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As Reuters updates, the home-made bomb left on a packed rush-hour commuter train in London engulfed a carriage in flames and injured 22 people on Friday in what police said was Britain’s fifth terrorism incident this year, but apparently failed to fully explode. Passengers on board a train heading into the capital fled in panic as the fire erupted at Parsons Green underground station in West London at 8.20 a.m. (0720 GMT).
Charlie Craven said he had just got on the train when the device exploded. “Literally within three seconds of putting your bag down, the doors just closing, we hear a loud explosion,” he told Reuters. “I looked around and saw this massive fireball … coming down the carriage.”
He said terrified passengers fled, fearing a second explosion or a gunman, with people being knocked to the ground and crushed in the stampede to escape. Outside the station, a woman was carried off on a stretcher with her legs covered in a foil blanket while others were led away swathed in bandages.
Some suffered burns while others were injured in a stampede to escape. The National Health Service said 22 people had been taken to London hospitals, most believed to be suffering flash burns. None were thought to be in a serious condition, the ambulance service said.
“We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device,” Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer Mark Rowley told reporters. Rowley declined to say if the suspected bomber had been on the train, saying it was a live investigation.
Police said officers were making urgent inquiries involving hundreds of detectives backed by the intelligence services to find out who was responsible.
Pictures taken at the scene showed a slightly-charred white bucket with a supermarket freezer bag on the floor of one train carriage. The bucket, still intact, 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 toward me,” Ola Fayankinnu, who was on the train, told Reuters.
“There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames.”
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London police are responding to “a terrorist incident” at Parsons Green tube station in London, following an explosion on a packed rush-hour commuter train on Friday morning. Several people have been reportedly injured.
The details of the incident weren’t immediately clear, but witnesses described what sounded like an explosion and a burst of flames on a car of a train as it was stopped at the Parsons Green station in West London. They described panic and chaos as passengers rushed to flee across a crowded platform during the morning rush hour.
One eyewitness described an “Explosion on Parsons Green district line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door.”
Explosion on Parsons Green district line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door. pic.twitter.com/pGbfotbfsJ
— Rigs (@RRigs) September 15, 2017
The Metro newspaper reported that passengers had suffered facial burns from a blast and others had been hurt in a subsequent stampede. “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,” a man who was on the train told Reuters.
“We are aware of an incident at #ParsonsGreen tube station. Officers are in attendance,” London police said on Twitter.
— BTP (@BTP) September 15, 2017
Parsons Green subway station in west London was cordoned off as counter-terrorism police investigated, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement. A number of people were injured, the Met said, and the Press Association said passengers suffered facial burns and some were hurt in a stampede.
— Sylvain Pennec (@sylvainpennec) September 15, 2017
A photo posted on social media showed personal belongings and a white bucket in a supermarket freezer bag with what appeared to be wires coming out of the top on the floor of one train carriage.
A passenger shared images of his singed hair after the incident. “Charred head from the fireball at Parsons Green,” Peter Crowley tweeted.
— Peter Crowley (@cupid5tunt) September 15, 2017
The London Ambulance Service said it received a call at 8:20 a.m. and sent multiple vehicles to the scene. Emergency services swarmed the area, which was taped off behind a large cordon. Police advised people to stay away from the area.
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.
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.
“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,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said. May will chair a Cabinet Office Briefing Room (Cobra) emergency meeting Friday afternoon, Downing Street said.
“Obviously, everybody should keep calm and go about their lives in a normal way, as normal as they possibly can,” Foreign Secretary and former London Mayor Boris Johnson told Sky News. “As far as I understand it, the British Transport Police and TfL are on it and they will be updating their websites as and when we have more information.”
According to the London Ambulance Service, 18 people have been taken to hospital following the “terrorist incident.”
Britain has suffered four attacks blamed on terrorists so far this year which killed 36 people. In 2005, 52 people were killed when four British Islamists carried out suicide bomb attacks on three London underground trains and a bus.
JUST IN: 18 people have been taken to hospital following "terrorist incident" in London, says London Ambulance Service pic.twitter.com/NxaqnJZQ1w
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 15, 2017
Commenting on the attack, Trump tweeted this morning: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist.These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!… The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Live feed from Parson’s Green below:
This article was chosen for republication based on the interest of our readers. Anti-Media republishes stories from a number of other independent news sources. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect Anti-Media editorial policy.