LONDON – British media reported the first details of two men arrested in connection with a crude – but potentially deadly – bomb that detonated in the London subway last week, injuring 30 people and reigniting fears of more terrorist attacks in Britain.
The Metropolitan Police have not yet released the names of the suspects, and no charges have been filed.
But British media reported that one of the men is Yahyah Farroukh, 21, whose social media pages suggest he was from Damascus, Syria. Farroukh was studying at a regional college in Britain and had traveled recently back to the Middle East, the reports said.
Photographs in the Sun newspaper show a man they report to be Farroukh being detained by police outside a fried chicken shop in west London on Saturday night. Officers are shown placing his arms and legs in plastic sleeves to protect possible evidence.
On his social media sites, Farroukh appears in ordinary selfies, showing him visiting London landmarks, including Big Ben.
On Sunday night, ITV News acquired closed-circuit images that purport to show a person walking with a similar shopping bag used in Friday’s attack at the Parsons Green station. The bag has been placed in a bucket with Christmas tree lights.
In the short video clip, the person’s face cannot be seen as he strides, head down, clutching the bag.
The location of the brief surveillance video was close to one of two properties searched by British counterterrorism officers and forensic teams on Saturday.
One of the homes is in Sunbury, less than an hour west of central London, where a couple served as foster parents for many children, including refugees, over several decades. The now elderly pair, Ronald and Penelope Jones, were honored by Queen Elizabeth II for their care of abandoned children in 2010.
Neither the police nor British media have revealed the name of the other suspect arrested by police, an 18-year-old who was detained Saturday in the ferry port of Dover in southeast England, where authorities suspect he was seeking to board a boat out the country.
Both men are being held for questioning under the Terrorism Act.
“For strong investigative reasons, we will not give any more details on the man we arrested at this stage,” Deputy Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu said earlier.
The Islamic State terrorist group asserted responsibility for the explosion. Experts cautioned that the group often seeks credit for attacks it may have only inspired, as well as ones it had nothing to do with.
The explosion rekindled debate about whether countries such as Britain have been tough enough in fighting terrorism. Just hours after the blast, President Donald Trump suggested that Britain needed to be “more proactive.” Prime Minister Theresa May retorted that such comments were not helpful.
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