UPDATE @ September 16 2017 8:30 AM | The British government has increased the terror threat level in the wake of the latest attack to rock London.
Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed it now stands at ‘critical’, meaning another attack may be imminent.
“For this period, military personnel will replace police officers on guard duties at certain protected sites that are not accessible to the public,” Ms May said in a televised statement.
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The response comes after 29 people were injured when a home made bomb was detonated on a passenger train in London during Friday morning’s peak commute.
The train was about to depart Parsons Green station in West London when the device went off, at 8.20am (local time).
Some of the 29 victims suffered burns from the explosion, while others were injured in a stampede as people tried to escape.
EARLIER @ September 15 2017 8:50 PM | POLICE have confirmed they are treating an explosion which ripped through a train at an underground station in London, engulfing passengers in a ball of fire, as a “terrorist incident”.
At least 19 people suffered “flash burns” after what is believed to have been an improvised explosive device was detonated on a train at Parsons Green Station, west of the city, during Friday’s morning rush hour.
Some passengers are reported to have sustained facial burns, while others were seen being stretchered away from the chaotic scene with burns “from head to toe”.
The station is crawling with heavily armed police and emergency service personnel attending to the injured.
Photos and video circulated on social media show what appears to be the remnants of a homemade bomb seen smoldering on the train immediately after the explosion.
Wires could be seen protruding out of a burning white bucket that had been placed in a bag and left near a door.
According to Sky News, police investigating the explosion believe the device failed to detonate properly.
Witnesses reported watching a huge fireball consume the entire carriage which was packed with commuters.
One bystander told The Sun a “fireball flew down a carriage”, while another told BBC News he saw a “wall of flame”.
“We have sent multiple resources to the scene including single responders in cars, ambulance crews, incident response officers and our hazardous area response team,” London Ambulance Service’s assistant director of operations Natasha Wills said in a statement.
“Our initial priority is to assess the level and nature of injuries.”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) September 15, 2017
— Sylvain Pennec (@sylvainpennec) September 15, 2017
Bystanders have reported being caught up in a crushing stampede as passengers scrambled to get to safety.
Senior national coordinator for counter-terror policing Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu has declared the explosion “a terrorist incident”.
“At present, we are aware of a number of casualties,” the National Counter Terrorism Security Office said in a statement.
“It is too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now underway by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.”
“We urge the public to remain calm but alert and if you have any concerns, see or hear anything suspicious then contact police.”
The station remains closed and people are urged to stay well away from the area.
No further information was available at the time of writing.
— CNN (@CNN) September 15, 2017