22 injured as home-made bomb detonates at London tube station
Officials say bomber influenced by ISIS
London: A home-made bomb on a packed rush-hour commuter train in London engulfed a carriage in flames and injured 22 people on Friday in Britain’s fifth major terrorism incident this year, but apparently failed to fully explode.
Passengers heading into the British capital fled in panic after the blast as the train was about to depart Parsons Green underground station in West London at 8.20 am.
Some suffered burns and others were injured in the stampede that ensued but health officials said none were thought to be in a serious condition. “We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device,” Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer Mark Rowley said.
Police said a hunt involving hundreds of detectives backed by the intelligence services was underway to find out who was responsible. Rowley declined to say if the suspected bomber had been on the train, saying it was a live investigation.
However, a correspondent for a British news channel said on Twitter that British security services have identified a suspect with the aid of CCTV footage.
Britain’s threat level remained on its second-highest rank of severe following the “cowardly attack” intended to cause significant harm, said Prime Minister Theresa May. She added the threat level would be kept under review.
Pictures from the scene show a slightly-charred white bucket with a supermarket freezer bag on the floor of a train carriage.
The bucket, still intact, was in flames and there appeared to be wires coming out of the top.
“I was on second carriage from the back. I just heard a kind of whoosh. I looked up and saw the whole carriage engulfed in flames making its way towards me,” said Ola Fayankinnu, who was on the train. “There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames.”
Terrified passengers fled, fearing a second explosion or a gunman, with people being knocked to the ground and crushed in the stampede to escape.
Parsons Green is one of the surface stations of London’s underground network.
“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter. “These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”
May, who chaired a meeting of Britain’s emergency response committee, said police and security services were working to track down those responsible. Responding to Trump’s tweet, she said: “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”
A U.S. law enforcement official and a U.S. intelligence source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack might well have been carried out in response to recent Islamic State video messages urging would-be militants to attack trains and other public transport.One of the officials said the device “doesn’t look very professionally built” and said its rudimentary design suggested the attack was carried out by someone inspired by Islamic State propaganda rather than by a welltrained cell.
An injured woman is led away at Parsons Green underground station in London
Emergency services in place after the blast in London