Po­lice ar­rest man in hunt for Lon­don bombers

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Bri­tain is on high­est se­cu­rity level while sol­diers, armed po­lice de­ployed to se­cure strate­gic sites and hunt down per­pe­tra­tors

LON­DON: Bri­tish po­lice ar­rested an 18-year-old man in the south­ern port of Dover yes­ter­day in a ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ de­vel­op­ment in the hunt for the peo­ple be­hind a Lon­don com­muter train bomb­ing that in­jured 30 peo­ple a day ear­lier.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May put Bri­tain on the high­est se­cu­rity level of ‘crit­i­cal’ late on Fri­day, mean­ing an at­tack may be im­mi­nent, and sol­diers and armed po­lice de­ployed to se­cure strate­gic sites and hunt down the per­pe­tra­tors.

The home-made bomb shot flames through a packed com­muter train dur­ing the Fri­day morn­ing rush hour in west Lon­don but ap­par­ently failed to det­o­nate fully.

“We have made a sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion this morn­ing. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues and the threat level re­mains at crit­i­cal,” said Neil Basu, Se­nior Na­tional Co-or­di­na­tor for Counter Ter­ror­ism Polic­ing.

The ar­rest was made in the port area of Dover, where pas­sen­ger fer­ries sail to France.

The blast on the Lon­don tube train at the Par­sons Green un­der­ground sta­tion was the fifth ma­jor ter­ror­ism at­tack in Bri­tain this year and was claimed by Is­lamic State.

Bri­tain de­ployed hun­dreds of sol­diers at strate­gic sites such as nu­clear power plants and min­istry of de­fence sites yes­ter­day to free up armed po­lice to help in the hunt for those be­hind the bomb­ing.

The last time Bri­tain was put on ‘crit­i­cal’ alert was after a man killed 22 peo­ple at an Ari­ana Grande con­cert in Manchester in May. Prior to that it had not been trig­gered since 2007.

“For this pe­riod, mil­i­tary per­son­nel will re­place po­lice of­fi­cers on guard du­ties at cer­tain pro­tected sites,” May said in a tele­vised state­ment.

“The pub­lic will see more armed po­lice on the trans­port net­work and on our streets pro­vid­ing ex­tra pro­tec­tion. This is a pro­por­tion­ate and sen­si­ble step which will pro­vide ex­tra re­as­sur­ance and pro­tec­tion while the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­gresses.”

The bomb struck as pas­sen­gers were trav­el­ling to the cen­tre of the Bri­tish cap­i­tal. Some suf­fered burns and oth­ers were in­jured in a stam­pede to es­cape from the sta­tion, one of the above-ground stops on the un­der­ground net­work. Health of­fi­cials said none was thought to be in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

Pic­tures taken at the scene 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.

“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, who was on the train, told Reuters.

“There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames.”

The Is­lamic State mil­i­tant group have claimed other at­tacks in Bri­tain this year, in­clud­ing two in Lon­don and the pop con­cert in Manchester.

It was not im­me­di­ately pos­si­ble to ver­ify the claim about Par­sons Green, for which Is­lamic State’s news agency Amaq of­fered no ev­i­dence.

West­ern in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have ques­tioned sim­i­lar claims in the past, say­ing that while Is­lamic State’s ji­hadist ide­ol­ogy may have in­spired some at­tack­ers, there is scant ev­i­dence that it has or­ches­trated at­tacks. — Reuters

We have made a sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion this morn­ing. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues and the threat level re­mains at crit­i­cal. — Neil Basu, Se­nior Na­tional Co-or­di­na­tor for Counter Ter­ror­ism Polic­ing

Po­lice of­fi­cers and snif­fer dogs walk near Par­sons Green tube sta­tion in Lon­don. — Reuters photo

Emer­gency ser­vices tend to an in­jured wo­man fol­low­ing a blast on an un­der­ground train at Par­sons Green tube sta­tion. — Reuters photo

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