Police seeking London attack victim find body in Thames

Family of Xavier Thomas, a Frenchman missing since attack on London Bridge, informed of discovery of body, police say.

Police searching for a Frenchman missing since Saturday’s attack on London Bridge say they have recovered a body from the River Thames, potentially taking the death toll to eight.

The Metropolitan Police said the body was found on Tuesday downstream from the bridge.

Formal identification of the body has not taken place, but the family of 45-year-old Xavier Thomas has been informed of the discovery.

France said earlier on Wednesday that two of its citizens had died when three men drove a van into pedestrians on the bridge before going on a stabbing spree in the nearby Borough Market.

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Thomas was walking with his girlfriend over the bridge when the attack began. Witness accounts suggest Thomas might have been thrown into the river, police said.

His girlfriend was struck and seriously injured by the van.

The attackers killed several people and wounded nearly 50 people before being shot dead.

Some 48 people were initially admitted to hospital. Of these, 32 are still being treated, 15 are in critical condition.

Police have identified the attackers as Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba.

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Butt, 27, was a British citizen born in Pakistan. He was known to security services and even featured in a television documentary entitled “The Jihadis Next Door”.

He was investigated in 2015 but he was “prioritised in the lower echelons of our investigative work” and there was no evidence of “attack planning”, police said.

Redouane was 30 and “claimed to be Moroccan and Libyan”, police said. Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE reported that Redouane had an Irish residency card and had lived in Dublin.

Butt and Redouane both lived in Barking in suburban east London.

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Police said Zaghba was an Italian national of Moroccan descent, living in east London. Neither he nor Redouane was known to police or security services.

The attack came just five days before Thursday’s general election and has dominated the debate since.

The main Labour opposition, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has attacked Prime Minister May for cutting police numbers by 20,000 during her tenure as home secretary from 2010 to 2016.

May’s Conservatives have insisted that counter-terrorism budgets and the number of armed officers – British police do not regularly carry arms – have risen.

Source: News Agencies