London Bridge terror attack victims remembered on fifth anniversary

The victims of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack are being remembered on the fifth anniversary. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The victims of the 2017 London Bridge terror attack have been remembered, as survivors and families of those lost mark the fifth anniversary of the atrocity.

The theme of unity was at the heart of a service of commemoration to mark the fifth anniversary of the London Bridge and Borough Market attack five years ago.

Eight people were killed and 48 more injured when terrorists ploughed into pedestrians in a hired van, then ran amok with 12-inch knives during the 3 June tragedy.

Families of victims, witnesses and police officers paid respect to those who lost their lives at the service at Southwark Cathedral on Friday.

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.

A service was set to be held at Southwark Cathedral, near the site of the attacks, on Friday afternoon.

The anniversary plans included a new memorial plaque being unveiled at Cathedral Square, and dedicated as a permanent record of the tragedy.

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, dedicated the mass to those who died or where injured, as well as “all who live by the values of inclusion and welcome”.

He also reflected on another terror attack in London in November 2019, when Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were killed at Fishmongers’ Hall by Usman Khan.

Candles were lit and placed on a table to illuminate the altar, to honour those who died or were injured in the attacks.

Earlier, London’s mayor paid tribute to members of the emergency services who “ran towards danger”, as he marked the fifth anniversary of the London Bridge and Borough Market terror attack.

Sadiq 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.

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.”

He referred to the case of Malik Faisal Akram, originally from Blackburn in Lancashire, who carried out an attack on a Texas synagogue in January.

Floral tributes to the victims of the terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Akram, 44, was shot dead when the FBI entered the place of worship in Colleyville following a 10-hour stand-off.

He held four people hostage during the incident, but they were later released unharmed.

Sir Ivor said: “Despite Akram’s radical views and support of the 9/11 attacks, he had been unsuccessfully referred to Prevent on two separate occasions in 2016 and 2019, MI5 ultimately concluded that he was not a terrorist threat.

“This is a disappointing development from the security services, who do such incredible work on a day-to-day basis to keep us safe.

He continued: "I encourage MI5 to develop new policies and thorough checks and balances to ensure dangerous individuals don’t slip through the cracks again.”

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