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18-year-old man arrested in connection with London Underground bombing

An 18-year-old man has been arrested.

Police activity outside Parsons Green station in west London yesterday.
Police activity outside Parsons Green station in west London yesterday.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated at 7pm

BRITISH POLICE RAIDED raided a home near London today just hours after making their first arrest in the investigation into the bombing of an Underground train a day earlier.

An 18-year-old man was detained at the port city of Dover, one of the country’s main links to Europe, with officers describing the development as a significant step in their investigation.

They later announced that the raid was under way.

“Police officers have evacuated and are searching a residential address in Sunbury, Surrey,” a statement said.

Thirty people were treated in hospital after the bomb was detonated in a packed train carriage yesterday morning, in what was Britain’s fifth terror attack in six months.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said that police had made “very good progress” in their enquiries, while appearing to dispute claims by US President Donald Trump that a “loser terrorist” behind the attack was known to Scotland Yard.

“It’s much too early to say that,” Rudd said in a televised interview. “At the moment we have one arrest and we have an ongoing operation.”

Trump’s claims, made yesterday on Twitter, had already garnered a terse rebuke from Prime Minister Theresa May, who said: “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”

The improvised explosive device in a train at Parsons Green station, a quiet and wealthy residential district, failed to detonate fully, according to media reports.

But the blast inflicted flash burns on passengers, and prompted dozens of others to flee in panic.

Police in Dover said the teenager arrested would be transferred to custody in London.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers,” said a statement, outlining that the man was being held under anti-terror legislation.

Deputy assistant commissioner of the London Met Police Neil Basu – senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing – described the arrest as “significant”.

“We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning,” he said.

Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.

Basu warned the public to “remain vigilant” and said that police were not changing the protective security measures put in place in the wake of the attack.

“This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers. For strong investigative reasons we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage,” Basu said.

Detectives investigating the attack said that they had spoken to 45 witnesses and continue to receive information from the public to the confidential anti-terrorist hotline.

The UK was last on critical alert after the bombing at a concert in Manchester in May, which was also claimed by the IS group.

In a statement yesterday, the group said an IS “detachment” had carried out the London attack.

Rowley earlier said most of the injuries were due to “flash burns”, while others were wounded as passengers ran out of the station in panic.

Witness Charlie Craven told AFP he heard a “massive bang”, adding:

I saw an orange sort of fireball encompassing the whole Tube coming towards you.

Another, Lauren Hubbard, described it as “a wall of fire”.

Twitter user @Rrigs posted pictures of a white bucket smouldering on the train and described how a “fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door”.

The bucket, which was inside a frozen food bag from the budget supermarket chain Lidl, looked like the type used by builders and there appeared to be cables coming out of it.

Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney expressed his sympathy with the people of London and said that he was not aware of any Irish citizens being injured in the incident.

‘Unhelpful speculation’

US President Donald Trump said that “loser terrorists” were behind the attack, adding that they were already “in the sights” of British police.

London’s Metropolitan Police dismissed the tweet as “unhelpful speculation”, while May also rebuked him.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

May said the device was “clearly intended to cause significant harm”, condemning it as a “cowardly attack”.

Speaking yesterday evening, Rowley said the remnants of the bomb were being examined by forensic scientists.

British media reported that it had a timer but failed to detonate fully.

© – AFP 2017 With reporting from Cormac Fitzgerald 

Read: UK terror threat level raised to ‘critical’ following London tube explosion

Read: ‘There is so much anger and so much deep upset’: Public inquiry opens into Grenfell Tower blaze > 

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