Terror in London: Parsons Green Explosion
An explosion on a tube carriage at Parsons Green underground station in West London, this morning, injured 19 people, after an improvised explosive device (IED) was partially exploded. It happened while the Edgware Road-bound train from Wimbledon arrived at Parsons Green.
According to witnesses’ accounts, commuters heard a blast and saw a fireball flying down the carriage.
The Evening Standard wrote that there were unconfirmed reports of a second device, and a suspect carrying a knife was seen running from the scene.
Police is on a manhunt to arrest whoever planted the homemade device on the train, watching CCTV footage to determine the attacker’s movements and carrying out forensic work and speaking to witnesses. Assistant Met police Commissioner, Mark Rowley, said that the investigation was led by Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, SO15, involving hundreds of detectives and supported by MI5. Scotland Yard has confirmed that no one has been arrested yet.
They stated: “So far there have been no arrests. We believe the fire was caused by the detonation of an improvised device, which is being forensically examined.” Investigators cannot yet confirm whether the device was detonated in person or remotely.
BBC and Sky news were told that the IED was attached to a timer.
A witness said that many were injured after being crushed or suffered burns when the device exploded. ST Mary’s hospital in Paddington, central London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation and the Chelsea and Westminster hospital treated a total of 19 patients with minor injuries, mostly burns, and none of them is in any life-threatening condition.
A passenger said: “I heard a really loud explosion – when I looked back there appeared to be a bag, but I don’t know if it’s associated with it. I saw people with minor injuries, burnings to the face, arms, legs; multiple casualties in that way. People were helping each other.”
Louis Hather, who happened to be on the train this morning, said that she heard the screams and people were panicking, pushing each other in order to get away, injuring themselves: “People were falling over each other and being stepped on. I tried to steady myself by putting my arm against the wall. But in the end I fell over and I lost a shoe and my bag in the rush.” Hather sprained her ankle and explained that, “that’s how most of [the] injuries occurred. I know there was a guy standing near the bomb and he got away with a burnt coat and I imagine the injuries will be down to the crushing.”
The London Fire Brigade reported that it helped evacuate 253 people from a train not involved in the incident.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the city “utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life”. He called everyone to “remain calm and vigilant”.
Downing Street said that the PM, Theresa May, would chair a meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency committee today afternoon to discuss the terror attack. They decided that the threat level should remain at severe. 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.”
The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, called people to remain calm: “I’m afraid my information is limited and it really is important not to speculate at the moment. Everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in as normal a way as they possibly can.”
The home secretary condemned the attack. Amber Rudd described it as “callous and indiscriminate” and urged “Londoners to remain alert and assist the police and emergency services as much as they can.”
Jeremy Corbyn tweeted: “Thoughts with those injured in Parsons Green terrorist incident, and thanks to police, ambulance staff and firefighters who are responding.”
Trump called the terrorists “losers” and blamed the British police for not doing enough. He tweeted: These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”
Police have advised people to avoid the area. The BBC security correspondent, Frank Gardner, says the security threat level could be raised from severe to critical: “If UK Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre conclude there's a bomber on loose expect Natl Threat Level to be raised to Critical.”
The terrorist incident is the fourth attack in the UK this year, after attacks at Westminster, London Bridge, Manchester and Finsbury Park in North London.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: “I am appealing for anyone who has information that would assist detectives to contact the hotline on 0800 789 321. I would also urge anyone with images or moving footage from the scene to upload them at www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk. Today and over the weekend the public can expect to see a heightened police presence, particularly in crowded places and at transport hubs. As always we urge the public to remain calm but alert; if they have any concerns, see or hear anything suspicious then please contact the police on the confidential hotline 0800 789 321. In an emergency always call 999.”