Armed police have shot dead a suspected terrorist feared to be wearing a suicide vest after he grabbed a knife from a shop and stabbed three people during a brutal high-street rampage in south London.
The incident comes just three months after the London Bridge attack where Usman Khan was shot dead by armed police after he killed two people and injured three others while wearing a fake suicide vest.
Scotland Yard, as well as the London Ambulance Service, confirmed at least three people were injured in the attack and have been taken to the hospital – with one in a life-threatening condition.
The suspect was known to police and the rampage was Islamic-related, Sky News reports.
Officers raced to the scene outside a supermarket on High Road in Streatham at around 2 pm today following reports of gunfire.
Photos from the scene show a lifeless body face down on the pavement with what has been described as ‘silver canisters’ strapped to his chest with a large knife is lying beside him.
In one video, police toting machine guns and masked undercover officers are seen approaching the suspect’s body before rapidly moving away from the area.
Scotland Yard said the broad-daylight carnage was a terror-related incident around an hour after first reports from the scene. The area remains on emergency police shutdown.
Witness David Chawner said: ‘I was going to the cinema. I saw what I thought was just shoplifting. I saw someone run down the street, bump into someone and then they fell to the ground, got up again, and then somebody shouted and then I heard what I thought was a car backfiring.
‘I didn’t assume it was a gunshot until I saw what later turned out to be two officers pointing guns at an assailant on the road.’
He added: ‘And because I was going to the cinema I always carry a blanket with me. It’s a stupid thing but I always get really cold in the cinema. So I took that out my bag and gave it to them to compress the wound.’
The Metropolitan Police tweeted: ‘Three people are known to have been injured in the £Streatham attack earlier this afternoon. One person is at the hospital in a life-threatening condition. We are in the process of informing their family.
‘A second victim was treated for minor injuries at the scene before being taken to hospital.
‘A third victim has been taken to the hospital – their condition is not life-threatening.’
London Ambulance Service Strategic Commander Graham Norton said: ‘We were called at 1.58 pm today to reports of an incident in Streatham High Road.
‘We are working closely with the other emergency services and are treating a number of patients at the scene.
‘We will provide more details as soon as they are available.’
One officer was filmed telling pedestrians that the suspect was wearing a possible suicide vest before directing them away from the scene.
Just minutes after the attack in London, Belgian police also shot a ‘knifeman’ who is thought to have stabbed two people on a busy high street in Ghent.
The suspect was reportedly injured by officers in Ghent during the incident on Bevrijdingslaan, according to HLN.
Pictures show a man pinned to the ground by police on the busy road as witnesses watch in horror.
Student Rafe Askem was walking along the High Road when he heard a man shouting ‘ahh’ and then saw the victim bleeding.
The 21-year-old said he saw two boys pushing a man against some shutters and heard a shout before looking over to see blood on the floor.
The student, from Streatham in south London, said: ‘I saw somebody getting stabbed. It all happened very quickly.
‘Then I just heard shouting and I saw people running. I saw him bleeding out.
‘He didn’t say anything. All I heard was him shouting out ‘ahh’.’
A 19-year-old student from Streatham claimed to have witnessed the shooting on Streatham High Road in front of a Boots store.
He said: ‘I was crossing the road when I saw a man with a machete and silver canisters on his chest being chased by what I assume was an undercover police officer – as they were in civilian clothing.
‘The man was then shot. I think I heard three gunshots but I can’t quite remember.
‘After that, I ran into the library to get to safety.
‘From the library, I saw a load of ambulances and armed police officers arrive on the scene.’
He said people began running into nearby stores after the incident.
‘We were all informed to stay in buildings by armed police until we were evacuated,’ he said.
Dozens of emergency vehicles lined the area and an air ambulance landed on Tooting Bec Common a few hundred yards from the scene of the shooting.
London Ambulance Service said at the time: ‘We have a number of resources attending an incident in Streatham High Road.’
A large section of the A23 remains sealed off to traffic as buses continue to be diverted.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has since tweeted about the attack.
He said: ‘Thank you to all emergency services responding to the incident in Streatham, which the police have now declared as terrorism-related.
‘My thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.’
Thank you to all emergency services responding to the incident in Streatham, which the police have now declared as terrorism-related. My thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 2, 2020
He is expected to return from Chequers to Downing Street this evening to respond to the attack.