London Underground blast: Officials identify suspect; police term it as ‘terrorist incident’

London: In this image made from video, a woman with blankets wrapped around her is being escorted by emergency services near the scene of an explosion in London Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. A reported explosion at a train station sent commuters stampeding in panic, injuring several people at the height of London’s morning rush hour, and police said they were investigating it as a terrorist attack. AP/PTI(AP9_15_2017_000140A) Related News

British security services have identified a suspect involved in the bombing of a busy commuter train in west London on Friday with the help of surveillance footage, Sky News reported, citing security sources. “Security sources say they’ve identified a suspect involved in the Parsons Green bombing, with the aid of CCTV footage,” Mark White, a home affairs correspondent for Sky News, said on Twitter.

Earlier in the day, an improvised explosive device (IED) was used during an explosion at London’s Parsons Green metro station injuring 22 people. The Scotland Yard described the incident as a “terrorist incident”. The home-made bomb on a packed rush-hour commuter train in London engulfed a coach in flames, in what police said was Britain’s fifth terrorism incident this year. However, it failed to explode fully.

London: This is an image made from video showing burning items in underground train at the scene of an explosion in London Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. A reported explosion at a train station sent commuters stampeding in panic, injuring several people at the height of London’s morning rush hour, and police said they were investigating it as a terrorist attack. AP/PTI(AP9_15_2017_000143B)

Passengers on board a train heading into the capital fled in panic as the fire erupted at Parsons Green underground station in West London at 8.20 am. (0720 GMT). Some suffered burns while others were injured in a stampede to escape. The National Health Service said 22 people had been taken to London hospitals, most believed to be suffering flash burns, however, none were thought to be in a serious condition, the ambulance service said. “We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device,” Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer Mark Rowley told reporters.

In pictures taken at the spot, a slightly-charred white bucket with a supermarket freezer bag was seen on the floor of one train carriage. The bucket, still intact, was in flames and there appeared to be wires coming out of the top. “I was on second carriage from the back. I just heard a kind of whoosh. I looked up and saw the whole carriage engulfed in flames making its way towards me,” Ola Fayankinnu, who was on the train, told Reuters.

London: Ambulances and police stand nearby after an incident on a tube train at Parsons Green subway station in London, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. A reported explosion at the train station sent commuters stampeding in panic, injuring several people on Friday at the height of London’s morning rush hour, and police said they were investigating it as a terrorist attack. AP/PTI(AP9_15_2017_000141A)

“There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames.” Charlie Craven said he had just got on the train when the device exploded. “Literally within three seconds of putting your bag down, the doors just closing, we hear a loud explosion,” he told Reuters. “I looked around and saw this massive fireball … coming down the carriage.”

Reacting to the incident Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May said, “My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and the emergency services who, once again, are responding swiftly and bravely to a suspected terrorist incident,” May said. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said people should “keep calm” and continue their lives as normal. Germany stands united with Britain in the fight against terrorism said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A police forensic tent stands setup on the platform next to the train, at left, on which a homemade bomb exploded at Parsons Green subway station in London, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. Hundreds of London police embarked on a massive manhunt Friday, racing to find out who placed a homemade bomb on a packed London subway train during the morning rush hour. The explosion wounded people and caused a panicked stampede to safety. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Merkel said that since attacks had also struck other European countries, including France, Spain and Germany, “this is a challenge which we all face”. “That’s why we’re united with Britain, with the British government and, above all, with the people of Britain,” she said, adding that not all the circumstances of the latest attack were known yet. “Our thoughts are with the British people and (the attack) strengthens our resolve to continue and boost
international cooperation in the fight against Islamist terrorism,” said Merkel.

“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist,” US President Donald Trump said on Twitter. “These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” May said it was not helpful for anyone to speculate on investigations after US President Donald Trump tweeted that the culprits behind a train bombing had been “in the sights” of the police.

A London evening newspaper stand displays their headline outside Paddington tube station in London, after a terrorist incident was declared at Parsons Green subway station Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. A bucket wrapped in an insulated bag caught fire on a packed London subway train early Friday, sending commuters running for safety at the height of the morning rush hour. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

However, a US law enforcement official and a US intelligence source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attack might well have been carried out in response to recent Islamic State video messages urging would-be militants to attack trains and other public transport. The officials said the device “doesn’t look very professionally built” and said its rudimentary design suggested the attack was carried out by someone inspired by Islamic State propaganda rather than by a well-trained cell. UK security services believe those behind some of the militant incidents in Britain this year had probably been acting alone and likely radicalised by online material.

Police provide security at Paddington mainline train station in London, after a terrorist incident was declared at nearby Parsons Green subway station Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. A bucket wrapped in an insulated bag caught fire on a packed London subway train early Friday, sending commuters running for safety at the height of the morning rush hour. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

In 2005, 52 people were killed when four British Islamists carried out suicide bomb attacks on three London underground trains and a bus and this year Britain has suffered four attacks which killed a total of 36 people.

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