Updated at 3:00pm in London
There has been an explosion on a London underground train this morning (Sept. 15) that police are treating as a terrorist incident. The Metropolitan Police were called to reports of a fire on the train at Parsons Green station in West London at around 8:20am local time, the height of the morning rush hour. The London Ambulance Service said they have taken 18 people to a number of hospitals and “none are thought to be in a serious or life-threatening condition”.
Met Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said a few hours after the incident that “we now assess that it was a detonation of an improvised explosive device.” He also said that most of the injuries were burns. Local media are reporting the device had a timer. Police said they are still trying to establish who is responsible and so far no arrests have been made.
Large numbers of police, ambulances, and fire trucks are in the area, which has been cordoned off by armed police officers. The explosion was on an eastbound District Line train.
Eyewitness accounts suggest burn injuries and other injuries related to the crush of panicked people running off the train and out of the station. Parsons Green station is above ground. Unconfirmed photos and videos circulating on social media show a small white container on fire in a train carriage. The train car itself does not appear extensively damaged.
The counter-terrorism branch of London’s police service is at the scene, as is an explosive ordinance disposal team.
Parsons Green is a leafy part of West London that is home to several schools. People coming out of the tube station were shaken, crying, and unsure of what happened. Parents with babies in strollers and toddlers on scooters gathered on the corner of Parsons Green Lane and Fulham Road, in front of Kensington Prep School.
British prime minister Theresa May held a meeting of the government’s emergency-response committee, known as COBRA, at 1pm local time. She said that the threat level would remain “severe”. She reiterated that her thoughts are with those were injured and the families affected by the incident. She added that the device was “intended to cause significant harm”.
She also addressed US president Donald Trump’s tweets. Earlier today, on Twitter, Trump said that a “terrorist” was in the “in the sights of Scotland Yard”. However, the authorities have not confirmed any suspects, yet. A Sky News presenter asked May whether Trump “knows something we don’t”. She said “I never think it’s helpful for anyone to speculate on an ongoing investigation”.
BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani says there have been 11 major terror incidents in the UK this year—five attacks and six that were stopped at the plotting stage. The UK’s current terror threat level is “severe,” the second-highest level, which means “an attack is highly likely.”