UK makes ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ ar­rest in train bomb­ing

Man, 18, was ar­rested in Dover, which has fer­ries to France

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - NATION + WORLD - By Gre­gory Katz

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-year-old 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. Author­i­ties would not say if they thought the man was try­ing to flee to France on a Dover ferry.

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.

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 gave many shel­ter and food at a nearby sports club.

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 sus­pects.

JONATHAN BRADY — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Po­lice foren­sic of­fi­cers en­ter a home Satur­day in Sun­bury-on-Thames, south­west Lon­don, as part of the investigation into Fri­day’s sub­way train bomb­ing. The man­hunt for the bombers con­tin­ues.

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