Parsons Green: what we’ve learned about the Tube bomb suspects
Police question two men, aged 18 and 21, believed to be from the same foster home
Scotland Yard police investigating the terrorist attack on Parsons Green underground station are questioning two men who may have been cared for by the same foster parents.
The suspects, aged 18 and 21, were being still being held today after being arrested this weekend over possible ties to Friday's Tube bombing. At least 30 people were injured when a home-made device partially detonated, sending a fireball through the train, during morning rush hour.
The 21-year-old suspect, named as Syrian refugee Yahya Faroukh, was arrested in Hounslow, west London, on Saturday evening. An unidentified 18-year-old man was detained in the departures area of Dover port on Saturday morning.
Spelthorne Borough Council leader Ian Harvey, of Sunbury East ward, told the Press Association that the 18-year-old - who is reportedly suspected of planting the device - was understood to be an Iraqi orphan who had moved to the UK when he was 15.
Both suspects may have lived at the same foster home, in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, which was raided by police over the weekend, The Independent reports.
The pair are being held under section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to detain suspects without charge beyond the four days allowed for suspects connected to other crimes, The Guardian reports.
CCTV of a man in the Sunbury-on-Thames area carrying a Lidl bag similar to one used in Friday morning’s attack has been handed to police, who are appealing to the public for further videos and photos to help in their investigation.
‘Pillars of the community’
The raided foster home is owned by Penelope Jones, 71, and her husband, Ronald, 88. They were awarded MBEs in 2009 for services to children and families, and are said to have fostered up to 300 children over 40 years.
The couple were described to ITV News as "beautiful people" by neighbours. One person called them “great pillars of the community", adding: "They do a job that not many people do."
Family friend Jim Adaway told The Daily Telegraph that the Joneses had recently returned to foster caring to help resettle youngsters from overseas, particularly warzones. There were several media reports that they had been struggling to cope with one of their wards.
"I think Penny was getting in touch with [the authorities], saying, 'I cannot handle this one'," Adaway said.
As well as the Jones’s home, police raided a property linked to Faroukh, and a third address, thought to be a Middle Eastern restaurant called Aladdins Fried Chicken in Hounslow.
‘Not a lone wolf’
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said it appeared the bomber was not a lone wolf, but that it was “too early to reach any final conclusions on that”.
Following the two arrests, the UK terror threat level was lowered from its highest level, critical, to severe.
The BBC’s Dominic Casciani described the lowering of the threat level as an “important sign”.
“The threat level would not have been reduced if anyone within the counterterrorism network still thought there was a bomber, or accomplices, on the loose,” he adds.
London tube blast was terror attack, police say
Scotland Yard counterterrorism police are investigating a terrorist attack on a train at west London’s Parsons Green underground station that injured at least 22 people during rush hour this morning.
Some of the injured suffered facial burns when a “fireball” tore through the District Line train, The Sun reports. None of the injured were initially believed to be in a serious condition or to have life-threatening injuries.
Metropolitan Police confirmed the explosion was a terrorist incident - the fifth in the UK this year - in a Twitter statement released hours after the blast.
A metro.co.uk reporter at the scene described seeing people with facial burns, adding that they were “really badly burned” and “their hair was coming off”.
The BBC tweeted that TV newsreader Sophie Raworth had seen a woman taken to ambulance with burns “from top to toe”.
The device that triggered the explosive fire was described by commuters as “a white bucket inside a Lidl carrier bag”, and some social media users posted what appeared to be images of the home-made bomb.
Reports this evening suggest that the attack could have been much worse if it had gone according to plan.
“The bomb appeared not to have gone off,” says the BBC’s security correspondent, Frank Gardner. “One possibility,” says The Guardian’s Jason Burke, “is that the detonator did not set off the main charge.”
Witnesses spoke of a “stampede” to get out of the underground as the bomb squad, counter-terrorism police and ambulances rushed to the station, located in the capital’s affluent borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Commuter Robyn Frost, who arrived at Parsons Green station as people were trying to flee, described the frantic scene inside to the BBC: “I walked into the station, there was blood on the floor and people running down the stairs screaming, 'Get out'.”
Ryan Barnett, 25, told AP that the station was in “absolute chaos” and that he “ended up squashed on the staircase. People were falling over, people fainting, crying, there were little kids clinging on to the back of me.”
Police have so far provided no information about potential suspects, saying: “It's very much a live investigation.”
The London Ambulance Service said it was alerted at 8.20am - when the District Line would have been packed with rush-hour commuters.
London has been targeted by terrorist attackers five times this year, with three deadly vehicle attacks, near Parliament, a mosque in Finsbury Square, and on London Bridge - where attackers also stabbed people in restaurants and pubs. In May, a suicide bomb at Manchester Arena killed 22 people.
The London Underground has been the focus of previous attacks, notably in July 2005, when suicide bombers blew themselves up on three tube trains and a bus, killing 52 people and themselves.