One ar­rested in hunt for UK blast mas­ter­mind

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE -

lon­don — Bri­tish po­lice ar­rested an 18-year-old man in the port of Dover and raided a house in a small town out­side Lon­don on Satur­day as they hunted for who­ever planted a bomb on a com­muter train that in­jured 30 peo­ple a day ear­lier.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May put Bri­tain on the high­est se­cu­rity level of “crit­i­cal” late on Fri­day, mean­ing an­other at­tack may be im­mi­nent, and de­ployed sol­diers and armed po­lice to strate­gic lo­ca­tions such as nu­clear plants and de­fence sites.

In what au­thor­i­ties called a “very sig­nif­i­cant” de­vel­op­ment, of­fi­cers ar­rested a man at about 7.50am in Dover, from where pas­sen­ger fer­ries sail to France. Five hours later they raided a prop­erty in Sun­bury, a com­muter town south­west of Lon­don.

lon­don — Bri­tish po­lice made their first ar­rest on Satur­day over the bomb­ing of a Lon­don un­der­ground train, de­tain­ing a man at the coun­try’s main ferry port and de­scrib­ing the de­vel­op­ment as sig­nif­i­cant.

Thirty peo­ple were treated in hos­pi­tal af­ter the bomb det­o­nated in a packed train car­riage on Fri­day morn­ing, in what was Bri­tain’s fifth ter­ror at­tack in six months.

The im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice failed to det­o­nate fully, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports, but the blast in­flicted flash burns on pas­sen­gers while oth­ers fled in panic.

Po­lice in the south­ern port area of Dover said an 18-year-old man had been de­tained and he is due to be trans­ferred to cus­tody in Lon­don.

“This ar­rest will lead to more ac­tiv­ity from our of­fi­cers,” they said in a state­ment, out­lin­ing that the teenager was be­ing held un­der anti-ter­ror leg­is­la­tion.

Fri­day’s in­ci­dent — claimed by the Daesh group — led to the na­tional threat level be­ing raised to crit­i­cal — mean­ing an­other at­tack could be im­mi­nent.

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

In a state­ment, anti-ter­ror­ism chief Mark Row­ley said of­fi­cers were “chas­ing down sus­pects”.

“Some­body has planted this im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice on the Tube. We have to be open-minded at this stage about him and po­ten­tial as­so­ciates,” he said.

The crit­i­cal alert ter­ror warn­ing was last used af­ter the deadly sui­cide at­tack at Manch­ester Arena, also claimed by IS, in May.

Wit­nesses de­scribed chaos af­ter Fri­day’s ex­plo­sion.

Char­lie Craven told AFP he heard a “mas­sive bang” and “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, looked like the type used by builders and there ap­peared to be ca­bles com­ing from it.

The rem­nants of the bomb were ex­am­ined by foren­sic sci­en­tists but no fur­ther de­tails were re­leased.

Bri­tish me­dia re­ported that it had a timer that it had failed to prop­erly det­o­nate.

Po­lice said that they would not re­lease any more de­tails on the man ar­rested at this stage be­cause of “strong in­ves­tiga­tive rea­sons”.

Po­lice of­fi­cers are be­ing de­ployed on the trans­port net­work and on the street across Bri­tain.

Vic­tims were treated in hos­pi­tal al­though health au­thor­i­ties said none were in a se­ri­ous life-threat­en­ing con­di­tion. Only three re­mained in care on Satur­day morn­ing.

Louis Hather, 21, had been trav­el­ling to work and was three car­riages down from where the ex­plo­sion took place.

“I could smell the burn­ing. Like when you burn plas­tic,” he said.

He was tram­pled on as pas­sen­gers stam­peded out of the sta­tion and his leg was badly cut and bruised. —

— AFP

An armed po­lice of­fi­cer stands guard as the House­hold Cav­alry leave the Horse Guards Pa­rade in cen­tral Lon­don on Satur­day.

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