Manhunt underway following west London subway station blast

Xinhua
 A manhunt is underway on Friday after a blast, declared as a terrorist attack by the police, rocked a subway station in the western part of the British capital.
Xinhua
Han Yan / Xinhua

Police stand guard near the Parsons Green tube station in London, Britain, on Sept. 15, 2017.

 A manhunt is underway here on Friday after a blast, declared as a terrorist attack by the police, rocked a subway station in the western part of the British capital, sending at least 22 people to hospital, most with burn injuries.

"This is a live investigation," assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service in London, Mark Rowley, told reporters here.

The London police counter terrorism command is leading the response and the probe is being supported by the British spy agency MI5, he said.

The explosion, caused by the detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED), took place during morning rush hour on Friday at Parsons Green Station.

A timer was attached to the device, police said, and the perpetrator was not believed to be on the scene.

The home-made device went off on a packed rush hour carriage at around 8:20 am local time (0720 GMT), local media reported.

The police are looking at CCTV footage and seeking forensic clues in the area.

There were no serious or life-threatening injuries, the police said.

A message from the official Twitter feed of the London transport authority said that there was no service on any part of the subway line, known as the District Line.

This is the fifth such terrorist attack on Britain this year.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is holding a meeting meeting of the COBRA emergency committee, which kicked off at around 1:00 pm local time (1200 GMT) on Friday. The committee consists of members of the government, and emergency and intelligence services.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned those who would perpetrate such an incident.

"Our city utterly condemns the hideous individuals who attempt to use terror to harm us and destroy our way of life," Khan said in a statement. "As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism."

Meanwhile, the mayor also urged people to "remain calm and vigilant" in the wake of the explosion.

The Friday blast came after three deadly attacks in London this year -- Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and Finsbury Park, and one in Manchester at a concert of US pop singer Ariana Grande.


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