UK threat level lowered from critical to severe after pair arrested

The UK's threat level has been lowered from critical to severe after two people were arrested in connection with the terror attack on Parsons Green.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said police had made "good progress" in the investigation as she announced the country had been removed from the highest terror alert.

Meanwhile, CCTV images have emerged appearing to show a person walking with a Lidl bag on the morning of last Friday's rush hour Tube attack.

The footage, acquired by ITV News, is reported to have been filmed near a house in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, which is at the centre of one of two police raids.

Images posted on social media following the Parsons Green attack appeared to show wires protruding from a flaming bucket inside a plastic Lidl carrier bag on the floor of a carriage.

An 18-year-old man, understood to be the suspected bomber, and a 21-year-old man remain in custody after being arrested by police yesterday.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the country's top counter-terrorism officer, said developments in the operation had provided "greater clarity " on the attack.

He said: "We are getting a greater understanding of the preparation of the device.

"There is still much more to do but this greater clarity and this progress has led JTAC - the independent body that assesses threat - to come to the judgment that an attack is no longer imminent."

The 18-year-old man was detained yesterday morning in the departure area of Dover ferry port, which is the busiest ferry hub in Europe and a gateway to the French coast.

Police are continuing to search a house in Sunbury-on-Thames - home to Penelope and Ronald Jones, aged 71 and 88 respectively, who previously received MBEs for services to children and families.

Dave Solway, who lives opposite Mr and Mrs Jones, said he saw the property being "swarmed" by police during yesterday's raid.

The 44-year-old said: "Counter-terror police began banging on their front door with shields, bomb-proof shields.

"I saw Penny being pulled out basically, I didn't see Ron, don't know if he was there.

"There was loads of them, it was swarmed, there must have been a good 15-20 easily round the back, front, side of the house."

Mr and Mrs Jones, who have been foster parents for almost 40 years, had taken in up to 300 children including eight refugees.

A local politician said he understood an 18-year-old who had lived with the couple to be an Iraqi orphan who had moved to Britain aged 15 after his parents died.

Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council Ian Harvey, whose ward is Sunbury East, said he learnt about the boy's background from neighbours of Mr and Mrs Jones and information available publicly.

He said: "One thing I understand is that he was an Iraqi refugee who came here aged 15 - his parents died in Iraq."

Jim Adaway, 37, a family friend, said Mr and Mrs Jones recently returned to foster caring to help resettle youngsters from overseas, but had struggled with one of the children in their care.

An address in Stanwell, Surrey - just metres from the runway at Heathrow Terminal 5 - is also being searched in connection with the arrest of the 21-year-old man in Hounslow late yesterday evening.

Local residents said the man living at the property in Lowlands Drive, Stanwell, which was raided by police on Sunday, is a light-skinned man of Arabic appearance.

According to a couple, who asked not to be named, he habitually stayed up late at night and was often visited by two male companions, who appeared to be in their late teens.

The husband said: "He seemed a really, really nice chap, we have sat there and had a drink with him, but he didn't drink alcohol.

"He was from North Africa, I think, perhaps Morocco or Algeria, but he had family from Scotland.

"I think he moved in about 14 months ago, he was very quiet, he was on his own."

His wife added: "To me he just kept himself to himself, he wasn't involved with us or the neighbours, but he seemed to be up at unusual hours."

Thirty people were injured when the improvised device exploded during rush hour at Parsons Green station, with all but one now discharged from hospital.

The lowering of the threat level from critical to severe means another attack is no longer imminent but still highly likely.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "I would urge all Londoners to remain vigilant over the days ahead.

"You will see more police - including armed officers - on the streets and transport network throughout the week. They are there to keep us safe.

"London's response to this attack shows once again that we will never be intimidated by terrorism."


KEYWORDS: Parsons Green

 

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