British police arrest man in hunt for London bombers

Passengers wait to for a train at Parson’s Green Underground station after it reopened following an explosion on a rush hour train yesterday morning, in London, Britain, September 16, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 16 September 2017

British police arrest man in hunt for London bombers

LONDON: British police arrested an 18-year-old man in the southern port of Dover on Saturday in a “significant” development in the hunt for the people behind a London commuter train bombing that injured 30 people a day earlier.
Prime Minister Theresa May put Britain on the highest security level of “critical” late on Friday, meaning an attack may be imminent, and soldiers and armed police deployed to secure strategic sites and hunt down the perpetrators.
The home-made bomb shot flames through a packed commuter train during the Friday morning rush hour in west London but apparently failed to detonate fully.
“We have made a significant arrest in our investigation,” said Neil Basu, Senior National Co-ordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing.
“Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical.”
The arrest was made in the port area of Dover, where passenger ferries sail to France.
The blast on the London tube train at the Parsons Green underground station was the fifth major terrorism attack in Britain this year and was claimed by Daesh.
Soldiers deployed
Britain deployed hundreds of soldiers at strategic sites such as nuclear power plants and ministry of defense sites on Saturday to free up armed police to help in the hunt for those behind the bombing.
The last time Britain was put on “critical” alert was after a man killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May. Prior to that it had not been triggered since 2007.
“For this period, military personnel will replace police officers on guard duties at certain protected sites,” May said in a televised statement.
“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 bomb struck as passengers were traveling to the center of the British capital. Some suffered burns and others were injured in a stampede to escape from the station, one of the above-ground stops on the underground network. Health officials said none was thought to be in a serious condition.
Pictures taken at the scene showed a slightly charred white plastic bucket with wires coming out of the top in a supermarket shopping bag on the floor of a train carriage.
“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,” said Ola Fayankinnu, who was on the train.
Manchester attack
“There were phones, hats, bags all over the place and when I looked back I saw a bag with flames.”
Daesh has claimed other attacks in Britain this year, including two in London and the pop concert in Manchester. It was not immediately possible to verify the claim about Parsons Green, for which Daesh’s news agency Amaq offered no evidence.
Western intelligence officials have questioned similar claims in the past, saying that while Daesh’s extremist ideology may have inspired some attackers, there is scant evidence that it has orchestrated attacks.


Macron slams Turkey’s ‘bellicose’ talk on Karabakh conflict

Updated 30 September 2020

Macron slams Turkey’s ‘bellicose’ talk on Karabakh conflict

  • Macron condemned Turkey’s statements backing Azerbaijan in its bid to take back the breakaway region of Nagorny Karabakh
  • Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Karabakh

RIGA: French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday condemned what he called Turkey’s “reckless and dangerous” statements backing Azerbaijan it its bid to take back the breakaway region of Nagorny Karabakh.
Ankara said on Tuesday it was “fully ready” to help Azerbaijan recover Nagorny Karabakh, as armed conflict escalated with neighboring Armenia over the region.
“I have noted Turkey’s political statements which I think are reckless and dangerous,” Macron told reporters in Latvia’s capital Riga during a visit to the Baltic EU state.
“France remains extremely concerned about the bellicose comments that Turkey made in the last hours, which essentially remove any inhibitions from Azerbaijan in what would be a reconquest of northern Karabakh. That we will not accept,” he added.
He also appeared to voice support for Yerevan: “I say to Armenia and to the Armenians, France will play its role.”
But Macron also said it was too soon to speak of a regional conflict.
He said he would discuss the tensions with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday evening and US President Donald Trump on Thursday before reporting on the situation to the European Council of EU leaders.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Karabakh and have blamed each other for sparking fierce clashes that erupted on Sunday and have since caused nearly 100 confirmed deaths.
The two sides have so far defied calls for a cease-fire.
Ankara has backed Azerbaijan in the conflict and on Tuesday the Armenian defense ministry said a Turkish F-16 flying in support of Baku’s forces had downed an Armenian SU-25 warplane. Ankara fiercely denied the claim.
Direct Turkish military action against Armenia would mark a major escalation after three days of heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over Karabakh.
And the UN Security Council called on both sides for an immediate end to the fighting.
Viewing Azerbaijan as its close ally and Armenia as its historic foe, Russia also called on Turkey to stop proclaiming support for Azerbaijan and to work toward a diplomatic solution to the escalation, the deadliest since 2016.
The European Union warned Monday regional powers not to interfere in fighting in Nagorny Karabakh, and condemned a “serious escalation” that threatens regional stability.