Bri­tish po­lice ar­rest 18-year-old man in con­nec­tion with sub­way at­tack

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS - By Wil­liam Booth, Karla Adam and Rick Noack

LON­DON – Fol­low­ing a fast­mov­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion and man­hunt, Bri­tish po­lice on Satur­day morn­ing ar­rested an 18-yearold man in con­nec­tion with an at­tack the pre­vi­ous day on the Lon­don sub­way, in which at least 29 peo­ple were in­jured and au­thor­i­ties la­beled as ter­ror­ism.

Au­thor­i­ties said the man was ar­rested by Kent po­lice in the port area of Dover on the English Chan­nel. Po­lice sus­pect he might have been seek­ing a boat out of Eng­land.

In ad­di­tion, armed po­lice raided and be­gan search­ing a prop­erty in Sun­bury west of Lon­don Satur­day af­ter­noon. Coun­tert­er­ror­ism units were at the scene and po­lice told re­porters the oper­a­tion was con­nected to the sub­way ex­plo­sion.

The home­made bomb ex­ploded on a Lon­don sub­way train at Par­sons Green sta­tion Fri­day morn­ing, send­ing a scorch­ing blast of flame and smoke through a Lon­don sub­way car.

Home Sec­re­tary Am­ber Rudd said Satur­day that it was “good for­tune” the im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice “did so lit­tle dam­age,” but she sug­gested that the ma­te­ri­als used to build the bomb were too read­ily avail­able.

“We have to make cer­tain we take all the steps we can to en­sure that the sort of ma­te­ri­als this man was able to col­lect be­come more and more dif­fi­cult to com­bine to­gether,” Rudd said.

Deputy As­sis­tant Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Neil Basu called the ar­rest “sig­nif­i­cant” but added that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing.

The man is be­ing held for ques­tion­ing un­der the Ter­ror­ism Act. “For strong in­ves­tiga­tive rea­sons we will not give any more de­tails on the man we ar­rested at this stage,” Basu said.

In the town of Sun­bury-onThames, lo­cated about 15 miles to the west of cen­tral Lon­don, res­i­dents waited out­side of a po­lice cor­don on Satur­day evening, as foren­sics ex­perts en­tered a row house on Cavendish Road.

Anna Wilkins 43, said she lived right next to the house which was be­ing searched. “I saw a young man come out of there with his bike a cou­ple of times in re­cent weeks,” Wilkins said. The young man whom she de­scribed as “Asian” only ap­peared to have ar­rived in the house a cou­ple of months ago and lived with an el­derly cou­ple, be­lieved to be Bri­tish. It is un­known whether the young man de­scribed by Wilkins is the sus­pect ar­rested in Dover.

“I never spoke to him and only saw him when he left the house with his bike, but I was al­ways sus­pi­cious of him,” said Wilkins.

Po­lice of­fi­cers were guard­ing a pur­ple house about 100 yards away from the po­lice cor­don. A street sign in­di­cated that Cavendish Road is part of a “Neigh­bor­hood Watch” project, where res­i­dents help to guard their dis­trict, to keep it safe.

While po­lice cars kept ar­riv­ing, some of the evac­u­ated res­i­dents or­dered pints of beer in a pub nearby.

One res­i­dent liv­ing near the house be­ing searched said that he had never seen any­one en­ter­ing or leav­ing it. “This isn’t an area where peo­ple re­ally know each other,” said 51-year-old Chris Ross. “This af­ter­noon, there were sud­denly armed po­lice of­fi­cers who told us to get out of our houses as soon as pos­si­ble. They only gave us a cou­ple of sec­onds.”

Af­ter the bomb­ing, se­cu­rity mea­sures were im­me­di­ately tight­ened across Lon­don’s vast mass-tran­sit net­work, and the govern­ment de­scribed the threat level as crit­i­cal, mean­ing another at­tack could be im­mi­nent.

Bri­tish me­dia re­ported that the crude ex­plo­sive de­vice, car­ried in a bucket and shoved into a shop­ping bag, had a sim­ple timer, sug­gest­ing that some de­gree of bomb-mak­ing knowl­edge was em­ployed.

The Is­lamic State ter­ror­ist group as­serted re­spon­si­bil­ity for the ex­plo­sion on its Amaq News Agency web­site. Ex­perts cau­tioned that the group of­ten seeks credit for at­tacks it may have only in­spired, as well as ones it had noth­ing to do with.

As the in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­folded, in Lon­don the mes­sage was the now fa­mil­iar “keep calm and carry on.”

Metropoli­tan Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Cres­sida Dick trav­eled – very vis­i­bly, es­corted by news me­dia – via the Un­der­ground sub­way to Water­loo sta­tion and “pa­trolled” the South Bank of the River Thames

“Yes­ter­day we saw a cow­ardly and in­dis­crim­i­nate at­tack, which could have re­sulted in many lives be­ing lost,” Dick said. “Again we saw a quick re­sponse from all the emer­gency ser­vices and trans­port staff. Since then, we have had teams of de­tec­tives and spe­cial­ists work­ing through the night on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and of­fi­cers through­out Lon­don mo­bi­liz­ing and pro­vid­ing an in­creased vis­i­ble po­lice pres­ence – es­pe­cially in crowded places.”

The ex­plo­sion on Lon­don’s Tube is bound to rekin­dle pointed de­bate about whether coun­tries such as Bri­tain have been tough enough in fight­ing ter­ror­ism. Just hours af­ter the blast, Pres­i­dent Trump sug­gested that Bri­tain needed to be “more proac­tive.”

Au­thor­i­ties said the 29 in­jured largely suf­fered from flash burns. Emer­gency ser­vices said none of those hurt had life-threat­en­ing in­juries.

Getty Images

Po­lice pa­trol in West­min­ster Un­der­ground sta­tion in Lon­don. The ter­ror threat level has been raised to “crit­i­cal.”

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