London Attack: ‘They literally just started kicking them, punching them, they took out knives… it was a rampage really.’Posted: June 4, 2017
The prime minister has said “it is time to say enough is enough” as she condemned a terror attack on “innocent and unarmed civilians” which left seven people dead and 48 injured in London.
A white van hit pedestrians on London Bridge at about 22:00 BST on Saturday, then three men got out and stabbed people in nearby Borough Market.
The three attackers, who wore fake bomb vests, were shot dead by police.
Several arrests have been made after police raids in Barking, east London.
It is the third terror attack in the UK in three months, following the car and knife attack in Westminster in March, which left five people dead, and the Manchester bombing less than two weeks ago, in which 22 people were killed.
Most political parties have suspended national general election campaigning, but Mrs May said full campaigning would resume on Monday and the general election would go ahead as planned on Thursday.
- Latest updates on London Bridge attack
- What we know so far
- In pictures: Attack aftermath
- London Bridge: The morning after
Eyewitnesses to the attack described seeing a white van travelling at high speed along London Bridge, hitting pedestrians, before crashing close to the Barrowboy and Banker pub.
BBC reporter Holly Jones, who was on the bridge, said it was “probably travelling at about 50 miles an hour” and hit “five or six people”.
Three men then got out and began attacking people in the nearby market – an area known for its bars and restaurants, which were busy on a warm summer evening.
Terrified drinkers rushed away from the scene, some taking shelter in London Bridge Underground station.
One witness, Gerard, told the BBC he saw a woman being stabbed “10 or 15 times” by men shouting “This is for Allah”.
Another, Eric, told the BBC the men “ran towards the people that they nearly ran over”.
“I thought, ‘Oh maybe they’re worried about them and trying to comfort them…’
“[Then] they literally just started kicking them, punching them, they took out knives… it was a rampage really.”
The three suspects were shot dead within eight minutes of the first 999 call being received.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick praised the “extraordinary bravery” of her officers, on and off duty, who risked their lives by rushing to confront the attackers.
Among the main developments:
- More than 80 medics were sent to the scene. The injured, some of them in critical condition, are being treated in five London hospitals
- The Met Police has set up a casualty bureau on 0800 096 1233 and 020 7158 0197 for people concerned about friends or relatives
- One of those hurt was a British Transport Police officer who was stabbed as he went to help. His injuries are serious, but not threatening.
- Three other police officers were also injured
- Two Australian citizens “have been directly impacted,” says the country’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
- Four French citizens have been injured, one seriously, according to foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian
Another eyewitness, Steven Gibbs, who was drinking in St Christopher’s Inn, just metres from the scene, told the BBC: “A black cab drove past and the driver shouted, ‘Terrorist attack, run!’
“I stood up to take a look and then all of a sudden there were gunshots. Lots of people were screaming.”
Steven was taken into the basement of the bar before the police came in and told everyone inside to run. Read the rest of this entry »
Egypt’s military and national airline say debris from the crashed EgyptAir flight has been recovered in the Mediterranean.
Flight MS804 was en route from Paris to Cairo with 66 passengers and crew when it vanished early on Thursday.
Egypt’s army spokesman said wreckage and passenger belongings were found 290km (180 miles) off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt.
EgyptAir also confirmed the discovery to the BBC.
Greek, Egyptian, French and UK military units have been taking part in a search operation near Greece’s Karpathos island.
Greece said radar showed the Airbus A320 had made two sharp turns and dropped more than 25,000ft (7,620m) before plunging into the sea.
Egypt says the plane was more likely to have been brought down by a terrorist act than a technical fault.
Most of the people on board Flight MS804 were from Egypt and France. A Briton was also among the passengers. Read the rest of this entry »
An EgyptAir flight traveling to Cairo from Paris crashed early Thursday with 66 passengers and crew members on board, Egyptian aviation officials confirmed.
Flight 804, an Airbus A320, was lost from radar at 2:30 a.m. Cairo time (8:30 p.m. EDT) when it was flying at 37,000 feet 175 miles north of the Egyptian coast., the airline said. EgyptAir later confirmed that one of the plane’s emergency devices sent a distress signal approximately two hours after it vanished.
Officials from Civil Aviation ministry said the “possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed,” as the plane failed to land in any nearby airports.
Egyptian armed forces were searching for debris from the plane, which was carrying 56 passengers, including one child and two babies, and 10 crew. EgyptAir later confirmed the nationalities of those on board as including 15 French passengers, 30 Egyptians, one Briton, two Iraqis, one Kuwaiti, one Saudi, one Sudanese, one Chadian, one Portuguese, one Algerian and one Canadian.
Greece sent two aircraft to join the search and rescue operation: one C-130 and one early warning aircraft, officials at the Hellenic National Defense General Staff said. They said one frigate was also heading to the area, and helicopters are on standby on the southern island of Karpathos for potential rescue or recovery operations.
“We are not ruling out any hypothesis,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told reporters Thursday. “We are trying to gather all the information available.” Valls later told RTL radio France was “ready” to join the search operation if Egyptian authorities requested his country’s assistance. Read the rest of this entry »
British Airways Flight Catches Fire on Las Vegas Runway
At least two people were injured after an engine on a London-bound British Airways jet caught fire on a Las Vegas airport runway Tuesday.
McCarren Airport said the incident involved British Airways flight 2276, which was headed to London’s Gatwick Airport.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the plane’s left engine caught fire Tuesday afternoon while it was preparing for take off. A plume of black smoke could be seen billowing into the sky but firefighters quickly doused the aircraft with fire retardant. Read the rest of this entry »
“What I did was almost 50 years ago and it’s about 4,000 times easier today to con people than when I did it.”
Frank Abagnale’s early life story has been told many times. A former conman who specialised in impersonation and forgery, he was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can. His story has also been told as a book, a musical and is drawn upon in TV series White Collar.
“When I did the things I did, I did them all between 16 and 21. I’m 64 years old now. When I did it I made $2.5m over a period of five years. If I was stealing identities today, I’d be looking at more like $20 million, or $50 million”
At the age of 16, Abagnale posed as a pilot for Pan Am Airlines in order to wangle free flights. He later pretended to be a doctor, before masquerading as an attorney — just some of the eight different identities Abagnale claims to have assumed. Throughout this time he became a master forger of cheques, defrauding banks of millions of pounds.
He was arrested at the age of 21 in France and spent six months in prison there, six months in a Swedish jail and was then deported to the US (not before he’d escaped from the aeroplane intended to transport him). After serving five years of his 12-year sentence, he was paroled on the condition that he helped the FBI uncover cheque forgers. He has since made a career as a security consultant, working closely with the FBI for almost 40 years, and launching his own company Abagnale & Associates.
[Check out Frank’s book “Stealing Your Life: The Ultimate Identity Theft Prevention Plan” at Amazon.com]
Abagnale talked to Wired UK about his past life as a conman, identity theft, the criminal opportunities made possible by the web and the efforts made by governments to fight cybercrime.
How would the technology available today have affected your ability to con people in your early years?
What I did was almost 50 years ago and it’s about 4,000 times easier today to con people than when I did it. To forge a cheque 50 years ago, you needed a Heidelberg printed press, you had to be a skilled printer, know how to do colour separations, negatives, type-setting… those presses were 90 feet long and 18 feet high. There was a lot of work involved in creating a cheque. Today, you open a laptop. If you are going to forge a British Airways cheque, you go to their website, capture the corporate logo and put it in the top right corner. You then put a jet taking off in the background and make a really fancy four-colour cheque in 15 minutes on your computer. You then go down to an office supply store, buy security cheque paper and put it in your colour printer.
Fifty years ago, information was hard to come by. When you created a cheque you had no way of knowing where in reality British Airways’ bank was, who was authorised to sign their cheques and you didn’t know their account number. Today you can call any corporation in the world and tell them you are getting ready to wire them money and they will tell you the bank, the wiring number, the account number. You can then ask for a copy of the annual report and on page three are the signatures of the chairman of the board, the CEO and the treasurer. It’s all on white glossy paper with black ink — scanner ready art. You then just print it onto the cheque.
Technology breeds crime and we are constantly trying to develop technology to stay one step ahead of the person trying to use it negatively.
Can you give me some examples of how technology breeds crime?
If I’m in the airport in London and I take out my iPhone and take a picture of you walking through the airport, I can use PittPatt — an application that used to be used by the FBI but has been bought by Google — for facial recognition. If you are on Facebook [or you are identified by your image online somewhere else, for example a company website] I can find out who you are within seconds. If you happen to tell me where you were born, your date of birth and that kind of information then I’m 98 percent of the way to stealing your identity.
So I tell a lot of the young people that you never want to put a frontal photo of yourself on your Facebook page. Use a photo with a group of friends or doing sport, but never a straight-on funnel photo of yourself.
Another example is a scam involving apps that allow you to scan and deposit cheques using an iPhone. A few weeks ago we had a man out in Kansas City who sold his home and was paid with a cheque for $583,000 (£386,000). He asked for a glass of water and then scanned the cheque with his phone to deposit it into his bank account. When the lady came back, he told her that he’d changed his mind and would prefer for her to wire him the money. He then handed the cheque back and so the buyers then wired him another $583,000. Sometimes I wonder where these people were forty years ago when I needed them!
I think people often develop these tools and then they don’t think about the negative side of them. I wish they would spend a bit of time thinking about how their technology could be used for bad purposes and then try and eliminate that possibility.
Would you say that the art of conning people in the pre-digital age, where you have to charm people and look them in the eye, has died?
Yes. In the old days, a conman would be good looking, suave, well dressed, well spoken and presented themselves real well. Those days are gone because it’s not necessary. The people committing these crimes are doing them from hundreds of miles away. The victim never meets them so it doesn’t matter what he or she looks like. It doesn’t involve charm any more, it’s simply a matter of knowing how to use a computer and get into systems and so on.
Do you have any respect for some of the capabilities?
No. They are breaking the law. But I do understand that some of them are extremely creative. A lot of what happens is our fault. For example, I’ve been involved with the FBI for 37 years. Every case involving cybercrime that I’ve been involved in, I’ve never found a master criminal sitting somewhere in Russia or Hong Kong or Beijing. It always ends up that somebody at the company did something they weren’t supposed to do. They read an email, went to a website they weren’t supposed to. So they opened the door that allowed the person to get in. It’s not that these people are that talented but they wait knowing that with a company of 10,000 employees someone is bound to open the door. They just wait for that door to be open.
How do you make companies understand this?
When I go into companies, I throw [USB] sticks on grounds saying ‘confidential’. And then I can see all of the people who pick those sticks up and plug it into their computer. When they do that, they are greeted with a message that says “this is a test and you failed”. Then I explain that I could have easily got into their system. Most of the time when there’s a security breach at a company it’s because someone was doing something they were not supposed to do. You always have a human link that’s the failure. Read the rest of this entry »