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Boris Johnson said “we saw the best of London shining as bright” in a speech to mark the fifth anniversary of the London Bridge terror attack.
In a speech praising Londoners, the Prime Minister said the capital “threw open” its arms to those who suffered after the city witnessed one of its “darkest spring nights”.
“When a gang of vile murderers struck there on a Saturday night five years ago, it wasn’t just a barbaric attack on innocent revellers from around the world. Rather, it felt like an attempt to strike at the very heart of London itself.
“And anyone who knows London knows it was a resounding failure. Over the centuries this city has stood proud as bombs rained from the skies and fire swept through its streets and it was instantly obvious that it would take a lot more than a bunch of thugs with knives to break its spirit,” he said.
“And in the hours and days and weeks afterwards, as this great city threw its arms around those who had suffered and its people refused to be intimidated into so much as cancelling a lunch date, the world saw for itself two things we have always known.
“That there is no place on earth quite like London. And that wherever you were born, wherever you hail from, once you make this city your home you are and will always be a Londoner – and there is nothing any of us would rather be.
“Today we look back. We remember those we lost, mourn their passing and celebrate their lives. But London – brilliant, incomparable London – can also look forwards with pride and with confidence.
“Because five years on our city is as vibrant as it ever was, our people as strong and steadfast and united as they ever were. And that’s something no act of senseless violence will ever change.”
Sadiq Khan paid tribute to members of the emergency services who “ran towards danger”.
Today, London remembers those whose lives were taken during the 2017 London Bridge terror attack.
We also pay tribute to the bravery of our emergency services, who ran towards danger whilst helping others to safety.
Londoners will always stand united in the face of terrorism.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 3, 2022
Mr Khan said the capital’s residents will “always stand united in the face of terrorism” as he remembered the victims of the atrocity on June 3, 2017.
Eight people were killed and 48 more injured when terrorists ploughed into pedestrians in a hired van before proceeding to run amok with 12” knives.
Christine Archibald, 30, and Xavier Thomas, 45, died after being struck by the van on the bridge.
Alexandre Pigeard, 26, Sara Zelenak, 21, Kirsty Boden, 28, Sebastien Belanger, 36, and James McMullan, 32, were stabbed near the Boro Bistro on the South Bank.
Ignacio Echeverria, 39, died as he tried to protect others from being attacked on nearby Borough High Street.
Ringleader Khuram Butt, 27, Rachid Redouane, 30, and Youssef Zaghba, 22, were confronted in Stoney Street and shot dead by police marksmen.
On Friday morning, Mr Khan tweeted: “Today, London remembers those whose lives were taken during the 2017 London Bridge terror attack. We also pay tribute to the bravery of our emergency services, who ran towards danger whilst helping others to safety.
“Londoners will always stand united in the face of terrorism.”
Counter-terror expert Sir Ivor Roberts said it remains “unclear how much has been learned from this tragedy”.
Sir Ivor, from the Counter Extremism Project, and former head of counter-terrorism in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said the attack could be attributed “in significant part, to the failure of the intelligence community to monitor appropriately subjects of interest”.
In a statement on the anniversary, he said: “The 2017 London Bridge attack can be attributed, in significant part, to the failure of the intelligence community to monitor appropriately subjects of interest.
“The primary perpetrator of the attack, Khuram Shazad Butt, was known to both the police and MI5 from as early as 2015. At that time he was investigated, but the investigation was quickly ‘moved into the lower echelons’ and his file was classed as ‘low priority’.
“While the monitoring of peripheral subjects like Butt can often be a tedious and thankless task, it is also often the difference between life and death. The Government’s subsequent official enquiry into the numerous terrorist attacks which occurred in the UK in 2017 specifically identified this as an area of counter terror policy in need of significant reform.”