Bomb fu­elled by ‘Mother of Satan’

Sunday Star-Times - - WORLD - The Times

The crude bomb at Par­sons Green was made from an ex­plo­sive known as ‘‘Mother of Satan’’ and had been filled with nails.

Ex­plo­sives ex­perts said the de­vice, which is be­ing ex­am­ined by Min­istry of De­fence sci­en­tists, was sim­i­lar to the failed bombs in the July 21 at­tacks on the London trans­port net­work in 2005.

The four par­tially ex­ploded de­vices re­cov­ered then were made with tri­ace­tone triper­ox­ide (TATP), which was to be det­o­nated by a booster charge.

The bomb at Par­sons Green is thought to have had a main charge of TATP. Un­like the 2005 de­vices, com­ments, May said: ‘‘I never think it’s help­ful for any­body to spec­u­late on what is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.’’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said yes­ter­day the city ‘‘will never be in­tim­i­dated or de­feated by ter­ror­ism’’.

Khan said the city ‘‘ut­terly con­demns the hideous in­di­vid­u­als who at­tempt to use ter­ror to harm us and de­stroy our way of life’’. How­ever, he added that which were in­tended to be sui­cide bombs, it had a timer.

In 2005, com­muters es­caped largely un­scathed be­cause the bomb mak­ers made ba­sic mis­takes which meant that the de­vices ex­ploded only par­tially.

‘‘There are very few chem­i­cal com­pounds read­ily avail­able to jihadists that can be used to make a high ex­plo­sive, so the main charge will al­most cer­tainly be TATP,’’ said Chris Hunter, a for­mer army bomb dis­posal of­fi­cer.

‘‘This sub­stance is known as the ‘Mother of Satan’. It is su­per­sen­si­tive just af­ter be­ing made and can go off very eas­ily.’’ Lon­don­ers should re­main ‘‘calm and vig­i­lant’’.

Khan at­tended a meet­ing of the gov­ern­ment’s CO­BRA emer­gency com­mit­tee with May.

London has been tar­geted by at­tack­ers sev­eral times this year, with ve­hi­cle at­tacks near Par­lia­ment, on London Bridge and near a mosque in Fins­bury Park.

Ter­ror­ism an­a­lyst Mag­nus Ranstorp, with the Swedish

Com­muters said they heard a ‘‘whoosh’’ and saw a flash fire­ball, in­ter­preted by ex­perts as mean­ing that only the ini­tia­tor or a frac­tion of the main charge had ex­ploded. The bucket con­tain­ing the mix­ture ap­peared to be in­tact and the car­rier bag which it was in was barely dam­aged.

Al-Qaeda and Is­lamic State ter­ror­ists have used TATP in the past, but Lewis Her­ring­ton, ter­ror­ism lec­turer at Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity, said the pres­ence of the timer pointed to a bomber who was not in­tent on mar­tyr­dom. That raises the pos­si­bil­ity of a plan to carry out fur­ther at­tacks. De­fence Uni­ver­sity, said Lon­don­ers were very for­tu­nate be­cause the bomb ap­peared not to have fully det­o­nated.

Af­ter study­ing pho­tos of the de­vice, he said ‘‘it seems that this was hastily put to­gether. Prob­a­bly not very well mixed to­gether’’. Much of the de­vice and its cas­ing re­mained in­tact, which he said would make it easy for po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices to de­ter­mine what chem­i­cals and meth­ods were used.

‘‘They were re­ally lucky with this one. It could have re­ally be­come much worse.’’

Ger­man and French lead­ers say the at­tack has only strength­ened their de­ter­mi­na­tion to in­crease in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion in fight­ing ter­ror­ism.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said af­ter meet­ing with French Prime Min­is­ter Edouard Philippe in Berlin yes­ter­day: ‘‘Our thoughts are of course with the wounded, our thoughts are with the Bri­tish pop­u­la­tion.’’

Philippe said the London bomb and an at­tempt the same day by a knife-wield­ing as­sailant to at­tack a sol­dier at a Paris sub­way in­ter­change ‘‘show how much we col­lec­tively, in France, Bri­tain and also in Ger­many, face a ma­jor threat’’.

‘‘We must find an­swers at na­tional level and all to­gether . to give our fel­low cit­i­zens the great­est pos­si­ble se­cu­rity,’’ in­clud­ing in­tel­li­gence co­op­er­a­tion, he said.

The New York Po­lice De­part­ment has moved ex­tra of­fi­cers, bomb de­tec­tion dogs and heavy weapons teams into the city’s tran­sit sys­tem as a pre­cau­tion fol­low­ing the London bomb­ing. . .

REUTERS REUTERS

Emer­gency ser­vices tend to an in­jured woman fol­low­ing the ex­plo­sion on an Un­der­ground train at Par­sons Green . Staff from a lo­cal Ital­ian restau­rant hand out free pizza and wa­ter to emer­gency ser­vices work­ers near the Par­sons Green tube sta­tion in west London, where 30 peo­ple were in­jured when an ex­plo­sive de­vice went off.

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