ISIS has claimed responsibility for Saturday night's terror attack in London, according to a statement released by Islamic State's news agency Amaq. The attack killed seven people and injured 48. Twenty-one victims remain in critical condition as of Sunday evening.
“Security source to Amaq Agency: A detachment of Islamic State fighters carried out the London attacks yesterday,” the statement reads. According to counterterrorism sources, the attacks may have been planned several months ago. An ISIS message posted yesterday called on its followers to “kill the civilians of the crusaders” during the month of Ramadan.
“They usually use these messages to simply inspire people to carry out attacks whenever the opportunity arises,” said ABC contributor Matt Olsen, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center. “So, really, the real goal is to motivate as many people as possible in the hopes that somebody will carry out an attack just like this.”
At this point, investigators say there's no evidence of a link between Saturday's attack and the Westminster Bridge vehicle attack in March or the May 22 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Rather, the separate attacks are indicative of a growing movement in the country.
“It tells us that this wave out there is beginning to break against Britain and that we’ve probably got to be prepared for more," UK counterterrorism expert Michael Clarke told ABC News.
The attack began at around 10 p.m. local time on Saturday when a van crossing London Bridge struck five or six people, according to witnesses. The men in the vehicle then exited with knives and stabbed multiple victims at pubs and restaurants located in Borough Market. Witnesses say people threw chairs and pint glasses at the men, who were reportedly wearing fake explosive vests. The three suspects were shot and killed by police approximately eight minutes after they were called to the scene.
Shortly after midnight, Metropolitan Police declared the incident a terrorist attack.