‘Significant arrest’ made in London train bombing
18-year-old man a suspect in attack that injured 29
LONDON — British police said Saturday that they had made a “significant arrest” of a suspect in the terrorist explosion in a London subway station that injured at least 29 people and unleashed panic among fleeing passengers.
The suspect, identified only as an 18-year-old man, was arrested in the port of Dover — the main ferry link to France — and was brought to London, police said.
“We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the top counterterrorism official at the Metropolitan Police, said in a statement.
Police also 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.
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 terrorist 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 underway for any other suspects connected to the subway bombing. Hundreds of soldiers have been deployed across strategic sites, police said.
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.
Sunbury is 10 miles west of Parsons Green, where the explosion occurred.
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.
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.
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 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.
Britain has endured four other terrorist 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.
While Londoners expressed relief that no one was killed in Friday’s blast, the episode renewed fears about the threat of terrorism.
“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.”
Police officers worked Saturday near a property in southwest London as part of the investigation into Friday’s Parsons Green bombing.