attackers brought carnage to the streets of the capital, stabbing a police officer and revellers with 12-inch knives.
The trio were pictured wearing what appeared to be explosive vests, with Scotland Yard later confirming they were hoaxes.
The Prime Minister insisted that “things need to change” regarding how the UK goes about the problem of fighting terrorism.
She said: “While the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.
“It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam. It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth.
“Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time, but it cannot be defeated by military intervention alone. It will not be defeated by the maintenance of a permanent defensive counter-terrorism operation, however skillful its leaders and practitioners.
“It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values - pluralistic British values - are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.
She added: “Since the emergence of the threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism, our country has made significant progress in disrupting plots and protecting the public.
“But it is time to say `Enough is enough’.
“Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”
Here is a recap of how the terror unfolded:
- 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.
Witnesses reported seeing a vehicle travelling at about 50mph strike people walking along the pavement.
Holly Jones, a BBC reporter, who was at London Bridge, said: “A white van driver came speeding - probably about 50mph - veered off the road into the crowds of people who were walking along the pavement.
“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.”
Witness Eric described the terror attack as a “rampage”.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live he saw three people get out the van and initially believed they were going to help those who had been injured.
He said: “The three people literally started kicking them, punching them, and took out knives. It was a rampage really.”
The three men ran off towards the nearby bars and restaurants and there was a shout of “this is for Allah”, he told the station.
Another witness called Gerard said the suspects stabbed a series of people near Borough Market and shouted, “This is for Allah”.
Liam Connell was in Katzenjammers Bierhall in Southwark Street, where customers were told to evacuate by staff before armed police told them to get on the ground.
He told the Press Association: “Then someone came in off the street and he had a white cuff around his neck.
“(The man) said he had been stabbed in the neck and I was holding his bandage and wound while he was talking to the police.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation hospital said it was “on lockdown” to keep patients, relatives and staff safe, while a picture on social media showed armed police outside the Andaz Hotel in Liverpool Street, where the walking wounded were reportedly taken.
London Ambulance Service Assistant Director of Operations Peter Rhodes said: “We took 48 patients to five hospitals across London and treated a number of others at the scene for minor injuries.”
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police said: “At this stage, we believe that six people have died in addition to the three attackers shot dead by police. And at least 20 casualties have been taken to six hospitals across London.
“We believe three people were involved but we still have some more inquiries to be 100 per cent confident on that.”
He added officers were treating the incident as terrorism and additional police would be deployed in the capital.
Police have opened a casualty bureau line for people concerned about loved ones on 0800 0961 233.
The attack has received widespread condemnation from political leaders, with London mayor Sadiq Khan calling it “deliberate and cowardly”.
He said: “This was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night.
“I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.”