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London attack: 8 minutes of terror and mayhem

(CNN) — Attackers targeted the heart of London on Saturday night, with a white van plowing over screaming pedestrians on London Bridge, followed by stabbings in bars around Borough Market.

Police officers pursued and shot dead three attackers within eight minutes of the first emergency call, authorities said.

At least seven civilians were killed and 48 others injured, police said.

Here’s how the attack unfolded:

LONDON BRIDGE

At 10:08 p.m. (5:08 p.m. ET), London Metropolitan officers responded to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on London Bridge. Witness Mark Roberts said he saw a van speed across London Bridge toward the underground station before it suddenly swerved, bounced off the pavement and hit several pedestrians. What sounded like gunfire rang out five to 10 minutes later, he said.

Brad Meyers had just left London Bridge when he heard a “boom” behind him, which he thought was a car hitting the guardrails or other vehicles. He said he saw someone jump into the water in fear. Multiple ambulances rushed to the scene, with the first team arriving within six minutes, according to the London Ambulance Service.

British Prime Minister Theresa May called the attack a “potential act of terrorism,” and plans to chair a government emergency meeting Sunday.

Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said the assailants were wearing what looked like explosive vests, which were later found to be fake.

BOROUGH MARKET

As emergency services sped toward London Bridge, reports came in of multiple stabbings at Borough Market, a gourmet food market packed with customers on Saturday nights.

Elsbeth Smedley, a witness, said a man ran into Elliot’s cafe in Borough Market and stabbed two people before rushing out. Local restaurant owner Jack Applebee said he saw people running down the street and heard a female voice shout “they’re stabbing everyone.”

“Everyone ran to the back of the restaurant and crouched down, trying to hide themselves from view,” Smedley said.

The man stabbed a waitress hiding behind a partition.

“He stabbed her in the neck,” Smedley said. “He stabbed another man in the back, and then he ran out of the restaurant.”

Applebee turned and saw three men wearing belts or vests with packets around the belly. As they scampered under tables, he said, they heard 10 to 15 gunshots. Police stormed in and helped escort people out.

Police announced the two incidents at London Bridge and Borough Market were “terrorist incidents” and warned people to avoid the area while emergency vehicles responded to the attacks.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said some of the 48 people hospitalized in the incidents were in critical condition. French President Emmanuel Macron said French citizens were among the casualties, but did not provide specifics.

Police said three suspects were shot at the scene, but investigations will determine whether they had support or were part of a larger network The proximity of the attacks and the timing seem to suggest they were coordinated, but police have not confirmed that.

VAUXHALL

As they responded to the two incidents, police were called to a third potential “incident” in nearby Vauxhall residential area just before 1 a.m. Authorities later confirmed it was not a related incident.