London train at­tack sus­pect ar­rested

The Philippine Star - - WORLD -

LONDON – Bri­tish po­lice raced yes­ter­day to track down who­ever planted a bomb on a packed London Un­der­ground train as au­thor­i­ties raised the na­tional threat level to max­i­mum, mean­ing another at­tack may be im­mi­nent.

The Kent po­lice say they have ar­rested an 18-year-old man in the port area of Dover on the English Chan­nel.

“We have made a sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Neil Basu, se­nior na­tional co­or­di­na­tor for counter ter­ror­ism, said in a state­ment. “Although we are pleased with the progress made, this in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues and the threat level re­mains at crit­i­cal.”

Fri­day morn­ing’s blast, which left 29 peo­ple in­jured, was Bri­tain’s fifth ter­ror at­tack in six months and was claimed by the Is­lamic State group.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May an­nounced late Fri­day that the threat level had been raised to “crit­i­cal,” and said troops would take over guard­ing key sites to free po­lice of­fi­cers for de­ploy­ment else­where.

The ex­plo­sion at Par­sons Green sta­tion in south­west London sparked a “wall of fire” that left pas­sen­gers with burns and caused a stam­pede of pan­ick­ing peo­ple in which some were tram­pled.

Anti-ter­ror­ism po­lice chief Mark Row­ley said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was mak­ing “re­ally good progress.”

“We’re chas­ing down sus­pects,” he told re­porters. “Some­body has planted this im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice on the Tube. We have to be open-minded at this stage about him and po­ten­tial as­so­ciates.”

May said mil­i­tary per­son­nel would take over guard duty at cer­tain closed “pro­tected sites,” free­ing up 1,000 po­lice of­fi­cers to be de­ployed on the trans­port net­work and on streets across Bri­tain.

The coun­try was last on crit­i­cal alert af­ter the bomb­ing at a con­cert in Manch­ester in May, which was also claimed by the IS group.

In a state­ment Fri­day, the group said an IS “de­tach­ment” had car­ried out the London at­tack.

Row­ley ear­lier said most of the in­juries were due to “flash burns,” while others were wounded as pas­sen­gers ran out of the sta­tion in panic.

Wit­ness Char­lie Craven told AFP he heard a “mas­sive bang,” adding: “I saw an or­ange sort of fire­ball en­com­pass­ing the whole Tube com­ing to­wards you.”

Another, Lau­ren Hub­bard, de­scribed it as “a wall of fire.” Twit­ter user @Rrigs posted pic­tures of a white bucket smoul­der­ing on the train and de­scribed how a “fire­ball flew down car­riage and we just jumped out open door.”

The bucket, which was in­side a frozen food bag from the bud­get su­per­mar­ket chain Lidl, looked like the type used by builders and there ap­peared to be ca­bles com­ing out of it.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said that “loser ter­ror­ists” were be­hind the at­tack, adding that they were al­ready “in the sights” of Bri­tish po­lice.

London’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice dis­missed the tweet as “un­help­ful spec­u­la­tion,” while May also re­buked him.

“I never think it’s help­ful for any­body to spec­u­late on what is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” she said, speak­ing af­ter an emer­gency meet­ing of se­nior min­is­ters.

May said the de­vice was clearly in­tended to cause sig­nif­i­cant harm, con­demn­ing it as a “cow­ardly at­tack.”

Speak­ing on Fri­day evening, Row­ley said the rem­nants of the bomb were be­ing ex­am­ined by foren­sic sci­en­tists.

Bri­tish me­dia re­ported that it had a timer but failed to det­o­nate fully. Hans Michels, a pro­fes­sor of chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing at Im­pe­rial Col­lege, said the flash flame “sug­gests that the ex­plo­sion was only partly suc­cess­ful.”

AP

A man walks into Par­sons Green sub­way sta­tion af­ter it was re­opened yes­ter­day fol­low­ing a ter­ror­ist at­tack on a train that hurt 29 per­sons Fri­day.

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