London Ambulance took 18 people to hospital; none serious
Metropolitan Police launch counter-terrorism investigation
At least 18 people were injured when a suspected terrorist set off an improvised explosive device on a London subway train during the morning rush hour. It is the fifth attack this year.
Police appealed for photos and information, and had no word on the whereabouts of the perpetrator as a manhunt appeared to be under way. Images of a small fire in a white bucket with protruding wires were broadcast by Sky News, which said the device had probably failed to detonate fully. It may have had a timer, Sky reported.
Parsons Green subway station in west London was cordoned off amid witness reports of a stampede as passengers had tried to flee the blast. Eighteen people were taken to hospital with injuries that weren’t life-threatening as the police reported most passengers suffered “flash burns.”
“My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident,” Prime Minister Theresa May said on Twitter. May will chair an emergency meeting of officials at 1 p.m.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the “loser terrorist” was “in the sights of Scotland Yard,” a reference to the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police Service.
In an apparent U.S. leak, CBS reported that the explosives were consistent with those used in another recent attack. The U.S. and U.K. have close intelligence-sharing ties and the U.K. has publicly criticized U.S. leaks of police intelligence after previous attacks.
Londoners are growing used to terrorism and to the sight of heavily armed police patrolling the transport network. The police have stepped up the number of arrests and Thursday reported that terrorism-related arrests had risen 68 percent over the past year. The terror threat level is “severe,” meaning an attack is likely.
The latest attempt comes after a series of attacks this year: assailants with vans and knives attacked passers by on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge in two separate strikes and a van was driven into worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park. A suicide bomber attacked a concert venue in Manchester in May, killing more than 20 people including children and mothers. Most of the attacks have been claimed or praised by Islamic State.
Well-drilled medical staff declared a major incident at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, as TV footage showed images of injured passengers with bandages on their heads.
“There was a massive flash and flame that went up the side of the train, then an acrid chemical smell, then a big stampede,” Chris Wildish, a witness, told Sky News. ”The crush for the stairs was pretty heavy.”