An improvised explosive device on a British subway train engulfed a carriage in flames on Friday morning as it was about to depart a London station, injuring 22 individuals.
Passengers fled the scene in panic after the blast as the train was set to leave Parsons Green underground station in West London at 8:20 am local time. Reports indicate that the IED failed to fully explode on the District Line Tube.
Armed police and emergency services first reported they were responding to an “incident”, but it was later treated as an act of terrorism.
Daesh (IS) claimed responsibility for Britain’s fifth major terrorism incident this year later on Friday through its Amaq news agency, saying an affiliated unit had carried out the attack.
Several suffered burns on the train, and others injured during the rush to vacate the station, but health authorities say none are in serious condition.
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced around 8:30 pm local time that the United Kingdom had raised the national threat level to ‘”critical”, meaning an attack is imminent.
Earlier, May condemned the “cowardly” attack, saying it had “intended to cause significant harm.”
After chairing a meeting of the national emergency committee COBRA Friday afternoon, May said there would be an increased armed police presence throughout the transport network in London.
An extensive investigation is underway with MI5 and detectives involved, however, no arrests or suspects have been reported at this time.
Top counter-terrorism officer Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley with the Metropolitan Police declined to say whether any suspects were on the train.
Images and video from the scene showed a small white bucket aflame in a supermarket bag on the floor of a train carriage. The bucket was still largely intact and had wires protruding from its top.
A witness told Reuters news agency that he was near the explosion.
“I was on the second carriage from the back. I just heard a kind of whoosh. I looked up and saw the whole carriage engulfed in flames making its way toward me,” Ola Fayankinnu said.
BBC security correspondent said if the bomb had exploded as intended, it would have killed those in close proximity, and seriously injured everyone in the carriage.
United States President Donald Trump responded to the terror incident by implying that the suspects were known to authorities previous to Friday.
Mr Trump said the attack was carried out by a “loser terrorist”, calling the suspects “sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard.”
He called on British intelligence to be “proactive”.
“I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation,” British Prime Minister Theresa May said in a rebuke of Trump’s tweet.
The White House said that Trump called May after the rebuke and “pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism.”
The president also offered “his condolenses over this morning’s cowardly attack in London,” said Downing Street.
The Metropolitan Police also said “any specualtion is unhelpful.”
Several Britons expressed distaste with Trump’s tweets.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who Trump has attacked in the past during other terror attacks, has not weighed in on the response at this time.
Khan called the Parsons Green terror incident “an attempt by evil and cowardly individuals.”
Published by The Anon Journal