Mother of Satan Tube bomber

» Po­lice hunt ter­ror­ists af­ter 29 are in­jured in London rush-hour fire­ball » Threat level raised to crit­i­cal as troops are brought on to the streets

Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY TOM PETTIFOR

TER­ROR­ISTS who tried to blow up a packed Tube train are be­ing hunted by po­lice.

The bucket bomb – said to be made from an ex­plo­sive dubbed “Mother of Satan” – ig­nited dur­ing the rush hour at Par­sons Green, West London, in­jur­ing 29.

But one ter­ror ex­pert said: “It could have been a lot worse.”

Last night the ter­ror threat was raised to crit­i­cal and troops were brought in to help po­lice.

EX­PERTS be­lieve the bucket bomb that ig­nited on a packed rush-hour Tube train yes­ter­day could have killed dozens had it det­o­nated prop­erly.

The crude de­vice, be­lieved to have been made with the ex­plo­sive TATP – known as “Mother of Satan” – is thought to have burst into flames pre­ma­turely.

But it sent a “wall of fire” through the Dis­trict Line car­riage, leav­ing 29 peo­ple in­jured.

A ma­jor man­hunt was un­der way for the bombers last night as the ter­ror threat was raised to the high­est level of crit­i­cal – mean­ing another at­tack may be “im­mi­nent”.

One ex­pert said the bomb, which ig­nited at Par­sons Green sta­tion, West London, was sev­eral times the size of the Manch­ester Arena de­vice that killed 22 in May.

Hamish de Bret­ton-Gor­don, ex-as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of in­tel­li­gence sur­veil­lance for the Min­istry of De­fence, said: “It looks like a pretty un­so­phis­ti­cated de­vice and I think we have been pretty for­tu­nate as it doesn’t seem to have det­o­nated.”

DEV­AS­TAT­ING

He added: “There was quite a big bucket, it looks like it could con­tain 20 litres. That can carry a lot of ex­plo­sives. That size of de­vice could have been dev­as­tat­ing.”

Hun­dreds of po­lice of­fi­cers joined forces with MI5 agents in the hunt for the ter­ror­ists be­hind the at­tack.

And there were fears of another bomb or knife ram­page as the cul­prits re­mained at large.

The blast came as the train pulled into Par­sons Green sta­tion at 8.20am. Ter­ri­fied pas­sen­gers were seen cov­ered in blood with scorched heads, legs, faces and hair as they “ran for their lives” try­ing to es­cape the hor­ror.

The de­vice was in a white builder’s bucket in­side a Lidl foil-lined and seal­able freezer bag which may have been de­signed to keep the highly un­sta­ble in­gre­di­ents cool.

Such a mix­ture can ig­nite if it gets too warm and the heat in­side the packed car­riage may have caused this to hap­pen.

Ter­ror ex­pert Will Ged­des be­lieves the bomb could have been primed to det­o­nate at a dif­fer­ent sta­tion than Par­sons Green. The train is be­lieved to have been head­ing to Up­min­ster in Es­sex or Tower Hill, East London. This would have taken the ser­vice through busy sta­tions in Cen­tral London, in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria and West­min­ster. Mr Ged­des said: “I think it was a pre­ma­ture det­o­na­tion than any­thing else. This could have been a lot worse. They are al­ways go­ing to aim for max­i­mum im­pact.” Last night Theresa May raised the threat level to “crit­i­cal”. This means au­thor­i­ties be­lieve a ter­ror at­tack may be im­mi­nent. It is only the fourth time Bri­tain has been put on the high­est alert level dur­ing the past 11 years. Un­der Op­er­a­tion Tem­perer – last put in place af­ter the Manch­ester at­tack – the Gov­ern­ment will also de­ploy troops to sup­port po­lice.

Mrs May said: “The public will see more armed po­lice on the trans­port net­work and on our streets pro­vid­ing ex­tra pro­tec­tion and this is a pro­por­tion­ate and sen­si­ble step which will pro­vide ex­tra re­as­sur­ance and pro­tec­tion while the in­ves­ti­ga­tion pro­gresses.

“Dur­ing this pe­riod the public should go about their busi­ness in a nor­mal way and as usual be vig­i­lant and co-op­er­ate with the po­lice.

“I said ear­lier that ter­ror­ism is a great chal­lenge of our times but by

stand­ing to­gether we will de­feat it.” Early re­ports claimed the sus­pect had been seen on CCTV but Scot­land Yard re­fused to com­ment on claims the bombers had al­ready been iden­ti­fied.

The de­vice was ap­par­ently put on the train at some point between Wim­ble­don and Par­sons Green. No im­age of the sus­pects were re­leased, sug­gest­ing po­lice may know who they are.

Giv­ing an up­date last night, Met As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mark Row­ley, the coun­try’s most se­nior coun­tert­er­ror­ism of­fi­cer, said: “We are mak­ing ex­cel­lent progress at the mo­ment as we pur­sue our lines of in­quiry to iden­tify, to lo­cate and to ar­rest those re­spon­si­ble.

“This is a very com­plex in­ves­ti­ga­tion which is con­tin­u­ing at speed with the full weight of London’s counter ter­ror­ism polic­ing re­sources, as­sisted by col­leagues from around the coun­try and by our in­tel­li­gence agency part­ners.

“We have hun­dreds of po­lice of­fi­cers trawl­ing though CCTV footage, de­tec­tives have spo­ken to tens of wit­nesses and we have taken a large num­ber of calls to the hot­line from mem­bers of the public.”

He also said the IED had been re­moved and taken it away “for ex­am­i­na­tion by foren­sic sci­en­tists”.

Mr Row­ley added that up to 1,000 po­lice of­fi­cers had been freed up to pro­vide ex­tra safety checks and re­as­sur­ance across the coun­try.

It was the sixth ter­ror at­tack so far in the UK this year and the only one in which no­body has died. There were 36 deaths in the pre­vi­ous atroc­i­ties. Dur­ing the same pe­riod po­lice say they have stopped six other sig­nif­i­cant plots.

NHS Eng­land said 21 vic­tims were still be­ing treated last night in hos­pi­tal.

BUCKET BOMB Crude de­vice on train

SHOCK Woman in­jured in the blast yes­ter­day

HELP Paramedic helps in­jured girl

RES­CUE Fire crews at scene

THE TIMER If re­ports of a timer are true it is a de­par­ture from sui­cide at­tacks SHRAP­NEL? It is not known if ball bear­ings were used as in Manch­ester FAIRY LIGHTS For ig­ni­tion, as in a 2015 bomb plot in which a pres­sure cooker was used THE BUCKET Its sur­vival means chem­i­cals were not mixed prop­erly or ig­ni­tion failed COOLER BAG Used to keep the un­sta­ble de­vice cool and stop it det­o­nat­ing early, but may have over­heated and gone off

IN­SIDE The train car­riage

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