Police in Britain spoke on Monday of a “new reality” after ISIS claimed a deadly attack in London, keeping the country’s terror threat level at “severe.”
Saturday night’s rampage by three knife-wielding assailants, who rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby, was the third deadly terror attack in Britain in less than three months and came only days before a general election.
The men killed seven people and injured 48 others before being shot dead by officers.
“A number of people have been detained,” police said in a statement after two early morning raids in east London.
“A very high priority for us is to try to understand whether they were working with anybody else,” London police chief Cressida Dick told BBC television.
Dick said police had seized “a huge amount of forensic material” after going through the van used in the attack “very very carefully”.
“We will change and adapt to what appears to be a new reality for us,” she said.
Following the raids, lone local resident tweeted: “It woke me up along with the whole street. Extremely loud bangs followed by gunshot bangs. All ok – very shaken residents nearby though.”
Commuters and cyclists returned on Monday morning to the scene of the attacks after some security cordons were removed.
May described the assault as an attack on the free world.
Additional security measures have been put in place, including at several bridges in central London, she said.
“JTAC, the independent joint terrorism analysis centre, have confirmed that the national threat level remains at severe, that means that a terrorist attack is highly likely,” she told BBC television after a meeting of the government’s emergency committee.
“It is now clear that, sadly, victims came from a number of nationalities. This was an attack on London and the United Kingdom, but it was also an attack on the free world.”
“A detachment of fighters from ISIS carried out London attacks,” said on Sunday the Amaq news agency, which is affiliated with the jihadists.
The PM said the attack was driven by the same “evil ideology” behind the May 22 Manchester suicide bombing that left 22 people dead, and the Westminster attack in March, which killed five.