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Police Say That Several People Have Been Injured In A Stabbing Incident Near London Bridge; Sadiq Khan Holds Press Conference Regarding Attack Near London Bridge. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired November 29, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Significantly the last attack, they were aware of the leader of that group. Significantly, the last attack involved three people. And I think to the point of the bloom coming off of ISIS at the moment, and the point you're making Kimberly is that this is just one person. Last time it was three, it's harder.
People are -- these types of attacks are harder to organize and get under the radar. But to that specific point about briefing the Prime Minister, this potentially reflects badly on the Prime Minister in a run up to a general election, that he and many people and certainly the opposition will accuse him of lowering the terror threat threshold for political reasons.
There's a feeling that the threat level should be even higher because of the threat posed by dissident Republicans from Northern Ireland.
So there will be a political component in this and I think, you know, this will be important for the British, obviously in the run up to the election. I think the bigger international picture is obviously going to be, is this a season campaign by ISIS in European capitals in the run up to Christmas?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Especially when French Intelligence and other European Intelligence officials were not seeing a lessening of the threat and had their guard up. There are going to be some political questions asked.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Officials across Europe are going to be asking could this also happen here? Just to bring our viewers up to speed, the London Metropolitan Police just moments ago declaring this a terror incident, saying that a male suspect was shot and killed at the scene, that he had what was called a hoax explosive device on his person. He was shot and killed. It is very much an ongoing situation as you can see there.
We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back with more
[11:36:27] MARQUARDT: Welcome back. We are covering the ongoing incident at
London Bridge attack. At London Bridge, there was an attack just hours ago.
The London Metropolitan Police saying that one male suspect was shot and killed, they have declared it a terrorist incident.
We have seen video from eyewitnesses of the suspect being taken down and shot. We have just gotten a piece of new video that we're going to show you right there.
You can see someone on top of the attacker being pulled away and moments after that, the police then shot and killed the male suspect.
We understand from the police that the suspect had on his person what they called a hoax explosive device. We are freezing that, cutting that short for obvious reasons because it is graphic. But moments after that last frame, the police shot and killed the male suspect.
We also understand from the police that a number of people were wounded in this attack. So far, there have been no reports of any deaths.
I want to go to Tom Tugendhat who is the Chairman of the U.K. Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Mr. Tugendhat, thank you so much for joining me.
TOM TUGENDHAT, FORMER CHAIRMAN, U.K. FOREIGN AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE (via phone): Thanks. I was. There isn't actually a Parliament in the U.K., so there are no committees in the U.K. at the moment.
MARQUARDT: That is a bit of a wrinkle in the U.K. election process right there. But you are a former military officer. You do have experience in the Intelligence world.
I first want to get your reaction. What are you hearing about what the police have now officially declared a terrorist incident?
TUGENDHAT: Well, I'm hearing the same as you and you heard Neil Basu, the Metropolitan Police Commander -- Counterterrorism Commander speaking earlier. He is an extremely professional police officer who has run many, sadly such incidents in the past and has a very good reputation for dealing very well with these. So I would -- I would listen to him very carefully and take his word seriously.
MARQUARDT: Is there any sense that there was a broader plot? That this was a bigger attack? Or does it look like this person was acting as a so-called lone wolf?
TUGENDHAT: Well, it sounds like it's far too early to say, but I mean, I think the key -- the key thing to remember is that there are many people who are psychologically unbalanced to act in various odd ways in your country and ours, and very sadly, this individual seems to have been pretty psychologically unbalanced. Otherwise, he wouldn't have charged into a crowd with a knife wearing a fake bomb.
So it sounds like he is somebody was in need of psychiatric care.
MARQUARDT: What do you make of the police response both at the scene and now, it's been about two hours and 40 minutes since this incident?
TUGENDHAT: Well, I think at this stage, it's far too early to pass any comments at all. And I think what's important to do right now is to hand over any information that anybody has to the police, and to make sure that we do not do the work of the terrorists for them and we don't start rebroadcasting footage designed to cause fear.
And instead, remember that these incidents are exceptionally unusual. And the way to combat that is to cooperate with police and to cooperate with the Intelligence Services should anything come up, but also to make sure people who are in need of psychiatric care are treated rather than allowed to interact on their native device.
MARQUARDT: Can we read anything into the fact that the Assistant Commissioner there did not declare this incident to be over? The cordon has not been lifted. There are searches still ongoing. What more can we take from that?
TUGENDHAT: I'm afraid you'd have to ask -- you'd have Commander Basu on this one because it's really up to -- it is he who would know. It is far too early for me to pass any comments like that.
What's much more? What the police will be doing at this stage is collecting evidence really as well as making sure the situation is secure. So I suspected much more likely that what they're doing is doing evidence gathering.
MARQUARDT: Mr. Tugendhat, last question. I just -- we understand that the Home Office has just weeks ago, lowered the threat level to substantial, which means an attack is still quite likely, but is that a reflection of a confidence since the spate of attacks in 2017? Why would the Home Office have lowered the threat level?
TUGENDHAT: So there's a very, very clear procedure on how threat levels have changed in the United Kingdom. And it's changed according to very specific Intelligence and targeting and to patterns of activity.
So I'm afraid I'm not going to go through the details as to why that would have happened in this circumstance. But in fact, you can see on the website, the Home Office website, exactly how they make the decisions. There are a lot of specific information that will go into the decision.
MARQUARDT: All right, Tom Tugendhat, the former Chair of the U.K. Foreign Affairs Select Committee. Thank you so much for joining me and giving us your thoughts and expertise.
And I want to get straight back to our reporters on the ground. We have Nina dos Santos who is near the scene of the London Bridge incident. Nina, we understand that you've been speaking with someone who witnessed this attack.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, that's right. I'm going to bring her in in just a second, but let me just show you the scene so far, because this is the closest you can get to the actual incident.
The cordon actually extends to about 200 to 300 meters behind me up the bridge. And throughout the course of the last two or three hours since this incident took place, I'd been here witnessing police vehicles, marked and unmarked going back and forth, as well as obviously a heavy, heavy police presence.
And what we also have now going on is buildings -- these many office buildings here that are currently being evacuated. People have been stuck in there for the last two or three hours. It is Friday, they need to get home. So you've got a coordinated effort between the police and also the local security guards to try and move people in and out of the buildings.
Let me bring in our witness here. Olivia Bizot, who was just coming off London Bridge when you heard the commotion.
OLIVIA BIZOT, WITNESSED LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK: I was coming from this way. Yes. I was coming on my bike, and I heard explosions and then the police came and just all of the cars just stopped going and then all of a sudden, a whole flood of people were running, looked absolutely terrified.
And I sort of was just asking them what was going on? What was happening? And then one of them said that there were explosions and just everyone just kept running, running, running.
DOS SANTOS: When you say explosions, could they have been gunshots?
BIZOT: Well, I think at the time, I didn't really understand it. I kind of assumed it was construction or something. But it was only when the police came, and then told us to stop. And then when the person told me it was gunshots.
DOS SANTOS: How concerned were you and how panicked were the people?
BIZOT: Everyone was incredibly panicked, really stressed out, didn't know what was going on. And everyone just made everyone else continue to run.
DOS SANTOS: Now, we were just talking before about this is the second time that you've had a lucky escape from an incident like this.
BIZOT: Yes, I was also in the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013 and also a very similar experience while I was at the marathon, sort of 20 minutes or something, I can't remember how long, but just before it actually happened, and sort of a similar thing of just having a flood of people just running and not really knowing what was happening and just fear -- like a huge amount of fear on their faces. And you could feel it as well in the energy of just everyone stressing out.
DOS SANTOS: And today, it felt the same? BIZOT: Yes. And it reminded me about afterwards when I finished and
sort of got to a place where people were calming down. And then I remember thinking, whoa, like that was just the same.
DOS SANTOS: How does that make you feel today? Two lucky escapes?
BIZOT: Afraid, I think and also, the fact that in the two episodes, everyone should have had the same reaction of just panic and just running. It's just a really scary environment.
DOS SANTOS: Have you had any other friends who've been caught up in this incident? Work colleagues?
BIZOT: No, not work colleagues, but I have just spoken to quite a few people afterwards, who I saw the experience of running with.
DOS SANTOS: Well, Olivia Bizot. Thank you very much for sharing your story with CNN. Thank you.
So as you can hear there, Olivia Bizot who works locally was just walking off or cycling rather off London Bridge here. Just as she said, a number of years ago, she was just leaving the scene of the finishing line at the Boston Marathon before of course the attacks there and she said --
MARQUARDT: All right. Nina, we're going to go straight to London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: ... has now been declared as a terrorist incident. I am in close contact with senior officers here at New Scotland Yard, and had been fully updated with events and had been kept updated of this afternoon.
It has been confirmed that a number of people were injured in the attack, some seriously. My heart goes out to them, their families and all those affected. As soon as it is possible to provide an update on their condition, the Met Police will do so. I'll ask you all, to please respect the privacy of those affected.
Emergency service responders attended the scene including officers from the City of London and Metropolitan Police. A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from the City of London Police and died at the scene.
I want to thank our brave emergency services who responded to today's horrific attack. Every day, they put their lives on the line for us running towards danger in order to keep us safe.
I would also like to thank members of the public who risked their own safety this afternoon. They are the best of us.
Terrorism is cowardly and evil. We must and we will stand united and resolute in the face of terror. Those who seek to attack us and divide us will never succeed. I'd ask all Londoners to remain vigilant and report anything
suspicious to the police. I am going to take some questions.
KHAN: Well, I have been kept updated all afternoon, but I think it's important for the Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu to answer to specific questions about that and the investigation. It is really important the police have the time to carry out investigations and they will answer questions in due course.
KHAN: Firstly, can I say, anybody who has got images of this afternoon, either caught on their phone, or other devices, please share that with the police. There is a website set up where you can share those images, and it's really important you do so.
Also, I ask that we respect the identity of the armed officers. And please don't put in the public domain their identity. But also, what's remarkable about the images we've seen is the breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger, they walked in front of them.
We do know from the statement given by the Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu that there appears to be a device on the suspect.
Members of the public didn't realize at the time, that was a hoax device and they really are the best of us. Another example of the bravery and heroism of ordinary Londoners running towards danger, risking their own personal safety to try and save others.
And I want to say thank you to them, on behalf of all Londoners, but also, because it shows the best of us.
MARQUARDT: All right, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan there speaking with reporters confirming that this was a terror incident and that male suspect was shot and killed.
The London Mayor thanking the City Police who responded in just moments to that incident, and commending members of the public for their bravery and risking their lives in this incident.
We've got much more ahead. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
MARQUARDT: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the incident on London Bridge which in the past hour, the London Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan have said was terror related.
They all confirmed that a male suspect was shot and killed that he had a hoax explosive device on him. Nic Robertson, I wanted to go straight to you.
The London Mayor also thanking members of the public for risking their lives.
ROBERTSON: Yes, and I'm just looking at a tweet that's just crossing out from the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. "I want to thank the emergency services and members of the public for their immediate bravery."
And when you look at some of that, some of those videos now, you see in one of the videos, a man walking away from the suspect on the ground and is holding the large knife or a large knife and we've certainly heard witnesses describe a large knife.
This man is in civilian clothing. So he looks like a member of public. I don't think it's unusual now in London to recognize the fact that in these types of situations, people, members of the public will step up and try to intervene if they can and you know, render a situation safe.
And we also saw someone in civilian clothes wrestling that man on the ground.
MARQUARDT: Paul, we only have 30 seconds left, but what are the authorities doing right now that the main suspect has been shot and killed?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I want to make sure that nobody more is killed today. So they're going to be looking at whether he had connections to other extremists and we suppose that he is an extremist in the United Kingdom.
CRUICKSHANK: They'll be looking all at that. They'll be trying to identify him. We don't know at this point whether there was just one attacker, or perhaps multiple attackers. The authorities have not let us know, so there has to be concern moving ahead.
MARQUARDT: They have not removed that cordon. There are searches ongoing. There's much more to discuss, but that's going to do it for me. I'm Alex Marquardt. Nia-Malika Henderson will be picking up our coverage of this continuing story right after this.