London Tube Explosion Declared a Terrorist Attack
Counter-Terrorism Command Investigating Explosion on London Underground
Several people were injured at a London underground station Friday after witnesses reported a blast on a packed rush-hour commuter train, which police are treating as a terrorism incident.
Emergency services said they had been called to reports of a fire on a train at Parsons Green station in West London at 8.20 a.m. (7:20 a.m. GMT).
“It is too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now underway by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command,” London police said in a statement.
“Everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in as normal a way as they possibly can,” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told BBC TV.
Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism policing, had declared it a terrorist incident, the statement said.
Casualties Reported After Tube Bomb Blast
The Metro newspaper reported that passengers had suffered facial burns from a blast and others had been hurt in a subsequent stampede.
An unverified picture circulating on social media showed a white bucket with a supermarket freezer bag on the floor of one train carriage. The bucket was in flames and there appeared to be wires coming out of the top.
“I was on second carriage from the back. I just heard a kind of whoosh. I looked up and saw the whole carriage engulfed in flames making its way towards me,” an eye-witness, who was on the train, told Reuters.
“A lot of people were trampled on. There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames. People were crying, shocked, a few people had been injured, some people had been trampled.”
Outside the station, a woman was sitting on a pavement with a bandage around her leg, while armed police patrolled. A Reuters witness saw a woman being carried off on a stretcher with her legs covered in a foil blanket.
Television footage showed passengers being escorted off a carriage while a Reuters witness saw armed police scouring a stationary train.
A Reuters witness could see a bomb disposal unit at the scene while the fire brigade said it had sent six engines and 50 firefighters. London Ambulance said it had sent “multiple resources” including its hazardous area response team to the scene.
“Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries,” it said.
Transport for London said on Twitter there was no service on the western part of the District Line, which runs through Parsons Green.
London Ambulance Confirm 18 Hospitalised
Natash Wills, Assistant Director of Operations, London Ambulance Service, announced via Twitter that 18 people had been taken to hospital after the Parsons Green incident:
We can confirm we have taken 18 patients to hospital following the incident at Parsons Green underground station. We were called at 8.20 a.m. today, with the first ambulance crew arriving within five minutes. We have sent a number of resources to the scene including ambulance crews, officers and our Hazardous Area Response team.
Britain has suffered four Islamic terrorist attacks so far this year which killed 36 people. In 2005, 52 people were killed when four Islamists carried out suicide bomb attacks on three London underground trains and a bus.
The Counter Terrorism Command (CTC) or SO15 is a Specialist Operations branch within London’s Metropolitan Police Service. The Counter Terrorism Command was established as a result of the merging of the Anti-Terrorist Branch (SO13), and the Special Branch (SO12) in October 2006, bringing together intelligence, operations and investigative functions to form a single command. CTC has over 1,500 Police Officers and staff, and a number of investigators based overseas.
Source: VoA with additional reporting.
Image: British Police Firearms Officer with Parsons Green Underground Sign (Warfare.Today, 2017).