London attack: Belfast woman fled hotel with son

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Media caption"Get down" - police enter bar at London Bridge

A woman from Belfast has described how she and her 12-year-old son had to flee their hotel during the terror incident in London which killed seven people.

A white van hit pedestrians on London Bridge at about 22:00 BST on Saturday, then three men got out and stabbed people in nearby Borough Market.

The woman, who identified herself as Pamela, was travelling on the London Underground when the incident happened.

She said she had been due to get off at London Bridge.

"We were actually in the underground when it happened and we were due to get off at London Bridge and the tube did not stop, it went to the next stop," she told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We got off to change and figure out where we were going to go, we were at Bank and they just shouted 'evacuate, evacuate', and we had to run up the stairs - that was probably the most frightening thing."

Pamela said that her hotel was located in Southwark, but that when she arrived they were told to evacuate the building by police.

She said they were later accommodated on the floor of another hotel.

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Image caption Counter-terrorism officers on patrol in London

"We got through the cordons, we got locked into the hotel and the police rushed in and told everyone to get out," she added.

"Set the fire alarms off and sent us all out to run across the bridge to the other side and they just kept saying 'run, run'.

"So we just ran across the bridge.

"The Crowne Plaza Hotel put us up on the floor, about 100 people, and we just slept on the floor with towels around us so we have had no sleep, we are exhausted but at least we are safe."

Police said the three men involved in the incident were wearing fake bomb vests. The attackers were shot dead by police minutes later.

Several arrests have been made in Barking, east London, following a raid at a flat belonging to one of the three attackers.

One of those hurt was a British Transport Police officer who was stabbed after going to help. His injuries are not life-threatening. Three other police officers were also injured.

Condemnation

Most political parties, including a number from Northern Ireland, have suspended national general election campaigning and the prime minister chaired a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee.

Theresa May confirmed the general election will take place as planned on 8 June.

Mrs May described Saturday night's events as "dreadful", while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called them "brutal and shocking".

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has extended his condolences to all those involved.

He said: "We also send our support to our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, British Transport Police and all the emergency services that responded last night."

A number of politicians in Northern Ireland have also expressed their sympathy to the families of those killed or injured.

'Manifestation of hatred'

DUP leader Arlene Foster praised "our security services, the police and our emergency services for their swift response and bravery".

Sinn Féin's northern leader, Michelle O'Neill, said the attack was "horrific" and she condemned it.

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said it was a "shocking manifestation of the hatred our enemies have for our way of life".

Alliance leader Naomi Long said people must "remain strong" to ensure "terrorists can never win".

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also expressed his concern.

Irish President Michael D Higgins is among a host of world leaders who have condemned the attack.

"This latest terrible attack in London will be rightly condemned by all those who believe in the rights of our public to live their lives in the public space," he said.

Borough Market is an area known for its bars and restaurants which were busy on a warm summer evening. A bomb disposal team was later called to Borough Market and local residents told to leave their homes.

It is the third terror attack in the UK in three months following the car and knife attack in Westminster in March, which left five people dead, and the Manchester bombing less than two weeks ago, in which 22 people were killed.

Image copyright PA
Image caption People ran down Borough High Street to escape the danger
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Counter-terrorism specialist firearm officers were later in attendance
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ambulances attended to the injured on London Bridge

Facebook has activated its safety check so people in London could post a message to let friends and relatives know they were safe.

The police are asking anyone with photographs or videos of the incident to upload them here.

The Met Police has set up a casualty bureau on 0800 096 1233 and 020 7158 0197 for people concerned about friends or relatives.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police led people to safety after the attack
Image caption Police and ambulance could be seen on the south side of London Bridge

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