London bridge attackers tried to get a larger truck: Cops

The Times

After his payment was declined, Butt and his two accomplices rented a smaller van that they used to plough into crowds before they leapt from the vehicle and went on a stabbing rampage in an attack that left eight people dead and almost 50 people injured.

London, The terrorists involved in the London Bridge attack that killed eight, had tried to hire a seven-and-a-half tonne lorry to carry out the brutality, police said.

Police said the three men - Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba - had driven up and down London Bridge twice before carrying out the attack, in what appears to have been a dry run.

They include donating to the trader support fund, visiting other markets across the capital where some traders also have stalls, buying goods from their websites and supporting the Red Cross Saturday Night for London campaign.

Also in the van were 13 Molotov cocktails and two blow torches to ignite them - which could also fit the siege theory.

Vaseem Ahmed, chairman of Redbridge Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND), was shocked by the London Bridge attack and what he found particularly shocking was that young people in the borough were being targeted. Local police revealed that the three had loaded the van with sacks of gravel, in all likelihood to increase the van's weight so that they could use it as a "battering ram" against the pedestrians. "But certainly there is a move this weekend that people should be out and about to show that we're not going to be deterred by acts of terrorism however nasty or risky they are".

At about 1730 GMT, the men drove to pick up the van before heading to Zaghba's home in east London.

Eighteen people have been arrested in connection with last week's attack.

"My officers are particularly keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the white van targeting individuals on London Bridge, saw the suspects attacking members of the public or saw armed police engaging the suspects", he said.

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Police said the weapons were possibly chosen to prevent them being picked up by metal detectors.

"When I come back to Butt trying to get hold of a 7.5-tonne lorry - the effect could have been even worse", Commander Haydon said.

"I do anticipate that when we take a long hard look at how we are dealing with the spread of work that the Metropolitan Police has and this changing terrorist threat, we will be asking for more resources in the future".

2017 has seen an unprecedented 34 people die, and 218 people injured in three separate attacks by Islamist extremists on British soil.

The men were also wearing hoax suicide belts consisting of plastic water bottles wrapped in grey duct tape.

"We also need to watch out for those who may be inspired by these recent attacks", said Haydon. "There is a possibility that they could have come back", Haydon said.

The kitchen knives are branded Ernesto, police said.

The question remains how the men met and knew one another but police said Saturday they did not suspect a wider plot.

Inspector Jim Cole, 41 based at nearby Peckham police station, said he and his team managed to move about 200 people to the safety of a pub cellar near Borough Market.