Im­pro­vised de­vice could have caused more fa­tal­i­ties than 7/7 at­tacks

Irish Independent - - NEWS - Martin Evans

COUNTER-TER­ROR­ISM spe­cial­ists were last night car­ry­ing out de­tailed foren­sic anal­y­sis on the Par­sons Green de­vice, as ex­perts said it could have caused more fa­tal­i­ties than those used in the 7/7 at­tacks in Lon­don in 2005.

The im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice, which was con­tained in a 10-litre plas­tic bucket, ex­ploded on a Dis­trict Line tube, as hun­dreds of com­muters made their way into the cen­tre of the cap­i­tal.

But mer­ci­fully, thanks to the in­com­pe­tence of the bomber, the main ex­plo­sive charge failed to go off when the de­vice was pre­ma­turely ac­ti­vated as the train sat at Par­sons Green sta­tion in west Lon­don.

The bomb was con­tained in a white bucket, which was dis­guised in a plas­tic cool bag from the su­per­mar­ket, Lidl.

It also ap­peared to have been cov­ered with a black cloth, per­haps to try to mask the smell from any chem­i­cals con­tained in the bucket and dis­guise what was in­side.

Images of the de­vice, taken by quick-think­ing pas­sen­gers, showed a string of Christ­mas fairy lights pro­trud­ing from the top of the bucket, which one expert sug­gested could have been used as part of a crude timer mech­a­nism.

The lights, which would be at­tached to a bat­tery and could be set to flash in­ter­mit­tently, would be used to de­liver a charge into the det­o­na­tor.

The­o­ret­i­cally the bomber could have set the lights to flash on a de­lay, giv­ing him­self a short win­dow in which to es­cape be­fore the de­vice det­o­nated. But it is thought the det­o­na­tor, usu­ally made up of volatile ma­te­ri­als, burst into flames pre­ma­turely, per­haps as a re­sult of fric­tion within the de­vice caused by the mov­ing train.

David Vide­cette, a for­mer Met counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer who in­ves­ti­gated the 7/7 at­tacks, said the IED ap­peared to have many sim­i­lar­i­ties with pre­vi­ous de­vices.

He said: “In terms of scale this is big­ger than the de­vices used in 7/7, so had it gone off suc­cess­fully it would have caused huge loss of life.

“Who­ever built this was not an am­a­teur – it has many of the hall­marks of de­vices used by ter­ror groups, but the use of the timer to set off the ini­tial part of the de­vice is some­thing we have not seen be­fore in the UK.”

For­tu­nately the fire­ball from the det­o­na­tor did not set off the main charge, pos­si­bly be­cause the bomber failed to get the cor­rect mix of chem­i­cals needed in or­der to com­plete the chain re­ac­tion needed for an ex­plo­sion.

Will Ged­des, a ter­ror­ism expert, said: “My sus­pi­cion is that Par­sons Green was not the in­tended tar­get. Un­less a per­son knows it, it is not go­ing to mean a great deal to you – if it was Padding­ton or Not­ting Hill, they are in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised names.”

Sources said the bomb was packed with shrap­nel, in­clud­ing nuts, bolts and nails to cause max­i­mum dev­as­ta­tion when it ex­ploded. (© Daily Tele­graph, Lon­don)

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