Mother of Satan Tube bomber

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Irish Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM PETTIFOR, NICK SOMMERLAD, TOM PARRY and LAURA CON­NOR

EX­PERTS be­lieve the bucket bomb that ig­nited on a packed rush-hour Tube train yes­ter­day could have killed dozens had it det­o­nated prop­erly.

The crude de­vice, be­lieved to have been made with the ex­plo­sive TATP – known as “Mother of Satan” – is thought to have burst into flames pre­ma­turely. But it sent a “wall of fire” through the District Line car­riage, leav­ing 29 peo­ple in­jured. A ma­jor man­hunt was un­der way for the bombers last night as the ter­ror threat was raised to the high­est level of crit­i­cal – mean­ing an­other at­tack may be “im­mi­nent”. One ex­pert said the bomb, which ig­nited at Par­sons Green sta­tion, West Lon­don, was sev­eral times the size of the Manch­ester Arena de­vice that killed 22 in May. Hamish de Bret­ton-gor­don, ex-as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of in­tel­li­gence sur­veil­lance for the Min­istry of De­fence, said: “It looks like a pretty un­so­phis­ti­cated de­vice and I think we have been pretty for­tu­nate as it doesn’t seem to have det­o­nated.”

DEV­AS­TAT­ING

He added: “There was quite a big bucket, it looks like it could con­tain 20 litres. That can carry a lot of ex­plo­sives. That size of de­vice could have been dev­as­tat­ing.” Hun­dreds of po­lice of­fi­cers joined forces with MI5 agents in the hunt for the ter­ror­ists behind the at­tack. And there were fears of an­other bomb or knife ram­page as the cul­prits re­mained at large. The blast came as the train pulled into Par­sons Green sta­tion at 8.20am. Ter­ri­fied pas­sen­gers were seen cov­ered in blood with scorched heads, legs, faces and hair as they “ran for their lives” try­ing to es­cape the hor­ror. The de­vice was in a white builder’s bucket in­side a Lidl foil-lined and seal­able freezer bag which may have been de­signed to keep the highly un­sta­ble in­gre­di­ents cool. Such a mix­ture can ig­nite if it gets too warm and the heat in­side the packed car­riage may have caused this to hap­pen. Ter­ror ex­pert Will Ged­des be­lieves the bomb could have been primed to det­o­nate at a dif­fer­ent sta­tion than Par­sons Green. The train is be­lieved to have been head­ing to Up­min­ster in Es­sex or Tower Hill, East Lon­don. This would have taken the ser­vice through busy sta­tions in Cen­tral Lon­don, in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria and West­min­ster. Mr Ged­des said: “I think it was a pre­ma­ture det­o­na­tion than any­thing else. This could have been a lot worse. They are al­ways go­ing to aim for max­i­mum im­pact.” Last night Theresa May raised the threat level to “crit­i­cal”. This means author­i­ties be­lieve a ter­ror at­tack may be im­mi­nent. It is only the fourth time Britain has been put on the high­est alert level dur­ing the past 11 years. Un­der Op­er­a­tion Tem­perer – last put in place af­ter the Manch­ester at­tack – the Gov­ern­ment will also de­ploy troops to sup­port po­lice. Mrs May said: “The public will see more armed po­lice on the trans­port net­work and on our streets pro­vid­ing ex­tra pro­tec­tion and this is a pro­por­tion­ate and sen­si­ble step which will pro­vide ex­tra re­as­sur­ance and pro­tec­tion while the investigation pro­gresses. “Dur­ing this pe­riod the public should go about their busi­ness in a nor­mal way and as usual be vig­i­lant and co-op­er­ate with the po­lice. “I said ear­lier that ter­ror­ism is a great chal­lenge of our times but by

stand­ing to­gether we will de­feat it.” Early re­ports claimed the sus­pect had been seen on CCTV but Scot­land Yard re­fused to com­ment on claims the bombers had al­ready been iden­ti­fied. The de­vice was ap­par­ently put on the train at some point be­tween Wim­ble­don and Par­sons Green. No im­age of the sus­pects were re­leased, sug­gest­ing po­lice may know who they are. Giv­ing an update last night, Met As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mark Row­ley, the coun­try’s most se­nior coun­tert­er­ror­ism of­fi­cer, said: “We are mak­ing ex­cel­lent progress at the mo­ment as we pur­sue our lines of in­quiry to iden­tify, to lo­cate and to ar­rest those re­spon­si­ble. “This is a very com­plex investigation which is con­tin­u­ing at speed with the full weight of Lon­don’s counter ter­ror­ism polic­ing re­sources, as­sisted by col­leagues from around the coun­try and by our in­tel­li­gence agency part­ners. “We have hun­dreds of po­lice of­fi­cers trawl­ing though CCTV footage, de­tec­tives have spo­ken to tens of wit­nesses and we have taken a large num­ber of calls to the hot­line from mem­bers of the public.” He also said the IED had been re­moved and taken it away “for ex­am­i­na­tion by foren­sic sci­en­tists”. Mr Row­ley added that up to 1,000 po­lice of­fi­cers had been freed up to pro­vide ex­tra safety checks and re­as­sur­ance across the coun­try. It was the sixth ter­ror at­tack so far in the UK this year and the only one in which no­body has died. There were 36 deaths in the pre­vi­ous atroc­i­ties. Dur­ing the same pe­riod po­lice say they have stopped six other sig­nif­i­cant plots. NHS Eng­land said 21 vic­tims were still be­ing treated last night in hos­pi­tal.

The train car­riage IN­SIDE

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