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U.K. under duress as attacks mount; ISIS takes responsibility

The emergency services are seen near the police cordon at Parsons Green Underground Station on September 15, 2017 in London, England.

The emergency services are seen near the police cordon at Parsons Green Underground Station on September 15, 2017 in London, England.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Friday’s blast at London Tube highlights the challenge facing large metropolitan centres

Friday’s blast at London Tube that injured at least 22 people highlighted the challenge facing large metropolitan centres, amid a new wave of terror attacks, some of which appear to be carried out by lone agents, often using low-tech weapons such as vehicles, knives or home made devices.

ISIS has taken responsibility for the attack, according to a communiqué translated by the Site Intelligence Group, claiming that several devices had been planted, and that more “devastating” attacks were to come.

 

Like commuter trains in India, London’s rush-hour tubes and trains are infamously packed, making it almost impossible to identify suspicious packages dumped on them, which appears to have been the case on Friday.

The incident, fifth terror attack this year in Britain, is also likely to reignite the domestic debate regarding funding of emergency services in the country, amid austerity cutbacks to resources and constraints on pay — issues that were raised by the Labour Party following previous attacks.

Further resources

On Friday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan raised the issue of resources, and how the latest attack underlined the need for further resources of the capital that has become, along with Paris, a focal point of recent terror incidents in Europe.

 

Friday’s attack comes 12 years after 52 people were killed on terrorist bombings on London buses and tubes, and after the March attack on Westminster Bridge and outside the Houses of Parliament that killed five people.

Less than a month after the attack on the Ariana Grande Concert in Manchester in May, 11 people were killed in another attack around London Bridge station. In June, a man was killed outside the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. Nineteen terrorist plots have been foiled in Britain since June 2013, while 379 people were arrested for terrorism related offences across the country in the twelve months to June.

Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the “cowardly attack,” which was designed to cause “significant harm”.

“By working together we will defeat it,” she said.

Britain’s threat level would remain at severe, though this would remain under review, she added.

 

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:00:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/uk-under-duress-as-attacks-mount/article19694769.ece

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