Sunday, June 4, 2017

Another Tough Night For Europe

Another terrorist attack, this time in London itself as a van plowed through pedestrians on London Bridge before the people in the vehicle exited to take knives to bystanders and patrons.

The death toll rose to seven Sunday, following the latest terrorist attack to strike Britain, with Prime Minister Theresa May blaming the “evil ideology of Islamist extremism” and vowing to conduct a review of the nation’s counterterrorism laws.

London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed that seven people were killed in Saturday night’s incident that saw a van mow down pedestrians on London Bridge before the vehicle’s occupants got out and started stabbing patrons of nearby bars and restaurants. That toll does not include the three attackers, who were fatally shot by officers within eight minutes of the first emergency call, Dick said.

London Ambulance Service earlier said it had taken “at least 48 patients to five hospitals across London.”

As doctors and nurses tended to the wounded, police carried out raids in the east London neighborhood of Barking in a signal that authorities are probing at least the possibility that others may have been involved in the attack’s planning. A dozen people were arrested, police said.

The low-tech but high-profile attack will raise questions about how British security services failed to stop yet another mass-casualty strike after years of thwarting such attempts. May, who is running for another term in this week’s general election, said the nation needs to step up its fight against radical ideologies in response, asserting that there is “far too much tolerance for extremism in our country.”

“Things need to change,” May said Sunday, speaking outside of the prime minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street

The recent spate of terrorist attacks — Saturday’s was Britain’s third in as many months — were not connected, May said. But she described it as “a new trend” in which terrorists are “copying one another and often using the crudest means of attack.”

May had returned from the campaign trail to 10 Downing Street late Saturday for emergency meetings with security officials. On Sunday morning, all the major parties, including May’s Conservatives, suspended campaigning ahead of an election due on Thursday.

The outcome of Thursday's UK general elections is at this point anyone's guess.  Polls are showing that the voters are not happy with the Tories, who promised safety and security along with Brexit, a disengagement from the EU that would protect Britain from the chaos in Europe.

Needless to say that has not happened.  Whether or not Jeremy Corbyn and Labour are ready, well who knows.  The Tory lead has dropped from 18 points in mid-April when May called for the elections to less than six now, and closing fast.

Things could get very dicey from this point on in the UK.  If May loses, what happens to Brexit negotiations?   We'll see shortly.

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