A knife attack has left a woman dead and five other people injured in central London.
Police were called at 10:33 pm on Wednesday to reports of a man injuring people with a knife in Russell Square, including a woman in her 60s who later died.
A 19-year-old man was arrested after a Taser was discharged by an officer, the BBC reports. Police said mental health seemed to be a ‘significant’ factor in the incident.
Two other women and three men received various injuries in the attack, officers later confirmed.
But Scotland Yard said that for ‘reassurance and safety,’ Londoners would see an increased police presence deployed on the city’s streets on Thursday morning.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for the public to remain ‘calm and vigilant’ and added that his ‘heart goes out to the victims of the incident in Russell Square and their loved ones’.
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Paul O’Geibheannaigh, who lives near the square, said he had seen the body of the woman on the pavement and the area was surrounded by a ‘heavy armed police presence’.
He told the BBC: “I haven’t seen a police presence like that in this area since 7/7,” referring to the London transport system terror attacks in July 2005.
The Met’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Mark Rowley, said the force’s homicide command was investigating the attack with support from the counter-terrorism unit.
The incident comes amid warnings about a terrorist attack in the United Kingdom after a series of jihadi strikes across Europe and the Middle East.
Of course at this stage we should keep an open mind regarding motive and consequently terrorism as a motivation remains… one line of inquiry for us to explore.
The condition of those injured and the motive for the attack is not yet known.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.