Find the ‘Mother of Satan’ bomber

29 in­jured in rush-hour fire­ball on packed Lon­don train car­riage

Daily Record - - FRONT PAGE - TOM PETTIFOR

DE­TEC­TIVES were rac­ing against time last night to hunt down an Isis maniac who tried to blow up a rush hour Lon­don Tube train with a bomb dubbed the “Mother of Satan”.

The ex­plo­sive, which was placed in a bucket in­side a

shop­ping bag sent a “wall of fire” through the Dis­trict Line train car­riage, leav­ing 29 peo­ple in­jured.

The crude de­vice was be­lieved to have been made with the ex­plo­sive TATP.

The UK’s ter­ror threat was raised to crit­i­cal last night, mean­ing another at­tack may be im­mi­nent.

One ex­pert said the bomb, which burst into flames at Par­sons Green sta­tion in south-west Lon­don, was sev­eral times the size of the Manch­ester Arena de­vice that killed 22 peo­ple in May.

Hamish de Bret­ton-Gor­don, ex-as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of in­tel­li­gence sur­veil­lance at 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.”

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 des­per­ate hunt for the ter­ror­ist – or ter­ror cell – be­hind the blast.

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

The bomb 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 bomb in­gre­di­ents cool.

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

It went off as the train pulled into Par­sons Green 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.

Armed po­lice, paramedics and 50 fire­fight­ers were re­port­edly at the scene within five min­utes.

Ter­ror ex­pert Will Ged­des be­lieves the bomb could have been primed to go off at a dif­fer­ent sta­tion.

The train is be­lieved to have been head­ing to Up­min­ster in Es­sex or Tower Hill, east Lon­don.

This would have taken it through busy sta­tions in Cen­tral Lon­don such as Vic­to­ria and West­min­ster.

Ged­des said: “I think it was a pre­ma­ture det­o­na­tion more than any­thing else. This could have been a lot worse. They are al­ways go­ing to aim for max­i­mum im­pact.” Early re­ports claimed the sus­pect had been seen on CCTV but Scot­land Yard re­fused to com­ment on claims the bomber had al­ready been iden­ti­fied. The sus­pect is thought to have got on the Tube with the de­vice at some point be­tween Wim­ble­don and Par­sons Green. No im­age of the sus­pect was re­leased, sug­gest­ing po­lice may know who he or she is. Mayor Sadiq Khan urged Londoners to show vig­i­lance, say­ing: “There is a man­hunt un­der way as we speak.” Scot­land Yard said de­tec­tives are mak­ing “fast-time” in­quiries to es­tab­lish who was re­spon­si­ble,

adding that there had been no ar­rests. Mark Row­ley, the coun­try’s most se­nior counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer, said “many ur­gent in­quiries” were on­go­ing.

Asked whether the ter­ror­ist was on the train at the time the bomb ig­nited, he said: “It’s very much a live in­ves­ti­ga­tion and we are fol­low­ing down the lines of in­quiry.”

Last night, Theresa May raised the threat level to “crit­i­cal”, mean­ing the mil­i­tary will be put on the streets to sup­port the po­lice.

It is only the fourth time Bri­tain has been put on the high­est alert level in the past 11 years.

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 co­op­er­ate with the po­lice.

“I said ear­lier that ter­ror­ism is a great chal­lenge of our times but by stand­ing to­gether, we will de­feat it.”

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.

Po­lice say they have stopped six other sig­nif­i­cant plots dur­ing the same pe­riod.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors were last night comb­ing through thou­sands of hours of CCTV footage from the Lon­don Un­der­ground and images taken by wit­nesses in ef­forts to trace the bomber. Us­ing im­age recog­ni­tion soft­ware, they were com­par­ing pic­tures of the sus­pect with those of more than 3500 ex­trem­ists on the MI5 ter­ror watch list. Foren­sic of­fi­cers were ex­am­in­ing the de­vice in an at­tempt to match any po­ten­tial DNA and fin­ger­prints with known sus­pects. Row­ley added: “We are mak­ing ex­cel­lent progress at the mo­ment as we pur­sue our lines of en­quiry 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 wit­nesses and we have taken a large num­ber of calls to the hot­line from mem­bers of the public.

“Mem­bers of the public have sent in 77 images and videos they have taken of the scene which they have sent in to our ap­peal web­site and these are be­ing as­sessed for ev­i­den­tial value.”

He also said the IED had been re­moved and taken away “for ex­am­i­na­tion by foren­sic sci­en­tists” and added up to 1000 po­lice of­fi­cers had been freed up to pro­vide ex­tra safety checks and re­as­sur­ance.

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

EX­PLO­SIVE The bucket bomb

NIGHT­MARE A ban­daged pas­sen­ger and other wounded and shocked vic­tims, right. Above, 999 crews at scene and man’s burnt head, above right

HOME­MADE AND HELLISH The crude de­vice was in white bucket and Lidl bag AF­TER­MATH Bucket and de­bris can be seen on car­riage ON GUARD Of­fi­cer on the train tar­geted by ter­ror­ist FORCE Armed of­fi­cers in gas masks, top, and mem­bers of spe­cial­ist ter­ror re­sponse team

IN­QUIRY The Met’s Mark

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