tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN June 3, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
i've been watching forever since that trip there is what is the british press saying about this incident. because british officials at the time were telling me that they've been in conversation with the media saying don't jump to the conclusion that it was a terrorist attack, essentially because you don't want to give the terrorists credit for something before you know it was actually linked to some violent mill tanltd. i have just seen on the bbc's feed one of their top security advisors saying terrorism suspected. i think it won't be long before we hear from metropolitan police more details to back this one. one of the big problems there is just the sheer numbers. they've got something like 850 people who have gone to syria and iraq, believed to have fought for isis and have returned. they also have the problem of communities that are more isolated from the mainstream who are not well assimilated, who
have been populations for militants to find and recruit followers and we know that both isis and al qaeda have told their followers, as they're getting squeezed in raqqah, isis is getting squeezed in longa and mosul. they've told their people to stay where you are and do as much damage as you can. this happening on the saturday evening at a landmark in london just as people are leaving bars, going across a tourist spot at night is a perfect target. >> all right. kim dozier, tom fa went easy, stand by. we're rolling into the top of the hour now. >> we are following breaking news out of london. reports that the vehicle has run down pedestrians on london bridge. the people have been stabbed at
a nearby market and now we're learning of a possible third incident. here's what we know right now. one eyewitness skriegs a van traveling at a high speed swerving and hitting several people, tossing one person some 20 feet in the air. the witness said it appeared as though the van was purpose fful aiming for pedestrians and that people were laying on the ground not moving. about five or ten minutes the witness says he heard gunfire come from borough market. eyewitnesss report people have been stabbed at that market. the pictures, images, people huddling in one of the restaurants there. a witness at borough market says a man ran into a restaurant with a large knife. stabbed at least two people including one waitress who was stabbed in the neck, we're told. now officials say they're responding to an incident about
two and a half miles southwest of london bridge, vauxhall. we're bringing you live picks of this scene. we're working to bring you every new detail. we have a team of reporters live on the ground in london now. let's begin with fred playkin at london bridge. i understand you just spoke with an eyewitness. >> reporter: yeah. just a couple of minutes ago i spoke to an eyewitness who doesn't want to go on camera. he says that the first thing he saw was he saw this van apparently plowing through several people on london bridge or close to london bridge, about i would say 80 yards from my position where i am right now. then he said what happened was that the van at some point stopped and then at some point he heard gun shots that were fired. he described the panic that ensued afterwards with many, many people running away from
the scene. apparently there were a lot of people here out on a saturday night who immediately ran as fast as they could when the shots were fired. he said it wasn't just a couple of shots fired. he said it was a lot of shots fired that he could hear. possibly that was that incident at borough market. we're not clear what that was. just the sheer panic of the people when this incident took place and especially with the gun shots were being fired. ana, i've been standing here for a while now reporting from the scene and in still is a lot of police activity going on here. there's a lot of heavily armed police on the scene, still continuously pouring into that area. they've cordons off a lot of it, stopped traffic and gotten people to volcano tevacuate the. police officers still moving in. from the distance we're getting
is that this could still very well be an incident taking place. at this point in time london police giving all the information they can. it's unclear whether or not it's terror reletted. but i can tell you from where i am and how shaken the civilians are that people are taking this very, very seriously and the authorities are as well, ana. >> you talked about the gufr. do we know -- gunfire. do we know if that gunfire came from police or somebody else? >> well, you know what. it's unclear where that gunfire came from. certainly the eyewitness we spoke to didn't know where it came from. when i came here on the scene a little later there were some pretty loud bangs. unclear whether those were gran aids or stun guns, it couldn't be told. you don't have many guns in the
hands of civilians here in london. there isn't much in the way of gun violence in the united kingdom. so potentially those shovts lvb fired most likely taking place. that is unchlorobut certainly more likely that it would have been the authorities that fired those shots. again it seems to have been a lot of shots that were fired. also pointing to the fact that this was a pretty big incident and one that unfolded quickly with the police having to react and make split decisions. >> thank you. clarissa ward is at our london bureau. what are you learning? >> reporter: we're trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. we don't know yet how muchhow many casualties there were. secondly we don't know yet
whether these three incidents -- and i should emphasize that the third incidents at vauxhall, we know virtually nothing about at this stage. but they want to find out whether there's some kind of coordination potentially between these three attacks. they'll be trying to ascertain, of course, whether terrorism may have been the motivation behind them. it's important for viewers to remember that at this time a week ago right on the heels of the manchester ariana grande attack, the brits elevated the terrorist threat level to critical. that's the highest they had ever been at in a decade. they put it back down to severe, they decided. that's still very high. now we're seeing what potentially may be a terrorist attack although i would stress that it's way too early to stay that di siesively. this coming days before the
british go to the polls in a general election. a lot of tension and a lot of confusion. but just on the surface, looking at what we're seeing, the use of a car r o a van as a blunts instrument, this is one of the hall marx of other attacks we've seen. we've seen a car or a van being used by an attacker who struck people in westminster. we saw it used in nice, in france. we have seen stabbings. as you heard fred say, armed guns are not common in the uk. they're mainly in the hands of police as opposed to 1i68 yangs. so you don't see a lot of gun violence which is why we've heard in the past leaders from groups like isis telling people to use whatever they can improvise, whether it's a knife, a rock, a car. so on some level we're seeing
some of the hall marx with this attack but we're waiting to hear a lot more information from authorities as they try to connect the dots, work out whether these were connected, whether there is a terror cell behind it. still too early to say. >> clarissa, let me read the london police tweets. this is what we have on the record from official sources investigated right now. this began around 10: 08 local time on london brings. a vehicle in collision with pedestrians on the bridge. officers have responded to reports of stabbings in borough market. shots have been fired. then just a short time ago they tweeted officers are now responding to an incident in the vauxhall area. you mentioned all three areas -- the vauxhall area is a couple of miles from here. so there is some separation there. give us a sense of what would be
happening in these areas on a typical saturday night. >> well, i would say vauxhall doesn't fit the picture too much. it's in the south of london. it wouldn't necessarily be a hive of activity on a saturday night. we don't know what's happened this. p london bridge and borough market are thriving and booming on a saturday night. this is east london. east london is considered to be very much the kind of epicenter of cool and hip and young and there are a lot of bars, a lot of restaurants, a lot of people going out on a saturday night particularly in borough market, which is really -- has a very kind ofbianceambiance. in george bush, the place will be packed at that time. people finishing their dinners, hitting the bars, thinking about going clubbing.
these are very popular areas and particularly popular, i would say, with young people. so make no mistake about it, this london bridge and borough market will have been buzzing with activity and that's precisely why, if they were targeted, that's why they would have been targeted. but as i said before, we're still trying to put together a picture here of whether this was coordinated, whether these were targetsed attacks and most importantly we still don't know from the police how many people have been hurt or injured or killed as a result of them. >> we heard from that one eyewitness earlier who was on the bridge at the time that this van came flying through, described driving at a high rate of speed, appeared to be targeting pedestrians specifically and he said he witnessed at least five or six people on the ground following that van coming through the area and at least one person flying into the area.
joining us is tom fuentes. tom, when we hear about these areas specifically, does it make sense that these areas would be targets? >> why, certainly. the bridge itself would be an enormous target. it's iconic. it's named after the city, london. everybody would know about that bridge around the worrell, so that would internal a key reason for that. i think what's important now is the police took the witnesses away by bus to a hotel to be interviewed and what i'd like to hear is did any of the witnesses actually see the occupants of the vehicle get out and run away when the vehicle stopped. all of the witnesses so far that we were able to get hold of before they were taken away by the bliss said the vehicle went by and they saw people flying in the air and deliberately run down on the sidewalk but they didn't see what happens afterst vehicle went down street, for sure. in other words, were the
occupants of the vehicle able to get out, run away and they were the people that engaged at the black market the shots were fired and the stabbings allegedly occurred. and the third location, we don't know what the basis was for the police responding to that location. did someone done in that they saw someone suspicious running down the street and that's what led to that call? there's all these facts that we still don't know that are all three incidents actually interrelated, do we have the same people causing all three incidents? >> here with me, james gal anno. given that this is an incident on a bridge -- we were talking earlier about the fact that this is a soft target. how do you protect people in that scenario? >> well, what's going on right now is we're dealing with the going of war. the fog of war, whether it's in military combat or in dealing with the aftermath of an attack
like this. i listened to paul cruikshank, cnn's terrorism expert and he's rights. we in law enforcement have to make sure not to jump to conclusions. however, in incidents like this, as this one seemingly has played out, the model resembles one of recent vintage. in the united states in the washington world we look at things on a day-to-day basis, week-to-week, month-to-month. the radical jihadists look at things as a generational fight. this is a generational battle for them. we have to understand that they're very, very smart and they see where we're starting to put up our barriers. it's hard to take over an aircraft now. the cockpit doors are now enforced. there are air mar shalshals lch every flight. so what do they do?
just like water, they take the path of least resistance. the average week weighs 4,000 pounds. you have it going 30 or 40 miles per hour and what do you have? a missile. that's what they're going to do if they can't blow up a stadium or a concert hall, if they can't get inside the airport where the planes are, what do they do? they detonate devices just coming into the baggage area. >> how do you protect from that? >> it's taken us in law enforcement a number of years to figure out, we can no longer be reactive. we have to be proactive. we can't sit on our laurels. the united states military's been criticize for decades because they always want to fight the last war. in law enforcement we can't do the same thing. we can't look at the successful
that wartding of a terrorist attack and say, oh, good, we were able to stop it. where someone tried to put something on a fedex plane and we intercepted it. the only thing that basically disassembles these terror cells are getting a cooper inside them. can't just kill the terrorists. you have to stop the ideology. that's at a level far beyond what we're talking ability here. we're dealing with tactics. we have to think about this from a strategic standpoint. >> kimberly dozier is with us. kim, you have worked really hard to try to understand that broader threat and you've been in touch with folks there in the intelligence community who are trying to combat isis and other terrorist groups, not just in the middle east but you talked to us a little earlier about those who have left and come
back, how big of a concern is that for those in england right now? >> well, when you think about the fact that the estimate is around 850 people and as your law enforcement analysts have explained to me, takes up to 30 people to follow just one suspect round the clock. that's a lot of people to keep an eye on if you really think they might be inclined towards terrorism. right now i've been reaching out to both british and u.s. officials. from one british official i got, we have zero information right now, trying to find out more. that's how early in this investigation this is. and from u.s. officials i've mostly gotten we are deferring to local authorities but the state department official did tell me that u.s. citizens should keep an eye out, watch the state department site and right now they're in a mode of wait, see, gather information.
>> wait and see and gather information. tom fuentes. when we're hearing our three separate locations that police are responding to right now, what does that tell you? >> well, it tells me that if the people that were in the vehicle escaped out of the vehicle, ran into the market, got involved stabbing people at the market and possibly in some type of shootout with the police and then the police at least an honed one, then you have the possibility that other subjects that were with that one subject fled and went to the other area, so -- but the third area we just don't know. that could be just someone looking out their window and seeing a suspicious person running down the street. it might not be tied to the first two incidents at all. we just don't know yet. >> let me get to fred pikin. you have new information, fred? >> yeah. we just had the whole police
cordon moved back. you can tell we're further away from the -- where the incident happened. it was interesting to see because we were standing at theening of the korldon and all of a sudden police started evacuating more people from that area. many were actually coming out with hands on heads, trying to make sure that the police see that they're safe that they're not people who might actually be the perpetrators themselves. o people walking out with hands on heads. the police very, very edgy as that was going on. the whole cordon has been moved back about 50 yards, the police very loud and vocal moving people out of here. i talked to another eyewitness here -- the people to make way for a police car i think that's coming through here right now. he's speeding. i was able to speak to another
eyewitness on that and she told me that she works at a restaurant, sort of an outdoor food place. she said all of a sudden -- it's in the borough market where apparently this stabbing incident took place. she could hear people running away saying someone's been stabbed, someone's been stabbed. very, very scared as wet as they were running away. also the same reports, people saying someone's been stabbed and hearing those gunshots a little while later. obviously saying that folks there troubled by what they've witnessed. the person i was speaking to herself seemed to be shaking from that incident. >> ok. i want to bring up a tweet we just got from the president of the united states, donald trump. he just sent out this tweet. we need to be smart, vigilant and tough. we need the courts to give us back our rights. we need the travel ban as an
extra level of safety. james gal anno what's your reaction from what we just heard from the president? >> sure. as the president he has to be cautious here because as paul cruikshank pointed out, cnn's terrorism expert, this looks to be an isis-inspierpd event. that's what the it looktsz likes but from a law enforcement perspective, we have to handle all leads and check everything out before making that determination. the fact that you had three separate kins dents now, one within close proximity of the other but the third being further away indicating that people probably didn't go bail out the window. it appeared that it might have been a cell. i don't think it's the appropriate time to bring politics in. i know that's what politicians do because using an event like this to put your political ideology out is what politicians on both sides like to do. from my perspective on trp law enforcement end, tactcally we've got to find the people doing
this and neutralize them immediately and we've got to carefully piece this back together, find as many witnesses as possible and find anybody else that was associated with it. the common thing that's going to happen here, britain's going to raise their threat level. that's always what happens in the aftermath. what do the bad guys, the terrorists do? they wait an appropriate amount of time, a week, two weeks, three weeks, when we in the western world go back in a kpla santa sense. this is the new normal. if you don't have your head on a swivel and are constantly aware of your surroundings, this is what we have to look forward to. the definition of terrorism is violence or intimidation or the threat of same in the pursuit of political or ideological goals. that's what they're doing. they are trying to change our way of life. are they an existential threat? yes to a degree but more
importantly they want to change the way we live and that's what these kind of attacks do. >> brad meyers on the phone, i understand you were below the london bridge as this incident unfolded. what did you see? >> yes, i was. actually, i was on the london bridge a few moments before it happened, taking pictures of the tower bridge just to the east. i decided to walk down and go along the river walk a bit. about two minutes later i heard a boom behind me, turned around. i saw a white truck going along the side of the guardrail. the boom was the truck hitting the guardrail. i watched it continue through the group of pedestrians i was just with a few minutes prior and continue along. i heard a couple more booms as well. probably hitting the guardrail again or hitting other vehicles,
possibly a bike as well. i immediately turned around, went back up the stairs, saw stefrl people on the ground. also as it was happening i watched a person jump off the bridge into the water about halfway down the bridge in order to escape the vehicle. >> oh, my gosh, what was going through your mind when you were watching this? >> just shock. i immediately thought of the attack in nice. it's a very similar situation. >> you said you saw somebody jump off the bridge into the water. did you see what happened next? >> yes. i did not see them coming up, but they were between two pylons, so it is possible they were able to swim to the pylon. it was relatively nice weather for london, the water wasn't choppy or anything, so if they were able to get up, it isn't all that high, so hopefully they were able to be ok.
>> you described hearing a boom and then you looked up and you saw -- you just said it was a truck that hit several people. first, did you see -- >> yes. >> exactly how many people were in that area at the time, how many people may have been hit by this vehicle and where did that vehicle go, end up? >> it is difficult to say from my vantage point exactly how many people were on the bridge. when i was up there, it appeared about 20 to 25 in my vicinity on that side of the bridge when i left. having walked down, i can't say for sure how many people were on there. but that's basically it. >> did you see where that vehicle ended up? >> i did not see where it ended up. i did see it continue down at least three quarters of the way on the bridge, so seems to me it was either blocked by something
at the end of the bridge. i did not see where it ended up. >> ok. and then you saw this vehicle go through this group of people and you said you actually went toward the bridge during that time? and that was just to see what was going on? >> yes. yes. that was back towards the staircase just to see -- you know, is there anything i could do to help or anything that we can do to get assistance. the police did come within probably two to three minutes, so it was very, very quick response time. it is a highly trafficked area of london so i assume the police would be close bi. there's a metro station close by as well. >> we're looking at another tweet by the president of the united states saying whatever the united states can do to help out in london and the uk, we'll
be there. god bless you. we don't know exactly what is unfolding right now. we know that the metropolitan police is responding to three separate incidents. the first happening a little after 10:00 local time, about an hour and a half ago. it was on the london bridge. at least a handful of people according to eyewitnesss were hit by a van that came at a high rate of speed. someone described it as going back and forth and plowing into pedestrians on the bridge, sending some people into the air. their feet off the ground. others who were lying on the ground as the vehicle continued. we also hear police responded to borough market not far away where there was a stabbing incident. an eyewitness inside the restaurant say they saw a woman
get stabbed in the neck and a man stabbed in the back. police confirming that there's a third incident that they've been responding to at vauxhall, a couple of miles away. we know our nic robertson were on scene when police came rushing through his area near london bridge and they appeared to surround an individual who was there. nic, walk us through what the latest is at the scene where you're at. ok. nic, we're having a hard time with your audio. we'll let you try and get that sorted. we didn't hear what you were saying. nic was describing earlier for us people he described as riot
police who came rushing through that area. he saw armed police, which was an unusual scene. they were yelling and they surrounded a person who he said appeared to be under arrest. again, unknown if that individual's connected specifically to these three separate incidents that police say they've been responding to. but there is a very heightened alert right now in london as they're trying to determine, james gal anno, exactly what is unfolding. >> sure. and i can say this. when it comes to the harvesting of the evidence, any of the forensic collection, the one tiny silver lining in this in these three separate scenes, there wasn't a bomb deployed. what a bomb does when it blows up, it disintegrates a lot of the evidence. we're very, very good. our post blast folks can look at a crater and determine something
smaller than a human hair that ties a particular technique to a bomb maker. in this instance you have the missile, the 4,000-pound-plus vehicle that went careening into the crowd. you're going to have dna, fingerprints. there are going to be things that the evidence response teams in london as well as the folks dispatched from the united states. i guarantee you now people are loading up a plane at andrews air force base in maryland and they are aheaded overseas to assist in this. that is the good news. they have seems like a plethora of dprenzic evidence to pick up. still going to be difficult. three different crime scenes, tying them together, making sure that some shop owner that has a camera that tapes over it in the next 24 hours. there's a lot of things they're
doing to do. >> ko there still be somebody out there. we know there were gunshots fired. we heard from clarissa and fred, people aren't walking around with guns in this area. americans in london should let their loved ones know they are ok. we want to make sure that that information gets out there as the situation is unfolding. a chaotic scene unfolded at a bar near london bridge. a witness captured video of multiple police officers yelling for people to get down on the floor. let's listen for just a moment. [ shout iing ]
>> you see that bar had a lot of people inside. police were looking for a couple of people who maifblg connected to a stabbing incident is our understanding when this video was taken. cnn international diplomat editor nic robertson is joining us from this scene near london bridge. nic, i understand people were being evacuated around you? >> people were being evacuated around us. the police were moving rapidly. armed police were moving into the area. we were told to move back because there were armed officers in the area. because police have gone static indicates they have decided the limit that they want to cordon off. we have seen officers on this street here detain a couple of young men. perhaps they were drunk or abusive to the officers. they gave them a thorough
pat-down to be sure they didn't have weapons on them. then let them go. the space here right now, on the street corner you can see two armed officers. they have facemasks and bulletproof vests, automatic weapons. they seem to be standing -- casually is the wrong word -- but they're standing patiently, if you will, on that corner. they don't believe there's an immediate threat in this area. but the police are staging vehicles just around the corner. this is a massive area as best i can tell from this vantage point that's been cordoned off. a mile to mile and a half from the borough market. we've seen in the last minute or so an ambulance leaving that area with lights flashing. the picture that is emerging at the moment as best we can tell is that an area perhaps
circumference of about a mile all around borough market and london bridge, we're on the south side of the river here, has been cordoned offer and police seem to be in some sections, going through and checking people. but at this moment, this location wore in, compared to when we were talking earlier where the activity was absolutely frenetic, this has sort of settled down. you've been trying to go to your highways around the corner? >> yeah. >> what's the situation for you? can you get to your house? [ speaking foreign language ] >> the road's blocked. >> you can see for soms residents in this area they aren't even able to get back to the houses. that gives you an indication of the police cordon. the scale of the operation. this is an area where there would be tens of thousands of
people living. though it's a business district, it is relatively densely populated. a lot of people we've seen here coming to speak to the police and get into their houses. he and others are not able to get to their houses at this time. >> let me read you something that the metropolitan police just tweeted out. they're instructing people to run, hide, and tell. this tweet says you must first run to a place of safety. this is a better option than to surrender or negotiate. if there's nowhere to go, hide. turn your phone to site and turn off vibe rate. barricade yourself if you can and tell the police by 999 whether it's safe to do so. having that tweet just come out, does that tell you that this is an ongoing situation and police don't know what they're dealing with yet? >> absolutely.
and watching the video you just announced and watching how the london police were handling that. when you're in an hostage rescue realm, what you're looking for in a situation like this, a kinetic situation is noncompliance. you're telling everybody get down get down get down get down. the person that's not complying is going to immediately get your attention. the difference in between the wra we handle things in the u.s. in the realm of mass shootings and terrorist incidents, we always instruct folks in the united states -- it's a little p different from what they're putting out in london. we tell folks run, hide, and last resort fight. you want them to get as far away from the situation as possible for their own safety. if they can't do that, hide. like in some of the school shootings,,000 ends up being more casualties and the last thing we want them to do is con front the attacker. the london police hit it.
you see something, you say something. even if you think it has nothing to do with the situation in and of itself, that one piece could be critical in solving the puzzle. >> we now know the u.k. prime minister theresa may has been informed of these activities. she is in route to downing street and being briefed as they're coming in. i want to bring in cnn national security analyst peter bergen. peter, we're looking at video. this is just a short time ago. people with their hands on their head walking by police officers. again, three separate situations that london police are responding to right now. one on london bridge, one in the borough market where there was a stabbing and a separate incident happening in vauxhall. what's your assessment of what's going on right now? >> first of all, multiple incidents doesn't suggest random
acts of violence. it suggests a coordinated terrorist attack. it also suggests a conspiracy involving multiple people. the fact that theresa may is summon a cobra meeting. this is essentially the top national security b officials of the united kingdom getting together to discuss what's going on. i would add for that that isis called for attacks in the west during the month of ramadan that we're now into. we don't know who's behind these attacks but this doesn't appear to be random acts of violence. they selected london bridge, one of the most iconic markets the world for the first attack and moved to borough market and vauxhall for other attacks. so taken all together certainly stl british reaction is that
this is being treated as a terrorist threat. otherwise they wouldn't have summoned the cobra meeting. of course we've seen these vehicle attacks many times in the west of late, including, by the way, in the united states. many viewers will recall the nice attack where 80-plus people were killed, in the berlin attack where a dozen people were killed. there was also a similar attack at ohio state university where nobody was killed but quite a number of people were injured. in that attack there was an attempt to not only use vehicles as weapons but also the perpetrator actually tried to stab a number of people and unfortunately injured at least nine people. so we still -- it's a fluid situation but given isis attacks and ramadan, given the cobra meeting that's being summoned, looking at the mow dus on randa of these people, its looks like
an isis inspired attack. >> police are very careful about the information they're releasing at this point. they're not calling this a terrorist attack but you and other law enforcement analysts say it has the markings of a terrorist attack potentially. isis involved here. in terms of the timing it says ramadan, we also know that it's the day before what was going to be a benefit concert? manchester following the attack that happened there less than two weeks ago in which that bomb explosion that took place right after the ariana grande concert. these will different areas. these are such soft security areas. they're soft characters is what we keep on hearing. this is obviously something that law enforcement is trying to get a handle on in terms of preventing soft targets from being vehicles or being
potential vuler in abilities. if you try to reinforce every soft target in the wrest, essentially you'd be turning every kind of road, every tourist attraction, every concert into essentially a highly policed airport security kind of place. and we don't have the resources for that nor do i think we have the inclination for that. we don't want to turn our major western cities into a no-go area where it's impossible to travel. isis has been calling for these kinds of attacks using vehicles and stabbings for some period of time. even if you go back to al qaeda back in 2014 or earlier, al qaeda itself in yemen was calling for people using vehicles as weapons. this idea has been percolating in the jihadist terrorism
community for a long time and to be honest there's not a hell of a lot you can do about it. for instance, every airport, you extended the perimeter outside an airport much further and you search people more carefully. in a way you really wouldn't be solving a problem. you'd be creating a big bottle neck that would be suitable for a bomb to go off and kill a lot of people. if you extend the perimeter, yes, its looks like you're helping but in some ways it seems show you're just moving the problem backward. you can increase security, you can increase -- make the perimeters further out but at the end of the day you haven't really solved the problem. if you're getting large numbers of people anywhere, uftsly, that's going to be an attractive target for terrorists. >> stand by with us, peter bergen. i want to bring in lisa monaco joining us on did phone. lisa, first i want to share with you that we've heard from prime
minister teresa may saying they are treating this as a potential act of terror. we are putting up some of the tweets we're seeing from president trump. the first reads "we need to be smart rirge lent and tough. we need the korgts to give us back ouring rights. we need the travel ban as an extra level of safety. that's his first tweet. he followed this with this. we need to be smart -- whatever the united states can do to help out in london and the uk, we will there will. we are with you. god bless. we understand the president of the united statess has been briefed. as we're putting the different puzzle pieces together as law enforcement on the ground are doing as well, lisa, what's your read? >> well, look, this is not at all surprised that -- i understand the reporting is that prime minister may is en route to 10 downing street and will convene the cobra meeting tomorrow for your viewers to
understand, the cobra stands for cabinet office briefing room. that is the equivalent of the white house situation room in the uk system. that's where the national security officials meet. i imagine what is going on right now is various elements of the uk and law enforcement system are looking at all their data holdings. they are probably talking to their-counter parts throughout europe as well as here in the united states. i'm sure the fbi is already offering assistance both in the uk, in london with their substantial presence that they have in our embassy there, as well as back here in the united states. so there is going to be a whole lot of work going on. it's just after midnight, about 12: 30 in london now there's going to be work through the night to understand what we're dealing with, what are the london officials dealing with. are these related attacks in these three locations that have been reported?
are these acts of inspired violence? are they related at all to the manchester bombing? i think it's very important for people to understand this is very early and the initial reports are always going to be confused. but i agree with what peter bergen said earlier, that when you have -- if these are indeed three different discrete acts of are terror violence in london that has the hall marx of a coordinated attack as we saw in paris and in brussels and perhaps not the work of a lone individual. >> we've just learned also from the met police, marine policing unit now assisting with the london bridge incident. let me read this. the london metropolitan police marine police unit is assisting with the incident at london bridge. this is coming from the twitter account marine 2 and marine 3
are part of the response to the london bridge incident working with lirni. the first part of the uk life boat service. what does that dell you, lisa? >> well, what we know is after the manchester tragedy that elements of the uk military and national guard equivalent forces were put on alert and were reinforcing many of the areas in london. this is london bridge is an iconic location. it is not at all surprising to me that there would be additional mmts of potential uk military or what sounds like our coast guard give lentd working in that area along the tims to be a part of this response. >> clarissa ward is with us at our london bureau.
>> this is a major general election. brit onls will take to the polls to decide who will be the next prime minister. certainly on the heels of the manchester attack there had been a lot of concern about the security situation. we saw the government raise the terror threat level to critical. this was the first time in a decade that it had been raised to critical which is in fact the highest level that it can be raised to. they subsequently reverted it back to severe, although i should hasten to emphasize that severe is still, in fact, severe. on the one hand i think there was an almost grim realization that these types of attacks have been happening and will continue to happen, not just in the united kingdom but across europe. i think there was also have been huge efforts by british security services, intelligence services,
police to try to prevent these kinds of attacks. it was only in march that we saw a man who managed to kill five people in westminster, right in the beating heart of london byst houses of parliament and in strikingly similar ways in terms of also using a vehicle. you've heard all the various commentators, ana, you've had on the show this hour, really kind of latch on to the significance or importance of using a car or a van as a weapon, because this has been such a trope in the sort of jihadist on line communities whereby they've said, if you can't get hold of a gun, if you can't make a bomb, use a car, use a rock. use a knife. use whatever you can get your hands on. the other important factors in all of this that have you have mentioned is that it's ramadan. it's the muslim holty month. this is a time of year when isis
and groups like isis try to launch as many attacks as possible. why do they do that? they believe that by their twisted ideology that they can kill more people. they see it as an important p.r. move, an important piece of imaging, if you will. as the squeeze has been put on isis in iraq and syria, i think there's a real push from within the organization to launch more of these kinds of attacks which often require relatively little in terms of funding or in terms of having a large network to fa sill talt. but always create a feeling of terror, of horror an ok many casualties. at this stage i should hasten to add we don't yet know how many people have been killed or injured in this attack and we certainly don't know whether isis was responsible or whether it was even a terrorist attack. but as heard from peter bergen -- and i would have to
agree with him -- on a superficial level and looking at the various pieces of the puzzle, it does bear some of the hallmarks, if not many of the hallmarks the low-grade attacks that we have seen. three separate incidents, whether this is a coordinated attack, whether the incident much further south or a couple miles further south than london bridge and borough market, we still don't have any information on that attack yet. and whether, indeed, it is an attack. at this stage it's not clear if it's a coordinated attack, if it's a three-pronged attack, a two-pronged attack. these are all sorts of things authorities are trying to get to grips with, ana. >> more questions than answers right now. the prime minister teresa may following updates from police and security officials i can confirm that the terrible incident in it london is being
treated as a potential act of terrorism and she says this is a fast-moving investigation. i want to express my huge gratitude to the police and emergency services who are on the scene. our thoughts are with those who are caught up in these dreadful events. london's metropolitan police tweeting please continue to avoid london bridge, borough market, to allow emergency services to deal with the ongoing incident. clarissa, you are absolutely right. we have heard nothing in the way of numbers at this point in terms of potential victims in these different incidents that police are responding to but we do know from an eyewitness on the scene who we talked to earlier that there were at least a handful of people he saw who had been hit by the vehicle driving across london bridge. senior international correspondent fred pleitgen is at the scene. fred, i understand you are joined by an eyewitness as well. >> reporter: hi, ana.
i'm joined by neal tate. you were in the area here tonight. tell me what you saw. >> i guess the main thing i saw is two, maybe three guys being arrested, very heavy police presence. i found myself trapped in an alleyway trying to get to borough high street and found myself right in the middle of an arrest situation. it was like two guys -- i would have said did he haefinitely tw maybe three pushed up against the shop front. >> reporter: by police officers? >> by police, yeah. by what i could see they weren't armed police. they were in, like, riot gear. there was a lot of shouting and the guy it in his mid-20s, dressed in black, hoodies or sportswear, all black, and them being pushed up against a shop
front and police shouting to them. i didn't see any weapons or anything like that. >> reporter: and did the police lead these people away or take them somewhere else? what did you see? >> i guess at that point they were kind of immobilizing them in some way and they seemed to kind of take them off back up the high street so i guess they brought them out of whatever the scene or the situation, they brought them down, i guess, and detained them in some way. >> reporter: at this point in time you were aware that an incident was taking place here. where had you been before? >> i'd been at a friend's opening. i was just trying to walk around the back of -- there's a lot of tiny little streets there and the police were kind of moving people further down and i found myself in a place i certainly shouldn't have been because i found myself in the middle of an arrest scene and being shouted
at and stuff. at that point i had to move, get out. >> reporter: did you know an incident was taking place? you must have seen big police presence and people moving around quickly. >> well, exactly. the opening that i was at, some guy arrived -- he'd been cycling over london bridge and he was quite freaked out. he'd seen somebody being stabbed and couldn't -- was still trying to process that. he was in a bit of shock. and at that point i said, well, i'm going to try to get home before, well, yeah. >> reporter: when you got out on the street after you heard this, you decide d to go home. you feared it could still be going on, i guess. was there a lot of commotion on the street? twhafs going on? >> the police had cleared the area. there were a lot of people like a saturday night so people wandering around. some people in their party gear and stuff. trying to make sense.
people are being pushed down narrow streets and stuff trying to get around. lot of people checking their phones trying to find out what was going on. >> reporter: thank you very much. you can see, ana, a lot of people speaking to us and a lot of commotion here as well. the police going through here. you saw the police vehicle back there moving in and out. it seems as though this is very much an active scene here, very, very close to where that original incident with that van took place, ana. >> it is an ongoing situation right now. london's metropolitan police tweeting please continue to avoid london bridge and borough market to allow the emergency services to deal with these ongoing incidents. joining us now by the phone an uber driver who was picking up a passenger when this incident unfolded. what did you see? >> ana, at 10:10 i picked up a
passenger from the london station and the passenger moved, a lot of people coming towards me and went behind. and because i was starting to wonder about what actually happened because i saw a lot of people just looking at each other and when i turned right to go on the bridge i saw people wounded, serious injured, the girls between 30 to 40. i saw five casualties on the bridge. and at that time there's no police or any other rescue service, a local londoner because there are a lot of clubs and bars.
londoners trying to call rescue and trying to -- a bad incident today in london. 10:10 and 10:15 when the incident happened. >> okay, and we're just getting something important from police tweeting the incident at london bridge and borough market were declared as terrorist incidents so they are treating this as terrorist incidents. at this time they are still calling them ongoing situations as well. chezid, you described for us seeing some of the terror before your eyes as you were picking up a passenger near london bridge and just to confirm, you believe at least five or six people had been hit by the van on london
bridge? >> yes, yes, correct. what i saw on one side and at that time i had a passenger. i told my passenger, can you please help me to record the incident so we can help the police. she started to help me record the incident. i can see one on the side and looked like most of them are the women, young women. >> did you see where that vehicle ended up? >> no, no.
close to that junction, because when the people were so confused and running around and my front passenger thought maybe it was an anomaly but to me it looked like, no, more than that. on the left-hand side which i know right and when i saw right i saw the casualties. >> and just to understand, again, the spacial situation, the vehicle involved on london bridge heading to borough market, was it going in that direction?
>> i would imagine coming from the borough market. >> our thanks to you for joining us. stay safe. this is cnn breaking news. hello and welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm ana cabrera. >> and i'm john berman. police respond to go what they're calling terror incidents in london this hour including reports after vehicle plowing down pedestrians on london bridge and others being stabbed in a nearby market. >> a witness tells cnn he saw a van speeding and swerving down london bridge in what looked like an attack to purposefully hit people a. man said several people were hit and afterwards says bodies were on the ground not moving. one person jumped off london bridge in an attempt to get away from the bridge. now five or ten