Several commuters injured in London underground ‘terrorist’ incident
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The UK's top anti-terrorism officer says a blast on a London underground train on Friday, in which 29 people were injured, was caused by an "improvised explosive device".
Emergency services rushed to the Parsons Green underground station in southwest London after reports of an explosion on a rush-hour commuter train.
Witnesses described seeing passengers with burns to their faces and bodies coming off the crowded train, and seeing a fire or hearing an explosion. Others spoke of "panic" as alarmed passengers rushed to exit the station, triggering a stampede.
Health officials says 21 people are being treated and eight others have already been discharged. The London Ambulance Service says it took 19 patients to hospitals, most with minor injuries. The others went in themselves.
Police say most of those injured suffered from flash burns, adding that there have been no reports of serious life-threatening injuries.
Police said counter-terrorism officers were leading the investigation into the fire at Parsons Green station, which was declared a "terrorist incident".
Mark Rowley, the UK's top counter-terrorism officer, confirmed an explosion, saying it had been caused by an "improvised explosive device".
Prime Minister Theresa May's office said she was returning to Downing Street from her constituency in southern England following the incident.
On Friday afternoon she said the official terrorism threat level would remain at "severe," the second-highest rung on a five-point scale, and wasn't being raised to "critical".
May will be chairing an emergency cabinet meeting later on in the day.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who will be attending the cabinet meeting, said Londoners should remain "calm and vigilant".
'We will never be defeated' says Sadiq after Parsons Green explosion https://t.co/BiTKr1p63eEvening Standard (@standardnews) 15 September 2017
Richard Aylmer-Hall, 52, a media technology consultant, described scenes of "panic" on the train.
"There was panic, lots of people shouting, screaming, lots of screaming," he told the Press Association.
"I saw two women being treated by ambulance crews," he said.
A picture on social media showed flames coming out of a white bucket on an underground train, but did not appear to show extensive damage in the carriage.
Transport for London said on Twitter that there was no service between Earls Court and Wimbledon on the District Line which runs through Parsons Green.
Police have urged members of the public to avoid the area around the underground station.
The incident comes as tensions are high in London, which has been struck repeatedly by extremist attacks this year.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AP)