Wed | Aug 23, 2017

London attack : Political heat focusing on Theresa May

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2017 | 6:00 AM
Two women embrace in front of a floral tribute in the London Bridge area of London earlier today. Police arrested several people and are widening their investigation after a series of attacks described as terrorism killed several people and injured more than 40 others in the heart of London on Saturday.

LONDON (AP):

British counterterrorism investigators searched homes and detained more people yesterday in the London attack investigation as an intense political firestorm developed over Prime Minister Theresa May's role in reducing police ranks.

The vehicle and knife attack launched by three men in the London Bridge area Saturday night that killed seven people and injured dozens is shaping the final days of an election campaign, focusing attention on May before Thursday's vote.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn yesterday said he supported those calling for May to resign because of her role reducing police staffing during her tenure as home secretary, though he said the best remedy was to vote her out.

"There's an election on Thursday, that's the chance," he said, citing an "appalling" cut in police staffing levels.

"We're calling for a restoration of police numbers, and there's a call being made for her to go, because of what she's done on the police numbers."

May, under fire because of three major attacks in Britain in the last three months, said Corbyn wasn't fit to safeguard Britain's security at a time of heightened threat.

"We have given increased powers to the police to be able to deal with terrorists powers which Jeremy Corbyn has boasted he has always opposed," she said.

Authorities said police know the identity of the three attackers who were shot dead by police but won't yet make them public for operational reasons.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for Saturday night's brazen attack that started on London Bridge, then continued in the streets surrounding Borough Market. Police have 11 people in custody on suspicion of violating the Terrorism Act, but they haven't been named or charged. Others who had been arrested were released without being charged.

Police said yesterday that "a number" of other people have been detained, but no details were provided.

Most of the London Underground stations reopened yesterday in the neighbourhood where the attack took place, allowing normal life and commerce to resume after more than 24 hours of lockdown. Some residents cooped up inside all day Sunday emerged from their homes for the first time since the attacks.