Man­hunt af­ter Un­der­ground bomb at­tack

At­tack: Hos­pi­tals treat 29 peo­ple af­ter fire­ball rips through car­riage

The Press and Journal (Highlands & Islands) - - FRONT PAGE -

A man­hunt has been launched af­ter a bomb was det­o­nated in a ter­ror at­tack on a packed Lon­don Un­der­ground train. Wit­nesses de­scribed scenes of ter­ror and panic as the blast sent a “fire­ball” and a “wall of flame” through a Dis­trict line ser­vice at Par­sons Green, west Lon­don.

Bri­tain is on crit­i­cal ter­ror alert with mil­i­tary troops set to bol­ster po­lice forces in the hunt for the Par­sons Green bomber.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May raised the threat level to the high­est pos­si­ble rat­ing, mean­ing an­other at­tack is ex­pected im­mi­nently.

A man­hunt is un­der way af­ter the im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice sent a fire­ball through a packed Lon­don Un­der­ground train car­riage in south-west Lon­don, dur­ing yes­ter­day morn­ing’s rush hour.

The Is­lamic State (IS) ter­ror group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack through its Amaq news agency, ac­cord­ing to the US-based Site In­tel­li­gence.

Rita Katz, the di­rec­tor of Site, said IS claimed the bomb­ing was the work of a “de­tach­ment” rather than sim­ply a “sol­dier”, which she said im­plied it was a co-or­di­nated at­tack.

Last night As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mark Row­ley, the coun­try’s most se­nior counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer, said that bring­ing in the mil­i­tary would mean 1,000 ex­tra po­lice of­fi­cers would be on the streets over the week­end, in Lon­don and else­where.

He added that the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was mak­ing “ex­cel­lent progress” and urged mem­bers of the public to “act on their in­stinct” if they saw any­thing con­cern­ing, and “not to hes­i­tate” to call.

A to­tal of 29 pa­tients needed hospi­tal treat­ment, with a num­ber of those hurt suf­fer­ing from burns.

As Bri­tain faced up to an­other ter­ror­ist in­ci­dent, fol­low­ing four at­tacks al­ready this year, images emerged on so­cial me­dia ap­pear­ing to show wires pro­trud­ing from a flam­ing bucket in­side a plas­tic Lidl car­rier bag on the floor of a car­riage. Re­ports sug­gested the de­vice had a timer.

“I heard a boom and there were flames all around”

Scot­land Yard and the prime min­is­ter re­buked US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump over his claim the Par­sons Green Tube bomber was “in the sights” of Scot­land Yard.

Po­lice sus­pect the ex­plo­sion was sparked when an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice was det­o­nated, and launched a huge coun­tert­er­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tion along­side MI5.

The de­vice was be­ing foren­si­cally ex­am­ined while de­tec­tives scoured CCTV and ex­am­ined wit­ness state­ments for po­ten­tial leads. Po­lice were called at 8.20am fol­low­ing re­ports of a fire on the train as it pulled in to the sta­tion.

Emer­gency ser­vices in­clud­ing armed po­lice went to the scene and cor­doned off the sta­tion.

Syl­vain Pen­nec, a soft­ware devel­oper from South­fields, near Wim­ble­don, was about 10 me­tres from the source of the ex­plo­sion when fire filled the car­riage.

“I heard a boom and when I looked there were flames all around,” he said.

“Peo­ple started to run but we were lucky to be stop­ping at Par­sons Green as the door started to open.”

He de­scribed the scene of panic as com­muters strug­gled to es­cape the car­riage, “col­laps­ing and push­ing” each other.

He stayed to take a closer look at what he be­lieved was the source of the blast. “It looked like a bucket of may­on­naise,” he said.

Chris Wild­ish, who was on the train, said he saw a “de­vice” in the last car­riage. He said: “Flames were still com­ing out of it when I saw it and had a lot of wires hang­ing out of it.”

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.”

The Press and Jour­nal’s north news edi­tor Sarah Bruce was in west Lon­don and wit­nessed the re­sponse of the emer­gency ser­vices.

“I saw he­li­copters and po­lice cars – I thought there had been a rob­bery be­cause po­lice were out­side a bank at Ful­ham Broad­way, but then some­one told me what had hap­pened.”

Author­i­ties have foiled 19 plots since mid-2013.

RE­SPONSE: Fire­fight­ers ar­rive at Par­sons Green sta­tion af­ter the ex­plo­sion on the Lon­don Un­der­ground dur­ing rush hour yes­ter­day

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