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London Bridge attacker tried to rent larger truck

LONDON — British police have arrested two more suspects over the London Bridge attack, and revealed that the carnage could have been worse had the attackers succeeded in their goal of renting a larger truck, rather than a van, to mow down pedestrians.

The bloodthirsty gang was also shot dead before they could make their way back to the van where their petrol bombs were stored.

London’s Metropolitan Police said Saturday that they arrested a 27-year-old man and a 28-year-old man overnight in east London on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism. Police have seven people in custody over suspected links to the three attackers who killed eight people on and around London Bridge on June 3.

Police released details of their investigation Saturday as they appealed to the public for information, saying that showed Khuram Butt, believed to be the plot’s ringleader, originally tried to rent a 7.5 ton box truck. The intended truck was smaller but similar to the one used in the Nice attack last year that killed 86 people and injured hundreds in the resort town in the south of France.

After his payment was declined, Butt and his two accomplices rented a smaller van that they used to plow into crowds before they leapt from the vehicle and went on a stabbing rampage in an attack that left eight people dead and nearly 50 injured. It was the third deadly attack in Britain in three months.

After leaving the small white van, the men used 12-inch knives with bright pink blades, according to Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Counter-Terrorism Command.

Police also disclosed that more than a dozen petrol bombs and two blowtorches were discovered in the van, and a copy of the Quran opened at a page “describing martyrdom” was found at one of the attackers’ houses.

Investigators believe three victims were killed on the bridge, including one man who was thrown into the River Thames, before the attackers left the vehicle and stabbed five people to death around London’s busy Borough Market.