22 hurt as improvised bomb goes off on London train

VIDEO: REUTERS
Right: The London Ambulance Service said none of the victims "is thought to be in a serious or life-threatening condition". Above: A photo posted by a Twitter user showing a white bucket burning inside the train carriage.
The London Ambulance Service said none of the victims "is thought to be in a serious or life-threatening condition".PHOTO: REUTERS

Rush-hour blast on Tube regarded as terror incident; fifth strike in Britain in six months

LONDON • At least 22 people were injured after a bomb went off on a packed London Underground train during the rush hour yesterday morning in what police are treating as a "terrorist incident".

Witnesses reported seeing a "wall of fire" and passengers with facial burns and hair coming off at the Tube station of Parsons Green in west London after the blast.

Within hours of the blast, British security services said they had identified a suspect with the help of CCTV surveillance footage, Sky News reported on Twitter, citing security sources.

Police counter-terror chief Mark Rowley called the incident "a detonation of an improvised explosive device". Most injuries were from "flash burns", while others were caused by the stampede as passengers ran out of the station in panic.

Twitter user @Rrigs posted pictures of a white bucket with cable coming out of it smouldering on the train, saying: "Explosion on Parsons Green District Line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door."

The National Health Service said 18 people were taken by ambulance to hospital, while four others made their own way to hospitals.

The London Ambulance Service said none of the victims "is thought to be in a serious or life- threatening condition".

 A photo posted by a Twitter user showing a white bucket burning inside the train carriage.
A photo posted by a Twitter user showing a white bucket burning inside the train carriage. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The MI5 intelligence service is assisting investigators, and police said Londoners should expect extra security measures.

"There is a manhunt under way as we speak," Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told LBC radio. He urged Londoners to remain "calm and vigilant", adding: "As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism."

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts were with the injured. She later chaired an emergency Cabinet meeting.

Armed police and sniffer dogs could be seen at the station in a leafy suburb of London popular with well-off commuters and filled with chic cafes. Residents and businesses rallied together offering tea and the use of their toilets to people unable to get home.

The bombing is the fifth terror strike in Britain in six months since March, when a lone attacker mowed down pedestrians and stabbed a police officer outside Parliament. A total of 35 people have been killed in the incidents.

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to say the attack was carried out by a "loser terrorist", drawing criticism from London lawmakers who said he had betrayed intelligence details by saying those responsible "are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard".

 Mr Nick Timothy, until recently one of Mrs May's most senior aides, said: "True or not - and I'm sure he doesn't know - this is so unhelpful from the leader of our ally and intelligence partner."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

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British police investigate London blast. str.sg/4jJ5

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2017, with the headline '22 hurt as improvised bomb goes off on London train'. Print Edition | Subscribe