Islamic State claims London subway terror attack

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Posted By :Online Desk
Date  15/09/2017
A homemade explosive set off a small fire on a train at a London subway station during rush hour Friday, injuring 29 people and prompting authorities to raise Britain’s terrorism threat level to “critical,” meaning another attack may be imminent.

The incident, which the Islamic State claimed was carried out by an affiliated unit, happened shortly after 8 a.m. local time when London`s Underground system is crowded with commuters and children going to school. Most of the injuries were flash burns, London`s Metropolitan Police said. 

It was Britain`s fifth terrorist attack this year.

Prime Minister Theresa May, acting on the recommendation of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center, raised the country’s threat level from “severe” to “critical” — its highest possible level. May said military troops would augment the police presence in a “proportionate and sensible step,” the Associated Press reports.

Hundreds of investigators and intelligence officers are hunting for a suspect.

Social media users quickly circulated an image that appeared to show a small bag or bucket on fire inside a train at the Parsons Green station in west London. The image does not show much damage to the train, but eyewitnesses described scenes of panic and chaos as passengers fled the area. Some were injured in the stampede.

"To the man (who) pulled me out of the pile of people on the stairs during the stampede at Parsons Green — thank you," Katherine Manson said on Twitter.

Sophie Raworth, a BBC News presenter at the scene, said she saw a woman lying on a stretcher with burns to her face and legs, according to the broadcaster. Other passengers said they saw a wall of fire flood through the train. 

Chris Wildish, who was on the subway train where the fire occurred, told British TV that he saw "a massive flash of flames" that reached up to the ceiling of the train and then the air was filled with the smell of chemicals. He said many of the passengers were schoolchildren, who were knocked around by people trying to get away from the fire.

The Underground`s District Line was suspended due to the security alert and the London Ambulance Service sent a hazard team to the area. Police said they would provide more details about the incident once they were confirmed.

London has been repeatedly struck by extremist attacks this year including vehicle attacks near Parliament, on London Bridge and near a mosque in Finsbury Park. Britain`s terrorist attack level stands at severe, meaning attacks are highly likely.

Still, Friday`s incident was a potentially lucky escape. Police said the improvised explosive device only partially detonated, likely limiting injuries and saving lives.

"My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident," May said.

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