18-yr-old held as UK cops race to thwart 2nd attack IS Claims London Bombing; Police Raid Property Along Thames
London: British police arrested an 18-year-old man in the port of Dover even as the Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the blast on a commuter train in Parsons Green that injured 30 people a day earlier. The station reopened on Saturday morning.
Prime Minister Theresa May put Britain on the highest security level of “critical” late on Friday, meaning another attack might be imminent, and deployed soldiers and armed police to strategic locations such as nuclear plants and defence sites.
Officers arrested a man in Dover, from where passenger ferries sail to France.
Five hours later they raided a property in Sunbury, a commuter town southwest of London that is about 18km from the blast site, in what The Guardian described as “a race to thwart a second attack”. Nearby premises were evacuated amid the police operation as a precaution. A no-fly zone was established over the area to keep out small planes and drones as police moved in and police cordons were put in place to keep the public well away.
Home secretary Amber Rudd said that police had made “very good progress” in their enquiries, while appearing to dispute claims by US President Donald Trump that a “loser terrorist” behind the attack was known to Scotland Yard. “It’s much too early to say that,” Rudd said. “This is a very significant arrest and we have an ongoing operation.” There is no doubt that this was a serious IED (impro- The vised explosive device) and it was good fortune that it did so little damage,” she said.
In what was the fifth major terrorism attack in Britain this year, the home-made bomb shot flames through a other recent blasts which have typically been suicide bombs. Pictures showed a slightly charred white plastic bucket with wires coming out of the top in a supermarket shopping bag on the floor of a train carriage.
Armed police patrolled the streets near government departments in Westminster and were guarding Premier League soccer grounds hosting matches on Saturday, including the stadium at Wembley. Cressida Dick, UK’s top police officer, sought to reassure the public as she joined colleagues patrolling the south bank of the Thames. “On Friday, we saw a cowardly attack which could have resulted in many lives being lost. London has not stopped after other terrible attacks and it will not stop after this one.”
The last time UK was put on “critical” alert was after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at a concert by US singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in May. May said the public should not be alarmed by armed officers on the streets, a rare sight in UK. “This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses,” she said, even as detailed accounts of the incident started pouring in.
“I was on the 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,” Ola Fayankinnu said. “There were phones, hats, bags all over and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames.”
THREAT LEVEL RAISED TO CRITICAL: Police commissioner Cressida Dick reviews the security situation in London on Saturday