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Parsons Green Tube Blast: Two Held Over Terror Attack as Searches Continue

Blast: Passengers wait to for a train at Parson’s Green Underground station after it reopened following an explosion on a rush hour train in London, on September 16, 2017

Counter-terrorism detectives arrested a second man over the bombing of a London Underground train on Friday (15 September) that injured 30 people and the security services lowered the threat level for an attack from its highest setting.

The 21-year-old man was detained under Britain’s terrorism laws in the west London suburb of Hounslow just before midnight on Saturday, Scotland Yard said in a statement.

Police had earlier arrested an 18-year-old male in the departure lounge of Dover port in what they called a “significant” step and raided a property in Sunbury-on-Thames, a town near London and about four miles (six km) from Hounslow.

The home-made bomb shot flames through a packed carriage at Parsons Green Tube station in southwest London during the Friday morning rush hour but apparently failed to detonate fully.

Islamic State claimed responsibility, as it has for other attacks in Britain this year, including two in London and one at a concert by American singer Ariana Grande in Manchester in May.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said on Sunday the second arrest showed it was not a lone-wolf attack but there was no evidence Islamic State was involved. She however hinted at the motive behind the attack saying “we will make sure that we find out exactly how he was radicalised, if we can”.

She said the threat level had been lowered to “severe” from “critical”, meaning another attack was highly likely rather than expected imminently.

“It is inevitable that so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, will reach in and try to claim responsibility. We have no evidence to suggest that yet,” Rudd told the BBC.

“But as this unfolds, and as the police do their investigations, we will make sure that we find out exactly how he was radicalised, if we can.”

HOUSE SEARCHES

Police said on Sunday they were searching a home in Stanwell in the county of Surrey near Heathrow Airport, in connection with the Hounslow arrest.

Police continued to search the house in Sunbury nearby but said there were no safety risks to local residents.

Local media reported the home belongs to a couple who have fostered hundreds of children, including refugees. The couple, 88-year-old Ronald Jones and Penelope Jones, 71, had been conferred MBEs by Queen Elizabeth for their work with children.

The bomb struck as passengers including schoolchildren were traveling into central London. Some suffered burns while others were hurt in a stampede to escape. Health officials said none was thought to be in a serious condition.

Prime Minister Theresa May put Britain on its highest security level late on Friday and soldiers and armed police were deployed to strategic locations such as nuclear power plants.

On Saturday, armed police patrolled the streets near government departments in Westminster and guarded Premier League soccer grounds hosting matches.

The last time Britain was put on “critical” alert was after a suicide bomber killed 22 people at the Ariana Grande concert.

On that occasion, the threat level remained at critical for four days while police established whether the bomber had worked alone or with others. Prior to that it had not been triggered since 2007.

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