Pan­icked pas­sen­gers fled

De­vice has hall­marks of ear­lier blast bids

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

Armed po­lice gather near to Par­sons Green sta­tion yes­ter­day morn­ing.

JAMES HAMIL­TON

Foren­sic of­fi­cers be­gin their search for clues at the crime scene. Mark Row­ley, the coun­try’s most se­nior counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer, said “many ur­gent in­quiries” are on­go­ing.

He said: “We now as­sess this was a det­o­na­tion of an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice.”

Asked if it was clear whether the per­son re­spon­si­ble was on the train at the time, Mr Row­ley said: “It’s very much a live in­ves­ti­ga­tion and we are fol­low­ing down the lines of in­quiry.”

Mr Row­ley said Lon­don­ers can ex­pect to see an “en­hanced po­lice pres­ence”.

The blast comes with the UK on high alert fol­low­ing four ter­ror­ist at­tacks so far this year.

Au­thor­i­ties have foiled 19 plots since the mid­dle of 2013, in­clud­ing six since the West­min­ster atroc­ity in March.

The in­ci­dent comes a day af­ter fig­ures showed ter­ror­re­lated ar­rests in Bri­tain have hit a record high, with sus­pects held at a rate of more than one ev­ery day.

Po­lice and MI5 are run­ning 500 in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­volv­ing 3,000 in­di­vid­u­als at any one time, while 20,000 for­mer “sub­jects of in­ter­est” are kept un­der re­view.

As of 5.30pm yes­ter­day, NHS Eng­land said it was now treat­ing 21 pa­tients. Eight oth­ers were dis­charged ear­lier in the day.

The ex­plo­sion oc­curred on an S-Stock train which can carry more than 800 pas­sen­gers.

The S-Stock were the first Tube trains to have walk­through car­riages to boost ca­pac­ity when they were in­tro­duced to the net­work in 2010. in­stead bore echoes of the case of Da­mon Smith, 20, who was jailed for 15 years in May af­ter leav­ing a home-made bomb in a ruck­sack con­tain­ing ball bear­ings on a Ju­bilee Line train.

Smith, who had autism and was not mo­ti­vated by ter­ror­ism, cre­ated the bomb af­ter find­ing an al Qaida guide online.

Mr Her­ring­ton said such guides could be found within “10 sec­onds” through search en­gines.

Chem­istry ex­pert Pro­fes­sor Hans Michels said there were sim­i­lar­i­ties with the failed at­tempts to bomb the Tube on July 21 2005.

The Pro­fes­sor of Safety En­gi­neer­ing, from the Depart­ment of Chem­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing at Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don, said: “In ap­pear­ance and ar­range­ment the rem­nants of the de­vice seem highly sim­i­lar to those of the hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide­based de­vices of 2005.

“The size of the de­vice and its con­tain­ment in a plas­tic bucket is also the same. The flash flame re­ported sug­gest the ‘ex­plo­sion’ was only partly suc­cess­ful. In par­tic­u­lar much of the bucket still seems to be in­tact and there ap­pear to be no vic­tims with lethal im­pact wounds.

“I must spec­u­late the mix­ture was not of the right com­po­si­tion or the ig­ni­tion sys­tem was in­ad­e­quate or not prop­erly placed. That much of the bucket is in­tact sup­ports the lat­ter pos­si­bil­ity.”

The in­ci­dent sparked a huge re­sponse from the emer­gency ser­vices.

A pic­ture taken by a pas­sen­ger shows a bucket on fire fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent which po­lice de­clared a ter­ror­ist at­tack.

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