Cops ar­rest sus­pected bomber

Bri­tish PM raises na­tion’s se­cu­rity level to ‘crit­i­cal’ af­ter at­tack on train

The Star Malaysia - - World -

LON­DON: Bri­tish po­lice have ar­rested an 18-year-old man in the south­ern port of Dover in a “sig­nif­i­cant” de­vel­op­ment in the hunt for the cul­prits 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 Fri­day, mean­ing an at­tack may be im­mi­nent, and de­ployed sol­diers and armed po­lice to se­cure strate­gic sites and hunt down the per­pe­tra­tors.

In the fifth ma­jor ter­ror­ism at­tack in Bri­tain this year, 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.

The mil­i­tant group Is­lamic State (IS) claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We have made a sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion this morn­ing,” said Neil Basu, Se­nior Na­tional Co-or­di­na­tor for Counter Ter­ror­ism Polic­ing.

“This ar­rest will lead to more ac­tiv­ity from our of­fi­cers,” he said, sug­gest­ing there could be more ar­rests and house raids to come.

“For strong in­ves­tiga­tive rea­sons we will not give any more de­tails on the man we ar­rested at this stage.”

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

Ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, the bomb was at­tached to a timer un­like 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.

The Par­sons Green sta­tion where the at­tack took place re­opened yes­ter­day morn­ing.

Armed po­lice pa­trolled the streets of Lon­don near gov­ern­ment de­part­ments in West­min­ster and are ex­pected to guard the Premier League foot­ball grounds host­ing matches, in­clud­ing the na­tional sta­dium of Wem­b­ley.

In the en­ter­tain­ment and cul­tural district on the south bank of the Thames, Cres­sida Dick, Bri­tain’s top po­lice of­fi­cer, sought to re­as­sure the pub­lic and tourists as she joined col­leagues pa­trolling the area.

“Yes­ter­day, we saw a cow­ardly and in­dis­crim­i­nate at­tack which could have re­sulted in many lives be­ing lost,” she said. “Lon­don has not stopped af­ter other ter­ri­ble at­tacks and it will not stop af­ter this one.”

The last time Bri­tain was put on “crit­i­cal” alert was af­ter a sui­cide bomber killed 22 peo­ple, in­clud­ing chil­dren, at an Ari­ana Grande con­cert in Manch­ester in May.

The threat level re­mained at the high­est set­ting for four days while of­fi­cers raced to es­tab­lish if the man had worked alone or with the help of oth­ers. Prior to that it had not been trig­gered since 2007.

May also said the pub­lic should not be alarmed by armed of­fi­cers on the streets, a rare sight in Bri­tain.

“This is a pro­por­tion­ate and sen­si­ble step which will pro­vide ex­tra re­as­sur­ance and pro­tec­tion while the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­gresses,” she said in a tele­vised state­ment late Fri­day.

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 is thought to be in se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

With Bri­tain on high alert af­ter a spate of at­tacks this sum­mer, wit­nesses re­called their horror.

“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, said.

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

IS has 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 IS’ news agency Amaq of­fered no ev­i­dence.

Western in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials have ques­tioned sim­i­lar claims in the past, say­ing that while IS ide­ol­ogy may have in­spired some at­tack­ers, there is scant ev­i­dence that it has or­ches­trated at­tacks.

— Reuters

Back in op­er­a­tion: Com­muters wait­ing for their train at the Par­sons Green sta­tion a day af­ter a bomb went off on a rush-hour train there.

— Reuters

Like a nor­mal day: Dick and her of­fi­cers pa­trolling the en­ter­tain­ment and cul­tural district on the south bank of the Thames.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.