There are currently seven victims of the June 3 Muslim terrorist attacked who have been confirmed to have died in London. However, police in the British couple say they have recovered a body downstream from London Bridge in the River Thames. The body has been identified to be that of Xavier Thomas (45), a Frenchman who had been missing since the attack. This brings the death toll of the London Bridge attack to eight.
Xavier Thomas was walking on London Bridge with his girlfriend Christine Delcros on Saturday evening when the attack began. He was struck by the white van that three Muslim terrorists drove at a high rate of speed on the bridge, bowling over innocent pedestrians. Thomas was struck by the van. Police said that witnesses reported that Thomas may have been thrown bodily into the river. Once they descended from the van, the three assailants started to randomly stab people.
Police gunned down all three attackers. Two of the men were known to British intelligence and law-enforcement officials. “Good Morning Britain” host Piers Morgan seriously questioned London’s Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, as to why law enforcement did not know where the assailants were before the attack despite having had concerns about them. Khan said that police do not have sufficient resources to monitor terrorists. Morgan expressed shock that finding terrorists is not a priority for police.
The attackers have been identified as Khurum Butt, 27, who had been known for his extremist views; 30-year-old Rachid Redouane, also known as Rachid Elkhdar; and Youssef Zaghba, a 22-year-old Italian national of Moroccan descent who had been working in a London restaurant.
Italian authorities stopped and questioned Zaghba but had not charged him with any crime. Italian officials said suspicions about him were shared with British authorities.
Today, police report that they have arrested a man in east London, who is being questioned about the attack. Police are searching his home. Two other men, not identified, are in custody under suspicion of violating Britain’s Terrorism Act. They have not been charged. All others who had been arrested have been released without facing charges.
Law enforcement officials have reopened a large part of the outer cordon of the crime scene at London Bridge However, Borough Market, a popular gathering place, remains closed as more evidence is gathered.
The attack, and prior attacks in Manchester and near Parliament in London, have prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to call for tougher counterterrorism laws and changing human rights protections. The attack came just days before Thursday’s general election. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and other Labourites are criticizing May for cutting the police force by roughly 20,000 during her tenure as home secretary during the Cameron government.
The family members of missing Spanish banker Ignacio Echeverria confirmed on Wednesday that he was among those killed. Employed in London by HSBC, Echeverria has been hailed as a hero for using his skateboard to take on the three Muslim attackers.
Three French citizens, two Australians, one Canadian, one Spaniard and one Briton are known to have died. Police believe they now know the identities of all those who were killed and there were “no outstanding or missing people”.
French president Emmanuel Macron commented: “As far as French nationals are concerned, there have indeed been three fatalities and eight wounded. We are paying a heavy price in these attacks.”
Thomas's girlfriend, Christine Delcros, is recovering from serious injuries inflicted when the terrorists' van collided with her.
Two other French victims had been named as Sebastien Belanger, 36, and Alexandre Pigeard, 27. Belanger, was a chef at the Coq d’Argent restaurant in the City, had been living in London for seven years, and was reported missing by his girlfriend, Gerda Bennet.
Echeverria was skateboarding in a park with friends when he stopped to defend a woman who had been injured in the attack near Borough Market. In a Facebook post, his sister Isabel wrote: “My brother Ignacio tried to stop the terrorist and lost his own life trying to save others. [Ignacio] we love you and we will never forget you.” Another sister, Ana, posted: “Ignacio didn’t survive the moment of the attack. Thank you to all those who love and cared about him. We know we are not the only ones saddened.”