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London Underground Terror Attack: Home-made Bomb Burns Passengers | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Police, fire and ambulance crew attend to an incident at Parsons Green underground station in London. Reuters photo

Passengers were seen badly burned and covered in blood after what police described as a “terrorist incident” caused by the explosion of an improvised device at a London underground train station on Friday.

Witnesses reported seeing passengers with facial burns and hair coming off at Parsons Green station and seeing a fire or hearing an explosion on the packed rush-hour commuter train.

Twenty-two people were injured, the National Health Service said.

Eighteen were taken by ambulance and the other four made their own way to hospital, the NHS said, adding that the injured have been taken to four London clinics.

Prime Minister Theresa May would be chairing an emergency cabinet meeting later on Friday.

May tweeted Friday: “My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and emergency services who are responding bravely to this terrorist incident.”

“Terrorist incident declared at Parsons Green Underground Station,” police said in a statement as armed policemen and sniffer dogs were seen on the train and around the scene of the attack.

“We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device,” Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer Mark Rowley later said.

Twitter user @Rrigs, who posted pictures of a white bucket smoldering on the train, said: “Explosion on Parsons Green District Line train. Fireball flew down carriage and we just jumped out open door”.

The bucket looked like the type used by builders and there appeared to be cables coming out of it.

The device used in the attack did not fully detonate, Sky News reported, citing unnamed sources.

The station was closed, as well as an entire section of the District Line where it is located and police urged people to stay away from the area.

A Metro.co.uk reporter at the scene was quoted by the paper as saying that some passengers were “really badly burned” and their “hair was coming off”.

The incident would be the fifth terror attack in six months in Britain since March, when a lone attacker mowed down pedestrians and stabbed a police officer outside the British parliament.

BBC correspondent Riz Lateef, who was on her way to work, said: “People were left with cuts and grazes from trying to flee the scene. There was lots of panic.”

Chris Wildish said 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. Wildish told Sky News that many of the passengers were schoolchildren, who were knocked around by people trying to get away from the fire.

Wildish said he saw several burned passengers and later, during evacuation of the station, caught sight of a bucket still in flames.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the city “will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism.”

Khan said the city “utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life.”

He added Londoners should remain “calm and vigilant.”