Parsons Green: Police hunt bomber behind Tube attack


The device - a white bucket on fire inside a supermarket bag, with wires trailing on to the carriage floorImage copyright
PA

Image caption

The device was inside a supermarket bag with wires trailing on to the carriage floor

A manhunt is under way to find the person behind Friday’s rush hour Tube bombing in south-west London.

Police said they were “chasing down suspects” and had hundreds of officers trawling CCTV in the wake of the District Line attack, which injured 29.

The UK terror threat has been raised to critical – the highest level – meaning an attack may be imminent.

The Islamic State group has said it was behind the bomb, which was detonated at 08:20 BST at Parsons Green station.

The station reopened in the early hours of Saturday.

The Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said it was “very routine” for IS to claim the attack “whether or not they’ve had any previous engagement with the individuals involved”.

He asked the public to remain “vigilant”, but said people should “not be alarmed”.

BBC home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said it was notable that the police had use the word “suspects” in their statements, indicating that they may be looking for more than one attacker.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The working assumption at Scotland Yard and MI5 must be that there is not just one person behind this, but at least one, and that there are others that assisted or encouraged the person to plant this device.”

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Media captionPolice asked about suspect

Announcing the change in the UK threat level, Prime Minister Theresa May said the military would be providing support to police and would replace officers on guard duty at national infrastructure sites that are not accessible to the public.

The use of the military to assist police is part of the first phase of Operation Temperer, a government plan to deploy troops to help police following major terrorist attacks, which was activated for the first time on 23 May following the Manchester Arena attack.

Mrs May said: “The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.

“This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.”

Passengers described the bomb, which was in a supermarket carrier bag, as a “fireball”.

Patients were taken to four London hospitals, including one with a specialist burns unit.

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Media captionPM says terror threat raised to critical

It is understood the device had a timer but the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner said the bomb appeared not to have gone off properly.

Had it worked as intended, it would have killed everyone around it and maimed everyone in the train carriage for life, he said.

Police urged anyone who took pictures or videos at the scene to upload them to ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk.

What does terror threat level mean?

By Dominic Casciani, home affairs correspondent

A word of caution about “imminence”.

The terror threat level was previously raised to critical in May after Manchester.

Then it was lowered again days later after it became clear to intelligence assessors in the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre that an attack wasn’t imminent.

Then we had two more incidents – Borough Market/London Bridge and Finsbury Park.

What does this tell us?

Intelligence is usually fragmentary.

Analysts sometimes only have glimpses or impressions of what they think is going on.

It’s an imperfect world.

‘I could see a fireball’

Anna Gorniak, who was in the same Tube carriage as the explosion, said: “I could see a fireball filling the carriage and coming our way. At that moment, I started to run.

“In my mind I was praying, I probably thought for a second, ‘That’s it, my life is over.'”

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Anna Gorniak said she could see a fireball “filling the carriage”

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Media captionPeter Crowley: “There was a fireball above my head”

Peter Crowley was sitting in the carriage, travelling from Wimbledon, when the explosion happened.

He said his head was burned by a “really hot intense fireball above my head” and added: “There were people a lot worse than me.”

Chris Wildish told BBC Radio 5 live he saw a bucket in a supermarket bag with “low-level flames coming out of it” by the door of the rear carriage.

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Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41290951

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