While students on campus prepped their red, white, and blue outfits for Wet Hot festivities this past Friday, London was going through crisis. An “improvised explosive device” had been set off during morning rush hour on a District Line tube carriage, injuring 30 people in the blast.
The train carriage had been packed full of both commuters and schoolchildren. While most of those injured were adults, a young boy was harmed in the attack. Fortunately, no one sustained life-threatening injuries.
While the explosive device did go off, it only partially detonated, sending a ball of fire across the tube car, but doing little else. The Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack, which some Londoners are referring to as “an utter failure.”
John Aitken, a submariner in the Royal Navy, remarked that Londoners are dealing with the attack much as they handle all other minor inconveniences: with a stiff upper lip and enough dry humor to make John Cleese proud.
Friday’s attack represents the fifth terrorist attack on British soil in the last six months. In addition to the events that occurred in Manchester in May, and on and around London Bridge in June of this year, there was also an attack on a mosque in Finsbury Park- another subsection of London- earlier in the summer.
Although fears of another attack persist among some of those in London, Matt McColl ’19, who is currently studying abroad in London, stated: “While I am saddened by the recent attacks, I’m not rattled.”
Immediately following the attack, Prime Minister Theresa May declared the threat level in the UK to be “severe” – the second highest threat level possible. After the arrest of a second suspect on Saturday, though, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced that the UK was downgrading the threat level from “severe” to “critical.” Despite this, the MI5 website continues to state that the current threat level is “severe.”
Thus far, two individuals have been arrested in direct connection with the attack. Both individuals were arrested while seemingly en route to flee the country; one was at a ferry port headed to France, while the other was on his way to Heathrow Airport. According to CNN, a third individual with a possible relationship to the events was also arrested in Wales on Tuesday. While the names of the suspects have not been released, they have been pinpointed as three men aged 18 to 25.
The youngest suspect is allegedly an asylum seeker from Iraq, who was living with a foster family near the Parsons Green tube station. The young man had been living in the UK for three years, having left Iraq after the deaths of his parents. According to Ian Harvey, a local council leader, the man was “unhappy.” Another council leader, who has not yet been named by the press, alleges that the other suspect had also lived with the same foster family at an earlier time.