London has been the target of yet another terrorist attack after an improvised device was exploded Friday morning on a crowded London Underground train. The attack left no dead, but some injured were reported.
The incident also attracted thousands of police officials, who rushed to the scene and shut down the station where the crude bomb exploded, Parsons Green station.
The blast occurred at Parsons Green station on an eastbound District Line from Wimbledon at 8:20 a.m., according to BBC. At least 22 people are being treated in a hospital, mostly for burn injuries.
Twenty-two injured are reported after crude bomb went off inside Underground train
Witnesses of the incident recall the “Tube” train had just pulled into the stations, and the doors had opened when an explosion went off in the last carriage, Evening Standard reports. Passengers at the Parsons Green Tube described the blast as a “heat wave” and a “wall of flame” that was sent throughout the carriage. The case is being treated as a terrorist attack, according to local authorities.
“This was a detonation of an improvised explosive device,” Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police, a top counterterrorism official, said at a news conference, according to BBC. “The scene currently remains cordoned off and the investigation continues.”
Rowley noted anyone who saw or knows something should come forward and contact law enforcement officers. He refused to reveal if any suspect had been arrested at the time. Hundreds of detectives, as well as the MI5, are now investigating the latest terror attack in the British capital.
Twenty-two people are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Apparently, some of the injured were hurt as panicked commuters fled the scene. All of them, who were described as “walking wounded” by hospital staff, will make a quick recovery.
“The train was packed, and I was down the other side of the carriage standing up, looking at my phone and then I heard a big boom and felt this heat on my face,” said 42-year-old Natalie Belford, a hairdresser who was on the train, according to The New York Times. “I ran for my life, but there was no way out. The doors were full of people and the carriage was too packed to move down.”
President Trump calls terrorists ‘sick and demented’
Pictures taken of the Tube show a white bucket on fire inside a supermarket bag, with some wires trailing onto the carriage floor. The BBC says the crude bomb had a timer. Frank Gardner, a BBC security correspondent, said the attack could have been far worse as it has been reported that the bomb “may have partially failed.”
Gardner says intelligence services are probably reviewing whether to raise the national terrorism level from severe (the second highest level) to critical, which is the greatest threat and means an attack is expected at any time.
Rowley also said during the news conference that Londoners could expect to see an enhanced police presence in the city, especially across the transport system today. He urged the public to remain vigilant while adding that people should not be alarmed. The Commissioner then shared a link where anyone with information, pictures, or videos of the Parsons Green attack can upload them there for police to watch.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted a message in support for those injured at Parsons Green and praised the emergency services’ strong response to the terrorist incident. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for calm, saying the city “will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism.”
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump shared a tweet of his own, saying a “loser terrorist” carried out the attack and noting that those are “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard.”
Parsons Green is not symbolic for London, says expert
This is the fifth major terrorist attack in the U.K. this year. The first incident involved a vehicular and knife attack near Parliament in March, followed by a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in May, and a van and knife attack at London Bridge and a van attack outside a London Mosque, both incidents in June.
Added together, this year’s terrorist attacks have been the deadliest on British soil since July 7, 2005, when suicide bombers exploded devices on three subway cars and a double-decker bus, also in London, killing 52 people and injuring dozens of others. Police officials believe they have stopped six other significant terrorist plots – all of which will be taken to court soon.
The Parsons Green station is located in Hammersmith and Fulham, an inner London borough, home to soccer clubs and corporate headquarters. Roy Ramm, a former commander of specialist operations at Scotland Yard, said the police would undergo a comprehensive forensic examination of the train to assess what happened and who did it.
He also noted that Parsons Green had little symbolic meaning in London, making it a strange place for a terrorist to explode a device.
“Parsons Green is not emblematic or symbolic, and I think that will be a puzzlement for investigating officers, who will ask: Was it intended to be detonated or did it go off there by accident?” said Ramm, according to The New York Times. “If you look at a list of target areas in London, Parsons Green would not be in the top 100.”
Source: The New York Times