Progress made in bomb­ing in­quiry

Tampa Bay Times - - Front Page -

Bri­tish po­lice say that they have made a “sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest” in Fri­day’s at­tack.

LON­DON — Bri­tish po­lice said Satur­day that they had ar­rested an 18-year-old man in con­nec­tion with the ter­ror­ist ex­plo­sion in a Lon­don sub­way sta­tion that in­jured at least 30 peo­ple and un­leashed panic among flee­ing pas­sen­gers.

The sus­pect was de­tained in the port area of Dover, in the south­east­ern county of Kent. Po­lice said he would be trans­ferred to a South Lon­don po­lice sta­tion.

“We have made a sig­nif­i­cant ar­rest in our in­ves­ti­ga­tion this morn­ing,” Deputy As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Neil Basu, the top coun­tert­er­ror­ism of­fi­cial at the Metropoli­tan Po­lice in Lon­don, said in a state­ment. The sus­pect was not iden­ti­fied fur­ther.

The Is­lamic State claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the blast Fri­day in a state­ment that said “a de­tach­ment” of its mil­i­tants had car­ried out the at­tack.

Bri­tain raised its ter­ror threat level to “crit­i­cal,” the high­est level, after the ex­plo­sion, mean­ing that an­other as­sault was “ex­pected im­mi­nently.” Basu said Satur­day that the threat level would re­main that way as the in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ued.

Ben Wal­lace, the se­cu­rity min­is­ter, told the BBC’s To­day ra­dio pro­gram that the home­made de­vice used in the at­tack had con­tained tri­ace­tone triper­ox­ide, or TATP, an ex­plo­sive sim­i­lar to the one used in the Manchester Arena bomb­ing in May.

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice said a ma­jor hunt was still un­der way for any other sus­pects con­nected to the sub­way bomb­ing. Po­lice in Kent warned res­i­dents in a state­ment on Twit­ter to ex­pect more of­fi­cers and “mil­i­tary per­son­nel” on the streets. Hun­dreds of sol­diers have been de­ployed across strate­gic sites, the Metropoli­tan Po­lice said.

Dover, about 75 miles from Lon­don, is one of the main ports on the English Chan­nel for ferry ser­vices link­ing Bri­tain with main­land Europe.

As part of the bomb­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, armed of­fi­cers on Satur­day were search­ing at least one house in Sun­bury-on-Thames, on the out­skirts of the cap­i­tal and about 3 miles from Heathrow Air­port in Lon­don, ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press, the BBC and other lo­cal news out­lets.

Po­lice con­firmed that a res­i­den­tial ad­dress in the area had been evac­u­ated and was be­ing searched, but de­clined to say if the op­er­a­tion was linked to the sus­pect ar­rested.

Sun­bury is 10 miles west of Par- sons Green, where the ex­plo­sion oc­curred. Res­i­dents reached by phone Satur­day said that shortly be­fore 2 p.m., po­lice of­fi­cers ar­rived to seal off the res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hood around Cavendish Road and Bur­goyne Road.

Louise Mar­getts, 54, said she was re­turn­ing from the su­per­mar­ket to her home when she saw four po­lice ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing a po­lice ca­nine unit, speed­ing up the road.

“The of­fi­cers at the back jumped out and started cor­don­ing off the road,” she said. “They were run­ning, and said, ‘Turn around now.’”

Mar­getts, a teacher, man­aged to get home but po­lice ar­rived at her door soon af­ter­ward.

“They didn’t re­ally tell us any­thing,” she said. “They knocked, well, ham­mered, on the door and said: ‘Out now. We can’t say why.’ ”

After po­lice sealed off the sur­round­ing streets, res­i­dents were told that they had to evac­u­ate and some were of­fered trans­port to a lo­cal rugby club, some res­i­dents said. Oth­ers were al­lowed to go to rel­a­tives nearby.

Barry Sut­ton, 53, said he saw sev­eral Sur­rey po­lice ve­hi­cles on the edge of the cor­don.

“The po­lice are go­ing house to house be­hind the tape, evac­u­at­ing peo­ple,” he said by phone. “There was no sense of panic, but there were a lot of po­lice; it was a proper op­er­a­tion.”

Sun­bury is very close to Lon­don’s out­er­most bor­oughs and is served by com­muter trains, but is not on the Lon­don Un­der­ground net­work.

Po­lice of­fi­cers have been comb­ing the footage from CCTV on the Lon­don trans­porta­tion net­work for clues about who had placed the bomb that ex­ploded Fri­day.

The crude ex­plo­sive, wrapped in a plas­tic gro­cery bag that was con­cealed in a bucket, ex­ploded at 8:20 a.m., dur­ing the morn­ing rush on a train at the sta­tion in West Lon­don.

The whole car­riage was en­gulfed in flames, wit­nesses said, and dozens of pas­sen­gers trampled over one an­other to try to exit the train. No one was killed in the at­tack, but sev­eral peo­ple were hos­pi­tal­ized for in­juries in­clud­ing burns and frac­tures.

The ter­ror­ist at­tack was the fifth ma­jor as­sault in Bri­tain in less than six months, and the first to hit mass tran­sit since the deadly bomb­ings of 2005 that killed 52 peo­ple. While Lon­don­ers ex­pressed re­lief that no one was killed in Fri­day’s blast, the episode re­newed fears about the threat of ter­ror.

“This has be­come the new nor­mal,” said Harry Walker, a Par­sons Green res­i­dent. “We get at­tacked, and then we carry on, wait­ing in an­tic­i­pa­tion for the next one.”

As­so­ci­ated Press

Po­lice ob­serve the crowds out­side Wem­b­ley Park Sta­tion ahead of a soc­cer match on Satur­day, fol­low­ing a ter­ror­ist at­tack Fri­day on a train at Par­sons Green Sta­tion in Lon­don.

@RRIGS via As­so­ci­ated Press

The crude ex­plo­sive, wrapped in a plas­tic gro­cery bag that was con­cealed in a bucket, ex­ploded dur­ing the morn­ing com­muter rush. Sev­eral peo­ple were hos­pi­tal­ized for burns and bro­ken bones in the crush of peo­ple flee­ing the burn­ing train car.

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