Lon­don­ers re­set as ar­rests made in train bomb­ing

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - WORLD - By Gre­gory Katz

5 LON­DON >> Bri­tish po­lice made an ap­par­ent break­through Saturday in the race-against-time sub­way bomb­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion with what they called a “very sig­nif­i­cant” ar­rest, but the coun­try re­mained on a “crit­i­cal” alert, mean­ing that an­other at­tack is judged im­mi­nent.

Po­lice ar­rested an 18-yearold man in the port of Dover — the main ferry link to France — and then launched a mas­sive armed search in the south­west­ern Lon­don sub­urb of Sun­bury in which they evac­u­ated res­i­dents, es­tab­lished a huge cor­don and im­posed a no-fly zone above the prop­erty be­ing searched.

Po­lice did not say that they had nabbed the man be­lieved to have planted the bomb that par­tially ex­ploded on a crowded Lon­don sub­way train Fri­day morn­ing, but Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd and others said the ar­rest was of ma­jor im­por­tance.

The man is be­ing held un­der the Ter­ror­ism Act and has been brought to Lon­don for ques­tion­ing. His iden­tity is a closely guarded se­cret and po­lice have im­plored the press not to spec­u­late while the in­quiry un­folds. Po­lice said today that a 21-year-old man was ar­rested un­der the Ter­ror­ism Act late Saturday night in Houn­slow in west Lon­don. Two men are now in cus­tody for pos­si­ble roles in the at­tack that in­jured 29 peo­ple. It’s clear that Bri­tain’s po­lice and se­cu­rity ser­vices are still wor­ried. Hun­dreds of soldiers pa­trolled pub­lic ar­eas Saturday, free­ing up po­lice for the bomb­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Rudd said the coun­try’s ter­ror threat level — which was raised Fri­day night to the high­est pos­si­ble level — will stay there un­til the in­de­pen­dent Joint Ter­ror­ism Anal­y­sis Cen­ter is con­vinced the threat of im­mi­nent at­tack has eased. The home­made bomb on the rush-hour train only par­tially det­o­nated — Rudd said it could have been much worse — and there are fears that ac­com­plices may have sim­i­lar de­vices. Ex­perts said the bomb could have caused many fa­tal­i­ties if it had func­tioned prop­erly. Three of the 29 peo­ple in­jured by the blast re­mained hos­pi­tal­ized Saturday. Rudd, frus­trated by the string of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in re­cent months, said of­fi­cials will have to work harder to make bomb com­po­nents more dif­fi­cult to ob­tain. “(We must) “make sure to take all steps that we can to en­sure the sort of ma­te­ri­als that this man was able to col­lect” are harder to find, she said.

Con­fu­sion, fear

The fast-mov­ing in­quiry shifted to the pleas­ant town of Sun­bury, where neigh­bors were or­dered to evac­u­ate im­me­di­ately by po­lice. Mo­j­gan Ja­mali, who lives near the house be­ing searched, said po­lice gave her “one minute” to pack. “I was in my house with my chil­dren and there was a knock at the door from the po­lice. They told me to leave. They said ‘You have one minute to get out of the house and get away,’” she said. “I just got out. I got my three chil­dren and we left the house and the street.” Some neigh­bors were cry­ing and many said they had no idea when they would be able to re­turn to their homes.

Po­lice did not re­veal de­tails about the search, but the pre­cau­tions sug­gested con­cern that there might be ex­plo­sives or vi­o­lent ex­trem­ists on the prop­erty. The Is­lamic State group has claimed one of its units planted the bomb. Se­cu­rity at sea­ports and air­ports had been in­creased af­ter the at­tack. Of­fi­cials have hinted there may be more than one per­son in­volved, but haven’t re­leased de­tails.

Po­lice are comb­ing through closed-cir­cuit TV images and have ex­ten­sively stud­ied the re­mains of the par­tially det­o­nated ex­plo­sive de­vice, which 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 above-ground pas­sage­ways.

The Par­sons Green station re­opened Saturday, restor­ing some nor­malcy to Lon­don’s trans­port network. There was no sign of panic among Lon­don­ers and week­end life con­tin­ued un­de­terred. Pre­mier League soccer games and Lon­don Fash­ion Week pro­ceeded as usual, with an in­creased se­cu­rity pres­ence.

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