LONDON TRAIN BLAST SUSPECT IS ARRESTED
▶ Man, 18, detained at Dover ferry terminal to Europe over bombing
British police arrested an 18-year-old man yesterday over Friday’s terrorist attack on a London commuter train.
Scotland Yard said that the man was arrested in the “port area” of Dover, suggesting that he was trying to leave Britain rather than being a resident of the town.
“We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning,” said Neil Basu, the national police counter-terrorist co-ordinator.
The force declined to give details about the man who was detained after hundreds of detectives scoured security camera footage from the train and the transport network.
ISIL has claimed responsibility for the blast on Friday that injured at least 29 people.
Despite the arrest, Mr Basu said that the threat level remained at critical, meaning that a further attack may be imminent. Prime minister Theresa May announced the upgrading of the terror threat on Friday in light of the attack.
She said military personnel would take over guard duty at certain closed “protected sites”, freeing up 1,000 police officers for duties on the transport network and on Britain’s streets.
The country was last on critical alert after the bombing at a concert in Manchester in May, which was also claimed by ISIL.
Last night, senior police said that they were open-minded about who planted the device and whether he had associates.
The National Health Service said 29 people had been treated in hospital, many suffering from flash burns, while others were trampled as they ran away from the explosion at Parsons Green tube station in west London during the peak of the morning rush-hour at 8.20am.
Commuters reported a “fireball” shooting down the train with the blast ripping the clothing from some victims. Children were separated from their carers in the chaos, witness Luke Walmsley told Sky News.
Ryan Barnett, 25, who was at the station, said hundreds of people ran past him off the train screaming “get off the train” and “everyone run”.
“It is absolute chaos, it was quite scary because at one stage we thought we might be trapped there – I heard a pregnant woman lost her shoes and had fallen over.”
Pictures on social media showed flames from a white bucket left close to the door of a tube train, but the failure of the device to properly detonate appears to have limited the number of deaths and injuries.
The bucket appeared to have wires from it, but there was no indication of significant damage in the carriage. Experts said that it appeared to be a crude device along the lines of those used in the Boston marathon bombing in 2013.
Mrs May chaired a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee. She called the incident a “cowardly attack”.
“My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident,” she said.
The apparent failure of the device to detonate fully, leaving evidence intact, will be a significant help to investigators trying to identify the individual, or the cell, behind the attack.
With a suspected bomber on the run, British Transport Police called on people to report any suspicious activity.
Andy Trotter, a former BTP chief constable, said security cameras on the train, stations and across the network meant there was an “excellent chance of them picking up the person responsible”.
Scotland Yard declined to comment on claims by US president Donald Trump that the unidentified bomber was known to the force. “These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard,” he said on Twitter. “Must be proactive!”
Britain has suffered four terrorist attacks this year that have killed 36 people.
More than 50 people were killed in a series of co-ordinated attacks on the London transport system in 2005.
Emergency services were quickly at the Parsons Green tube station in west London, where the device was detonated