‘Sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest’ in Lon­don train at­tack

18-year-old held, 1,000 troops de­ployed to guard key sites

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Tube at­tack — claimed by Daesh — led to ter­ror threat level be­ing raised to crit­i­cal — mean­ing an­other at­tack could be im­mi­nent.

Bri­tish po­lice made a “sig­nif­i­cant” ar­rest yes­ter­day in the man­hunt for sus­pects a day after the Lon­don sub­way was hit by a par­tially ex­ploded bomb and launched a heav­ily armed search of a home south­west of Lon­don.

The fast-mov­ing in­quiry into the sub­way blast that wounded 30 peo­ple has shifted to Sun­bury, on the out­skirts of the Bri­tish cap­i­tal, where neigh­bours were evac­u­ated amid the po­lice op­er­a­tion as a pre­cau­tion.

The po­lice search came after the ar­rest of an 18-yearold who is be­ing held un­der the Ter­ror­ism Act. He was ar­rested by Kent po­lice in the port of Dover on the English Chan­nel. “This ar­rest will lead to more ac­tiv­ity from our of­fi­cers,” said a state­ment. Anti-ter­ror­ism chief Mark Row­ley said on Fri­day that of­fi­cers were “chas­ing down sus­pects”.

Dover is a ma­jor ferry port for travel be­tween Bri­tain and France — and it was not clear if the sus­pect was try­ing to board a ferry for France when he was taken into cus­tody.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May an­nounced that troops — 1,000 were de­ployed — would take on re­spon­si­bil­ity for guard­ing key sites, in­clud­ing nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties, to free up po­lice.

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,” said Neil Basu, Se­nior Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Counter Ter­ror­ism Polic­ing.

“Although we are pleased with the progress made, this in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ues and the threat level re­mains at crit­i­cal.” 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 Daesh.

Bri­tain de­ployed hun­dreds of sol­diers at strate­gic sites such as nu­clear power plants and Min­istry of De­fence sites on Satur­day 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. Be­fore 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.” Daesh has claimed other at­tacks in Bri­tain this year, in­clud­ing two in Lon­don and at the pop con­cert in Manchester.

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

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

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 Co­or­di­na­tor for Counter Ter­ror­ism Polic­ing

Reuters

Cres­sida Dick, Metropoli­tan Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, chats with peo­ple as she walks along the South­bank in Lon­don, a day after the blast in the Tube train.

AFP

Com­muters walk out­side Par­sons Green sta­tion, which was re­opened in the early hours yes­ter­day.

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