British police make ‘significant arrest’ in London train attack probe

Published: Updated:

British police arrested an 18-year-old man on Saturday in connection to their investigation into the bombing of a packed London Underground train.

“The 18-year-old man was arrested by Kent Police in the port area of Dover this morning, onSaturday, 16 September, under section 41 of the Terrorism Act,” police said in a statement describing the arrest as “significant”.

‘Intended to target bigger Tube station’

The Parsons Green Tube station may not have been the intended target for Friday’s terror attack in London, security experts have told British media.

The homemade bomb which exploded on the District Line Underground train may actually have been intended for a bigger, busier station for 'maximum impact'.

Will Geddes, founder of private security firm International Corporate Protection, believes major stations such as Paddington or Westminster may have been the real target.

"My feeling is Parsons Green was not the intended destination for this device,” he told the Sun Online.

“We have to remember the terrorist is looking for maximum publicity and recognition worldwide.

"Unless you have been to Parsons Green, or you know someone there or are a Londoner you will not know it.

"Wimbledon, Notting Hill and Paddington - there are other destinations on that line that would have had much greater impact."

British police raced Saturday to track down whoever planted the bomb, as authorities raised the national threat level to maximum, meaning another attack may be imminent.

Friday morning's blast, which left 29 people injured, was Britain's fifth terror attack in six months and was claimed by ISIS.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced late Friday that the threat level had been raised to "critical", and said troops would take over guarding key sites to free police officers for deployment elsewhere.

The explosion at Parsons Green station in south-west London sparked a "wall of fire" that left passengers with burns and caused a stampede of panicking people in which some were trampled.

The anti-terrorism police chief Mark Rowley said the investigation was making "really good progress".

"We're chasing down suspects," he told reporters.

"Somebody has planted this improvised explosive device on the Tube. We have to be open-minded at this stage about him and potential associates."

May said military personnel would take over guard duty at certain closed "protected sites", freeing up 1,000 police officers to be deployed on the transport network and on streets across Britain.

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

In a statement on Friday, the group said an ISIS "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 smoldering 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.