1 week after Parsons Green bombing, what do we know so far?

1 week after Parsons Green bombing, what do we know so far?
A week has passed since the terrorist attack on Parsons Green tube station in West London, but police have offered few definitive answers at this stage. RT rounds up what we know so far.

Although no one was killed in the blast, 30 commuters were injured when an improvised explosive device (IED), planted towards the rear of a District Line train, partially detonated during morning rush hour.

The official terrorism threat level in the UK has returned to ‘severe’, meaning an attack is highly likely, but no longer imminent, having been raised to ‘critical’ in the aftermath of the blast.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the bombing via its Amaq news agency. As Londoners try to return to life as normal, RT sums up everything we know so far about the attack and the ongoing police investigation.

Suspects

A man has been named and charged on Friday in connection with the attack, according to the Metropolitan Police.

Iraqi Ahmed Hassan, 18, will appear at Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon. He is accused of attempting to murder passengers on the tube train and causing an explosion likely to kill or maim.

Hassan was arrested in Dover last Saturday while allegedly trying to board a ferry to France.

He is among six people who were arrested in connection with the incident and held in custody, but two have since been released without charge.

Yahyah Farrouk, a 21-year-old Syrian national arrested in Hounslow on Saturday, September 16, has been released, according to police. A 48-year-old man, arrested on Wednesday in Newport, south Wales, has also been released. Two other men aged 25 and 30 were arrested in Newport and remain in custody.

Both Hassan and Farrouk were fostered by Penelope and Ronald Jones from Sunbury-on-Thames.

A 17-year-old also remains in custody after being arrested on Thursday in Thornton Heath, South London.

Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, said the investigation is “fast-moving.”

“We have four males in custody and searches are continuing at four addresses. Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack.

“We anticipate that the searches will take some days to complete and may cause further disruption,” Haydon added.

Searches are ongoing at an address in Surrey, one in Thornton Heath and two in Newport.

The bomb

The explosion appears to have originated from a white bucket inside a Lidl supermarket shopping bag.

After analyzing CCTV footage and assessing witnesses’ accounts, experts said the device could have caused far more damage had it not malfunctioned.

The IED is thought to have contained triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, the same substance used in major attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Manchester. It is also known as the ‘mother of Satan.’

Frank Gardner, the BBC’s security correspondent, said in this case “the mixture was wrong, and the bulk of that explosive didn’t go off.”

“It could have been far, far worse.”

Two unnamed US law enforcement and intelligence officers told Reuters the design suggested the attack had been inspired by IS propaganda, so not carried out by a member of a terrorist cell.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the bomb was “packed with shrapnel.”

“Thank goodness nobody was killed at Parsons Green,” she told LBC radio, a week after the attack.

“That was a very, very dangerous bomb. It partially detonated.

“It had a large quantity of explosive and it was packed with shrapnel.

“It could have been so much worse.”

Witnesses

Witnesses described the scene as “pandemonium.”

Ryan Barnett, 25, told the Guardian he was sitting with his headphones on when “all of a sudden, hundreds of people were running past me screaming a mixture of ‘stampede,’ ‘attack,’ ‘terrorist,’ ‘explosion,’ ‘get off the train’ [and] ‘everyone run.’”

Those nearest to the bucket heard a bang, then recalled seeing a “fireball” and a “wall of flame” whizzing through the carriage.

South African Gillian Wixley, 36, who lives in Putney, West London, was eight seats away from the explosion.

“It wasn’t a big explosion, more of a bang, and then there was fire,” she said, according to the paper, before adding she saw a schoolboy who looked about 10 years old “sobbing” as he sat on the floor looking shocked.

While many passengers were treated for ‘flash burns’, one was reported to be seen on an ambulance stretcher with burns “from top to toe.”