UK po­lice make ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ ar­rest in Lon­don sub­way blast

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Gregory Katz The Associated Press

Bri­tish po­lice made a “sig­nif­i­cant” ar­rest Satur­day in the man­hunt for sus­pects a day af­ter the Lon­don sub­way was hit by a par­tially-ex­ploded bomb and launched a heav­ily armed search of a home south­west of Lon­don.

The fast-mov­ing in­quiry into the sub­way blast that wounded 29 peo­ple has shifted to Sun­bury, on the out­skirts of the Bri­tish cap­i­tal, where neigh­bors were evac­u­ated amid the po­lice op­er­a­tion as a pre­cau­tion.

A no-fly zone was es­tab­lished over the area to keep out small planes and drones as po­lice moved in and po­lice cor­dons were put in place to keep the public well away.

No details about the po­lice search were re­leased, but it came af­ter the ar­rest of an 18-year-old man who is be­ing held un­der the Ter­ror­ism Act. The man was ar­rested Satur­day morn­ing by Kent po­lice in the port of Dover on the English Chan­nel.

Dover is a ma­jor ferry port for travel be­tween Bri­tain and France — and it was not clear if the sus­pect was try­ing to board a ferry for France when he was taken into cus­tody.

“We have made a sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion this morn­ing,” Deputy As­sis­tant Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Neil Basu said. But he warned that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was on­go­ing and the ter­ror­ist threat level re­mains at “crit­i­cal,” mean­ing that top Bri­tish se­cu­rity ser­vices be­lieve that an­other at­tack is im­mi­nent.

Basu’s com­ments sug­gested that other danger­ous sus­pects may still be at large.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick called the ar­rest “very sig­nif­i­cant” but said the public should still be vig­i­lant.

The 18-year-old sus­pect hasn’t been charged or iden­ti­fied. Po­lice say he was be­ing brought to a south Lon­don po­lice sta­tion for more ques­tion­ing. Po­lice haven’t said if he is sus­pected of plant­ing the bomb or of play­ing a sup­port­ing role in a pos­si­ble plot.

Author­i­ties had in­creased Bri­tain’s ter­ror­ism threat level to “crit­i­cal” late Fri­day — the high­est pos­si­ble level — af­ter a bomb par­tially ex­ploded on a sub­way train dur­ing the morn­ing rush hour.

Po­lice are comb­ing through closed-cir­cuit TV images and have ex­ten­sively stud­ied the re­mains of the ex­plo­sive de­vice. Images from in­side the sub­way car showed that it was con­tained in a bucket with wires hang­ing out of it and con­cealed in a plas­tic shop­ping bag.

The train hit by the bomber at Par­sons Green sta­tion in south­west Lon­don had video cam­eras in each car, and the Lon­don Un­der­ground net­work has thou­sands of cam­eras at the en­trances to sta­tions and along its labyrinth of sub­ter­ranean and above­ground pas­sage­ways.

Of­fi­cials have hinted there may be more than one per­son in­volved, but haven’t re­leased details in what is termed an on­go­ing and covert in­quiry.

Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said rais­ing the threat level to its high­est point was a “pro­por­tion­ate and sen­si­ble step.” Po­lice called on the public to be vig­i­lant.

The sol­diers will add to the armed po­lice pres­ence Satur­day at public places to de­ter fur­ther at­tacks.

The bomb went off around 8:20 a.m. Fri­day as the Dis­trict Line train, car­ry­ing com­muters from the sub­urbs — in­clud­ing many school chil­dren — was at the Par­sons Green sta­tion. In all, 29 peo­ple were wounded, some with burns, but none of the in­juries were be­lieved to be life-threat­en­ing.

The sta­tion was re­opened Satur­day, of­fi­cials said, restor­ing some nor­malcy to Lon­don’s trans­port net­work af­ter a day of se­vere dis­rup­tion. There was no sign of panic among Lon­don­ers and the week­end life of the mul­ti­cul­tural city con­tin­ued un­de­terred by the raised threat level.

Of­fi­cials said the bomb was in­tended to do grave harm to com­muters. An­a­lysts said the car­nage would have been far worse had the en­tire de­vice ex­ploded.

“They were re­ally lucky with this one. It could have re­ally be­come much worse,” said ter­ror­ism spe­cial­ist Mag­nus Ranstorp of the Swedish De­fense Univer­sity.

The Is­lamic State group claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack, which it said was car­ried out by an af­fil­i­ated unit.

Bri­tain has en­dured four other at­tacks this year, which have killed a to­tal of 36 peo­ple. The other at­tacks in Lon­don — near Par­lia­ment, on Lon­don Bridge and near a mosque in Fins­bury Park in north Lon­don — used ve­hi­cles and knives.

In ad­di­tion, a sui­cide bomber struck a packed con­cert hall in Manch­ester in north­ern Eng­land, killing 22 peo­ple. That at­tack in May also briefly caused the threat level to be set at “crit­i­cal.”

TIM IRELAND — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

A man walks into Par­sons Green sub­way sta­tion af­ter it was re­opened fol­low­ing a ter­ror­ist at­tack on a train at the sta­tion in Lon­don Satur­day. Bri­tish author­i­ties are search­ing for sus­pects in the Lon­don sub­way blast that in­jured more than two dozen peo­ple as hun­dreds of sol­diers are be­ing de­ployed across the coun­try.

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