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Despite being unarmed, these cops took the London terrorists head on

A London police officer who responded to initial calls for help as terrorists attacked people with knives was armed only with a baton because of strict British gun laws. The unnamed police officer suffered severe injuries to his head, face, and leg when he engaged the terrorists. (Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

When terrorists began a stabbing rampage late Saturday in London after using a van to mow down pedestrians on the London Bridge, restaurant patrons were left to defend themselves with nothing more than chairs and random object like beer glasses.

Police officers barged into restaurants in the Borough Market area of Central London, which is located just south of the bridge, and urged people to hide under tables.

In England, the law generally prohibits citizens from owning guns and definitely prohibits citizens from carrying concealed weapons — like handguns — to protect themselves should the need arise.

Even most street police officers don't have guns. In fact, according to NBC News, 90 percent of police officers in London work without access to a gun. Instead, they are armed with only batons, handcuffs, mace, and occasionally tasers.

So when terrorists attack with guns or knives, the belligerents typically have the upper hand.

This exact scenario played out in Central London Saturday when a British Transport Police officer intercepted and engaged the three terrorists armed with only his baton. The terrorists, on the other hand, were armed with what many described as "long knives."

According to the Independent, the unnamed police officer was one of the first to respond to calls for help and suffered severe injuries to his head, face, and leg when he engaged the terrorists.

British Transport Police Chief Paul Crowther said the officer, who had been with the department for less than two years, showed "enormous courage" in the face of danger:

Having visited the officer in hospital shortly after he was admitted for treatment, I was able to hear his account of what happened last night. It became clear that he showed enormous courage in the face of danger, as did many others who were at the scene and rushed to help.

Although he is seriously unwell, he was able to recount how he faced the attackers armed only with his baton, outside London Bridge station. For an officer who only joined us less than two years ago, the bravery he showed was outstanding and makes me extremely proud.

All of us at BTP wish him a swift recovery, and I know he will be touched by the hundreds of messages of support from across the UK and the world. Our thoughts are with all of those who died or were injured, and their loved ones as they try to come to terms with what happened.

The transport officer wasn't the only police officer to show incredible courage Saturday.

London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick praised an "utterly heroic" off-duty officer — who doubles as an amateur rugby player — for running toward one of the terrorists and tackling him. That officer was stabbed and remains in critical condition, according to the BBC.

In all, the attack lasted only eight minutes. The three terrorists killed seven people and injured four dozen others before being shot dead by police.

It was the second terrorist attack in England in less that two weeks. In late May, a suicide bomber detonated himself as concertgoers left an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, a major British city located north of London. That attack left 22 dead and more than 100 others injured.

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