Parsons Green attack: Teenager arrested over London Tube bombing 'was referred to counter-extremism scheme'

Iraqi refugee is among five suspects being questioned by counter-terror police 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Wednesday 20 September 2017 18:06 BST
Police officers taking part in an operation in Cavendish Road, Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, as part of the investigation into the Parsons Green bombing
Police officers taking part in an operation in Cavendish Road, Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, as part of the investigation into the Parsons Green bombing (PA)

A teenager arrested in connection with the attempted bombing on a London Underground train had been referred to a Government counter-extremism programme, it has been claimed.

The unnamed 18-year-old was arrested in Dover on Saturday morning while allegedly attempting to board a ferry to France.

He was one of two suspects who had been fostered by the same couple in Surrey.

Local politicians identified the teenager as an Iraqi refugee who moved to the UK aged 15 when his parents died.

A neighbour said she believed the suspect had been arrested by police around two weeks ago for unknown reasons.

He had also been flagged to an anti-extremism programme before his arrest, the BBC reported.

Sources did not know who made the referral or when, but the controversial Prevent initiative handles alerts from local authorities, social workers, teachers and police.

Police release CCTV footage of alleged Parsons Green bombing suspect

Police are questioning the suspect on suspicion of terror offences but have not confirmed details of his alleged role.

Four other men from Wales and Surrey have been arrested over the attack, which injured 30 people on a London Underground train.

Witnesses described a “fireball” ripping through the packed carriage at Parsons Green station at the height of Friday morning’s rush hour.

Officials said the blast was caused by a homemade bomb, which failed to fully detonate.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attempted attack, saying it was carried out by “soldiers of the caliphate”.

One of the suspects has been named as Yahyah Farroukh, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee who was arrested outside a chicken shop in Hounslow on Saturday night.

He and the 18-year-old had been fostered by Penelope and Ronald Jones, aged 71 and 88 respectively, who were made MBEs for services to children and families in 2009.

Their home in Sunbury-on-Thames remains cordoned off after a raid by armed police, who evacuated nearby homes as a precaution on Saturday.

CCTV footage has emerged showing a man leaving the house on Saturday morning carrying a Lidl bag similar to that used to contain the bomb.

A third suspect, a 25-year-old man who locals described as a student and part-time decorator, was arrested in Newport on Tuesday evening.

Two more other men were detained following a dawn raid on another property in the Welsh city.

The 48-year-old man and a 30-year-old man arrested under the Terrorism Act lived in what was described by neighbours as a “halfway house” for asylum seekers.

One local businessman, who did not wish to be named, said: “It's apparently a halfway house for the Home Office.

"The people that live there don't come from around here. I don't think they've been there for long."

CCTV footage showed a marked police van, three marked police cars and four unmarked cars pulling up before the raid, with forensics officers dressed in white suits later seen at the property.

Scotland Yard said it was being supported by Gwent Police and the Welsh Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit (WECTU) in ongoing searches.

Commander Dean Haydon, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “This continues to be a fast-moving investigation. A significant amount of activity has taken place since the attack on Friday.

“We now have five men in custody and searches are continuing at four addresses. Detectives are carrying out extensive inquiries to determine the full facts behind the attack.

“We anticipate that the searches will take some days to complete and may cause further disruption. However, it is important that we continue with these searches and I’d like to thank all those affected for their support, patience and cooperation.”

Additional reporting by PA

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