'Heroic' bystanders praised for tackling London Bridge attacker

Tributes pour in for members of public who tackled knife-wielding assailant before police shot him dead.

    'Heroic' bystanders praised for tackling London Bridge attacker
    Politicians, police officers, and social media users lined up on Friday and Saturday to praise the efforts of a group who pinned down and disarmed the attacker [EPA]

    Politicians, officials and social media users in the United Kingdom have praised the "heroism" of members of the public who tackled a knife-wielding attacker on London Bridge before armed police arrived and shot him dead.

    The male attacker stabbed several people, including two fatally, during the assault on Friday that police in the British capital said they were treating as a terrorist attack.

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    In dramatic footage widely shared on social media, a group of bystanders can be seen pinning down and disarming the attacker on the pavement, unaware he was apparently wearing an explosive device.

    One video posted on social media showed two men struggling on the bridge before police pulled a man in civilian clothes off a black-clad man on the ground, with gunshots ensuing.

    Another video showed a man in a suit holding a long knife that apparently had been taken from the attacker, identified by police as Usman Khan, who had been convicted of "terrorism" offences and released from jail last year.

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan paid tribute to the "breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger, not knowing what confronted them".

    "Members of the public didn't realise at the time that was a hoax device and they really are the best of us - another example of the bravery and heroism of ordinary Londoners running towards danger, risking their own personal safety to try and save others."

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson also hailed the "extraordinary bravery of those members of the public who physically intervened to protect the lives of others".

    "They represent the very best of our country and I thank them on behalf of all of our country," he added.

    Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said: "We owe a deep debt of gratitude to our police and emergency services, and the brave members of the public who put themselves in harm's way to protect others."

    In a statement on Saturday, the Muslim Council of Britain also hailed the "selfless, heroic actions of the public who swiftly responded to the attack by a convicted terrorist".

    Metropolitan police chief Cressida Dick said officers were called just before 2pm on Friday to Fishmongers' Hall, a conference venue at the north end of London Bridge.

    On Twitter, user Amy Coop, who was at Fishmongers' Hall, praised a man who "went out to confront the attacker."

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies