Armed police patrols have been stepped up across the UK in the wake of a terrorist bomb attack on a London Underground train on Friday morning.
Britain’s terror threat was raised to “critical” last night after a homemade explosive device partially exploded on a train outside Parsons Green Underground station.
The increased threat level means another attack could be imminent.
A massive manhunt is underway for the person who planted the crude device, which was contained in a bucket wrapped in a bag from budget German supermarket Lidl.
An 18-year-old suspect was arrested in Dover this morning in connection with the bombing.
Twenty-nine people were injured in the attack, which the Metropolitan Police were quick to identify as a terrorist incident.
Daesh last night claimed responsibility for the bombing, using its Amaq propaganda unit to announce that a “detachment” linked to the jihadi group caused the explosion.
Terror experts warned the claim should be treated cautiously, as it is unusual for Daesh to claim responsibility for an attack while a suspect is still at large.
Announcing the decision to raise the UK terror threat level last night, British Prime Minister Theresa May said: “The public will see more armed police on the transport network and on our streets, providing extra protection.
“This is a proportionate and sensible step which will provide extra reassurance and protection while the investigation progresses.”
The terror threat level was last raised in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing, in which 23 people died, including suicide bomber Salman Abedi.
In what would amount to a departure from recent attacks if the perpetrator of the bombing turns out to have been influenced by Islamist ideology, the explosive device was reported by the BBC and Sky News as having a timer attached to it.
If the bomb had detonated as it was supposed to, many people could have lost their lives. It is thought that the device was intended to explode once the train had reached a station closer to central London.
Speaking with the Mirror, Hamish De Bretton-Gordon, the Ministry of Defence’s former Assistant Director of Intelligence Surveillance, said the bomb appeared to be several times the size of the device used in the Manchester Arena attack, and that it would have decimated the tube carriage it was placed in if it had gone off properly.
US President Donald Trump attracted criticism from both May and the Metropolitan Police after appearing to imply that Scotland Yard knew the identity of the attacker.
Taking to Twitter after the attack, Trump wrote: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said Trump’s comments were “unhelpful”, while May said: “I never think it’s helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.”