LONDON â The police investigation of Londonâs latest terrorist attack intensified Monday as politicians officially resumed campaigning ahead of an unpredictable election that will be held in just three days.
Police carried out early morning raids in Newham and Barking â both in east London â that they said were connected to Saturday nightâs London Bridge attack, which killed seven people and injured dozens, including four police officers.Â Eighteen people remain in critical condition.
The assailants have not been named, but police say they know their identities. As of late Monday afternoon, 11 people were in custody.
Speaking on the BBC, Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick said the majority of recent attacks have had a âdomestic center of gravity,â although with some of them, there are âundoubtedly international dimensions.â
In an indication of the continuing threat, morning commuters on three major Thames River crossings found newly erected barriers Monday that separated roadwaysÂ from walkways. The structures appeared designed to thwart the sort of attack in which assailants use vehicles to swerve into pedestrians â a tactic that has been used twice in three months.
Christine Archibald, 30, a Canadian from the western province of British Columbia, was the first victim of the Saturday attack to be named. The 30-year-old had worked at a homeless shelter in Calgary before moving to Europe to live with her fiance.
âPlease honor her by making your community a better place. Volunteer your time and labor or donate to a homeless shelter. Tell them Chrissy sent you,â her family said in a statement.
At a news briefing from the area of the attack,Â London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was âfuriousâ that the attackers used Islam as justification for their actions.
âIâm angry and furious that these three men are seeking to justify their actions by using the faith that I belong to,â said Khan, Londonâs first Muslim mayor and the Westâs most prominent Muslim politician. âThe ideology they follow is perverse, and it is poisonous.âÂ
Later on Monday, President Trump escalated an attack on Khan that he began Sunday.Â Trump had chided the mayor for attempting to calm the public by assuring that there was âno need to be alarmed.â
Khanâs comments were in reference to an intensified police presence on London streets. But Trump incorrectly implied that they were a comment about the attack itself.
On Monday, Trump tweeted:Â âPathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his âno reason to be alarmedâ statement.â
Khanâs spokesman said the mayor was focused on the cityâs response to the attack and would not have any comment on Trump. On Sunday, the mayorâs office said KhanÂ âhas more important things to do than respond to Donald Trumpâs ill-informed tweet.â
Trumpâs tweets were widely mocked in Britain, where the overwhelming mood was one of unity against terrorism and praise for security services.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, accused the U.S. president of lacking both âgraceâ and âsense.âÂ
Prime Minister Theresa May, who has gone to great lengths to cultivate ties with Trump, defended Khan on Sunday while carefully avoiding any criticism of the U.S. president. Under repeated questioning from British journalists Monday, she said Khan wasÂ âdoing a good job, and itâs wrong to say anything else.â
On Sunday night, tens of thousands attended anÂ Ariana Grande benefit concert that was originally intended to honor the victims of last monthâs suicide bombing at the singerâs concert in Manchester but was expanded to recognize the victims in London.
Following the May 22 attack in Manchester, Saturday nightâs van-and-knife rampage was the second mass-casualty attack to intrude on the homestretch of a parliamentary campaign that was once thought certain to end in a landslide for May and the Conservatives. The race has tightened in recent weeks, and terrorism has introduced an unexpected variable.
Rival party leaders lashed out at one another Monday over whether more police officers or more police powers are needed to combat terrorism.
During a speech in central London, May repeatedly refused to say that she regretted cutting police numbers during her time as home secretary. Instead, she said the Conservative Party had given police and security services enhanced powers to fight terrorism.
âWeâve given increased powers to be able to deal with terrorists, powers that Jeremy Corbyn has boasted he has always opposed,â she said.
Corbyn shot back, telling ITV that âwe should never have cut the police numbers.âÂ
Asked whether he would support calls for May to resign over the police cuts, Corbyn said,Â âIndeed I would,â before amending his comments to suggest that Thursdayâs election isÂ âperhaps the best opportunity to deal with it.â
Khan, a member of the Labour Party, also took aim at Mayâs cuts, noting in an appearance at Borough Market that the Metropolitan Police had had its budget slashed by 600 million pounds â about $775 million â with more cuts planned.Â
The department, he noted, not only has to combat terrorism, it also has to prepare for major international events and high-profile visitors.Â âSome welcome, some less so,â Khan noted in a subtle dig at Trump, whoâs due in Britain for a state visit later this year.
Dick, the police chief, declined to be drawn into the debate, saying thatÂ âany police leader would always want more resourcesâ but not directly addressing calls for greater funding.
With her premiership on the line, May took an aggressive and combative tone Sunday, telling the nation that âenough is enoughâ and insisting that there is âfar too much tolerance for extremism in our country.â
âThings need to change,â she said in a speech outside the prime ministerâs residence at 10 Downing Street.
She blamed the attack on the âevil ideology of Islamist extremism,â called for a thorough review of the nationâs counterterrorism policies and suggested that she will take a much tougher line if she wins Thursdayâs vote.
Mayâs comments were welcomed Monday by the Muslim Council of Britain, an umbrella organization that represents Muslim communities. Harun Khan, secretary general of the group, said in a statement that he was angry about the attack and that the council was determined to confront extremism.
âThat is why we agree with the prime minister that things must change. Enough is enough,â he said. âWe are ready to have those difficult conversations, as equal citizens with an equal stake in this fight.â
Investigators were focused on the likelihood that the attack had been inspired, if not directed, by the Islamic State. The militant group on SundayÂ asserted responsibility for the rampage and again called on its followers to carry out attacks in the West, especially during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Â But the group did not provide any details to prove its involvement in the Saturday assault. Similar claims in the past have been shown to be unreliable.
Saturdayâs killings were eerily similar in style to a March attack. In that attack, a man rammed pedestrians on a different Thames River crossing and fatally stabbed a police officer at the gates of Parliament.
The three recent attacks were not connected, May said. But she described them as âa new trendâ in which terrorists are âcopying one another and often using the crudest means of attack.â
May also seemed to acknowledge Sunday that British security services are struggling to keep up as the scale of the threat grows. The services say they have disrupted at least 18 plots in recent years. But they have about 3,000 suspected extremists on watch lists â far too many to actively monitor at all times.
Previous attacks have been carried out by people who had been flagged to the security services for concern but had been judged to be peripheral to any active plots.