Parsons Green train bombing

Coordinates: 51°28′31″N 0°12′4″W / 51.47528°N 0.20111°W / 51.47528; -0.20111
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Parsons Green train bombing
Part of Islamic terrorism in Europe
2017 Parsons Green bombing 20.jpg
Police on Parsons Green, following the bombing
Parsons Green train bombing is located in London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham
Parsons Green train bombing (London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham)
Parsons Green train bombing is located in Greater London
Parsons Green train bombing (Greater London)
Parsons Green train bombing is located in the United Kingdom
Parsons Green train bombing (the United Kingdom)
LocationParsons Green Underground station, London
TQ 249 766
Coordinates51°28′31″N 0°12′4″W / 51.47528°N 0.20111°W / 51.47528; -0.20111
Date15 September 2017 (2017-09-15)
08:20 (BST)
TargetLondon Underground, civilians
WeaponsIED (Improvised explosive device)
PerpetratorIslamic State of Iraq and the Levant
AssailantsAhmed Hassan
MotiveIslamic extremism

On 15 September 2017, at around 08:20 BST (07:20 UTC), an explosion occurred on a District line train at Parsons Green Underground station, in London, England. Thirty people were treated in hospital or an urgent care centre, mostly for burn injuries, by a botched, crude "bucket bomb" with a timer containing the explosive chemical TATP.[4][5][3] Police arrested the main suspect, 18-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker Ahmed Hassan, in a departure area of the Port of Dover the next day, and subsequently raided several addresses, including the foster home of an elderly couple in Sunbury-on-Thames where Hassan lived[6][7][8] following his arrival in the United Kingdom two years earlier claiming to be an asylum seeker.

The incident was classified by Europol as a case of jihadist terrorism.[9]


Four other attacks occurred in England in the months preceding the bombing: the Westminster attack, the Manchester Arena bombing, the London Bridge attack and the Finsbury Park attack.[10] According to the BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani, along with the Parsons Green train bombing and police having foiled at least seven 'significant plots', this makes it "the most sustained period of terror activity in England since the IRA bombing campaign of the 1970s."[11]


Map of the station area

A homemade bomb partially exploded on an eastbound District line train at Parsons Green Underground station, in West London.[12] The District line train was packed with commuters and school children.[13] Witnesses described seeing a fireball in the rear carriage of the packed rush-hour train. Numerous passengers were reported to have suffered flash burns. Others received crush injuries in the rush to leave the scene. Thirty people received medical treatment for their injuries, 19 of whom were taken to hospital by ambulance and the remainder self-presenting at hospital.[14]

The device had been left in a white plastic bucket inside a shopping bag. Wires were hanging out, as well as a black towel. Reports also indicate the device was packed with knives and screws.[15] According to Ben Wallace, the security minister, the bomb contained the triacetone triperoxide explosive (TATP), the same explosive used in the 2005 London Underground bombings and the November 2015 Paris attacks.[16] The explosive is known to be very unstable, which may have led to critical errors in the construction of the bomb, such that it only partially exploded. According to Chip Chapman, former head of Counterterrorism at the Ministry of Defence, "This absolutely didn't function properly because… 1 ounce (30 g) of TATP is enough to blow car doors off".[16]

Claim of responsibility[edit]

According to the Amaq News Agency, an affiliated unit of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carried out the attack.[17][18] The Metropolitan Police described the claim as "very routine in these sort of circumstances ... whether or not they have had any previous engagement with the individuals involved".[19] On 17 September, Home Secretary Amber Rudd said there was no evidence to suggest that ISIL was behind the attack, and added that they would find out how the attacker was radicalised if they could.[20]

Investigation and trial[edit]

The Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command led the investigation into the attack.[21] According to the Metropolitan Police, “hundreds of detectives” were involved in the investigation.[22] Investigators reportedly linked the attack to Islamic extremism and considered feasible a network of individuals involved in such plans.[23] The Metropolitan Police launched a manhunt for one, possibly two, suspects.[24]

On 16 September, Kent Police Special Branch arrested Ahmed Hassan at the Port of Dover on suspicion of a terror offence.[25] The port area was partially evacuated and a number of items recovered by the police.[26] Later that day, police raided, and searched a house in Sunbury, Surrey.[27] Hassan was not named initially, but was identified by media reports as an 18-year-old Iraqi orphan refugee[28] who had been referred to a governmental anti-extremist programme.[29]

Seven men were arrested in total during the investigations. Later on 16 September, a man was arrested in Hounslow, west London,[30][31] A third man, a 25-year-old, was arrested in Newport, south Wales, on 19 September and an address in Newport was searched.[29] The seventh and final arrest took place on 25 September in Cardiff. On 21 September the second arrestee was released without charge.[citation needed]

On 22 September, Hassan was charged with attempted murder and causing an explosion likely to endanger life or cause serious injury. He appeared in court the following day and was remanded in custody, to appear at the Old Bailey on 13 October.[15] The other six arrestees were released without charge.[32][33]

Ahmed Hassan pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial took place on 5–16 March 2018 at the Old Bailey. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) indicated that Hassan had not conveyed his motive for the attack and that, perhaps due to his destruction of electronic devices, there was no evidence of ISIS being an inspiration.[34] On 16 March, he was found guilty by a unanimous jury.[35] On 23 March, he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 34 years; he will be eligible for parole on 23 March 2052.[36] The sentence reflected the court's belief that Hassan had lied about his age and was in fact older.[37] It has been claimed, in an article by Lizzie Dearden of The Independent, that the police missed or misinterpreted evidence indicating Hassan was inspired by ISIS.[38]

The bomber[edit]

Ahmed Hassan arrived illegally in the UK in October 2015[39] claiming to be under 18, at a time when the UK government had shortly before instituted more generous rules on accepting asylum applications from unaccompanied minors.[37] At a January 2016 immigration interview, Hassan told officials he had been in contact with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and been compelled by ISIL to undergo training to kill with about 1,000 other young people and he had feared members of his family would be killed if he had attempted to resist.[39] Hassan also stated during the interview that he blamed the United Kingdom for his father having died in Iraq.[40] While his asylum application was being processed, he was placed in foster care with a highly experienced elderly foster couple who were given no hint of his extremist links.[37]



In a statement after the incident, the Prime Minister, Theresa May, said: "My thoughts are with those injured at Parsons Green and the emergency services who, once again, are responding swiftly and bravely to a suspected terrorist incident".[41]

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "As London has proven again and again, we will never be intimidated or defeated by terrorism. I am in close contact with the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London (TfL), Government and other emergency services who are responding at the scene and leading the investigation. I will be attending the emergency COBRA meeting in Whitehall this afternoon with the Prime Minister. My sincere gratitude goes to all our courageous emergency responders and the TfL staff who were first on the scene. I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant".[42] Khan also said: "I am not going to apologise for saying we need more resources and more police in London".[43]

Subsequent to the attack, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre decided to raise the terror threat level from 'Severe' to 'Critical',[44] for only the fourth time since its 2006 introduction.[45] Operation Temperer was also activated for the second time, as a result of the raise in threat level.[46] The terror threat level was then returned to 'Severe' by JTAC on 17 September 2017.[47]

Citing the Parsons Green train bombing, police advised the public not to record terrorist events, but instead to "run, hide, tell".[48]


US President Donald Trump tweeted: "Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!"[49] He also touted his proposed travel ban.[50] His comments were described by Theresa May, who characterised the tweets as inaccurate speculation, as "not helpful."[51]

Craig Palmer bravery award[edit]

On 6 April 2019 it was announced that Lt. Col. Craig Palmer, a passenger on the affected tube train, had been awarded the Queen's Commendation for Bravery for his part in helping to bring the bomber to trial and conviction. Despite great risk to himself, the Artillery officer, who was two carriages away as the train entered Parsons Green station, went towards the scene of the bomb and recognised it for what it was. He took pictures that were able to be used in evidence at the subsequent trial of the bomber.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Update: Arrest made re: Parsons Green attack". Metropolitan Police. 16 September 2017. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Man arrested over London Tube bombing". BBC News. 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b Rawlinson, Kevin; Siddique, Haroon; Dodd, Vikram (15 September 2017). "London tube explosion: District line device was homemade bomb, say police". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  4. ^ "The Parsons Green bomb had the hallmarks of an ISIS-favoured chemical explosive, according to security experts". Business Insider. 15 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Tube blast is terror incident, say police". BBC News. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Tube attack: police search three properties as terror threat downgraded". The Guardian. 18 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Report: The Parsons Green bomb could have been constructed in a Surrey garden shed". Business Insider. 19 September 2017.
  8. ^ "London: Police charge teen over Parsons Green attack". Al Jazeera. 22 September 2017.
  9. ^ European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2018 (TE SAT 2018) (PDF). Europol. 2018. p. 24. ISBN 978-92-95200-91-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  10. ^ Lizzie Dearden. "'That could have been me': Parsons Green residents try to process local bomb attack". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 15 September 2017. The bleak assessment appears to be widely shared after a stream of terror attacks striking Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge, Finsbury Park, Buckingham Palace and now Parsons Green.
  11. ^ "Parsons Green: What do the police do next?". BBC News. 16 September 2017.
  12. ^ Weaver, Matthew; Bowcott, Owen; Bowcott, Owen; Dodd, Vikram (15 September 2017). "London tube explosion: video shows burning device as police launch terrorism inquiry – latest updates". The guardian.
  13. ^ Rawlinson, Kevin; Mahmood, Mona; Cobain, Ian (18 September 2017). "Parsons Green attack: police given more time to question suspects". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "London tube station explosion: Latest updates". The Independent. 15 September 2017. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Parsons Green attack: Man in court charged with attempted murder". BBC News. 22 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  16. ^ a b Dearden, Lizzie (16 September 2017). "London attack: Parsons Green bomb contained 'mother of Satan' explosive used in Manchester bombing". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  17. ^ "London Parsons Green bombing: Islamic State claims responsibility for attack – terror threat level raised to critical". Belfast Telegraph.
  18. ^ "Islamic State claims London subway terror attack carried out by affiliated unit". USA Today. 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  19. ^ "Parsons Green: UK terror threat increased to critical after Tube bomb". BBC. 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Parsons Green: Second arrest over Tube bombing". BBC News. 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  21. ^ "An investigation into the attack at Parsons Green, led by Scotland Yard counter-terrorism command and involving MI5".
  22. ^ "UPDATE: Detectives appeal for information following terrorist attack at Parsons Green". Metropolitan Police. 15 September 2017. Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Home Secretary Amber Rudd hails 'very significant' arrest of man over Parsons Green terror attack". The Independent. Press Association. 16 September 2017. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Investigators – who it is understood are linking the attack to Islamist extremism ...
  24. ^ "Parsons Green attack: We don't have a suspect yet, insist police amid claims attacker has been identified on CCTV". Evening Standard. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  25. ^ "'Extremely devious' Sunbury man found guilty of planting Parsons Green bomb". Surrey Comet. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  26. ^ "UPDATE: Parsons Green terrorist attack". Metropolitan Police. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  27. ^ Dodd, Vikram (16 September 2017). "Parsons Green bombing: police arrest man and raid Surrey house". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  28. ^ "UK Tube bomb attack suspect identified". Sky News Australia. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  29. ^ a b "Parsons Green bombing: Third arrest over Tube attack". BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2017. On Saturday an 18-year-old man, who the BBC has learnt had previously been referred to an anti-extremist programme, was arrested in Dover port.
  30. ^ "UK police arrest 2nd man in connection with London subway attack". CBS News. 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  31. ^ "Parsons Green Tube bomb: Police still questioning suspects". The BBC. 18 September 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Parsons Green bombing: Three men released without charge". BBC News. BBC. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  33. ^ Corcoran, Kieran (27 September 2017). "Only 1 person is in police custody for the Parsons Green attack after they let everybody else go". Business Insider Nordic. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  34. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (16 March 2018). "Parsons Green attack: Tube bomber Ahmed Hassan convicted of attempted murder". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  35. ^ Minelle, Bethany (7 March 2018). "Parsons Green accused Ahmed Hassan 'used school prize to buy bomb materials'". Sky News. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  36. ^ "Parsons Green Tube bomber jailed for life". BBC News. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  37. ^ a b c Evans, Martin (23 March 2018). "Parsons Green terrorist is jailed for at least 34 years after the judge rules he lied about only being 18". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  38. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (21 March 2018). "Parsons Green bomber's Isis inspiration was missed by police investigation". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  39. ^ a b Cobain, Ian (7 March 2018). "Parsons Green bomb trial: teenager 'trained to kill by Isis'". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  40. ^ "Parsons Green Tube bomber jailed for life". BBC News. 23 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  41. ^ "Explosion on tube train at Parsons Green treated as terrorism by police". 15 September 2017.
  42. ^ John, Tara (15 September 2017). "What to Know About the Explosion on a London Underground Train". Time. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  43. ^ "22 injured in blast in London tube during rush hour". Times of India. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  44. ^ Ward, Victoria (15 September 2017). "UK terror threat level raised to critical, meaning an attack is imminent, Prime Minister says". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  45. ^ "Reality Check: How terrorism threat levels work". BBC News. 16 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  46. ^ Greenfield, Patrick (16 September 2017). "Explainer: why UK terror threat has been raised to its highest level". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  47. ^ "Terror threat lowered after Tube bombing". BBC News. 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  48. ^ Lydia Smith (28 September 2017). "Police urge teenagers not to take photos if caught up in a terror attack". The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 1 October 2017. Police recently advised people not to stop and record such incidents, citing the bombing at Parsons Green station in London.
  49. ^ Trump, Donald J (15 September 2017). "Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!". Twitter. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  50. ^ Trump, Donald J (15 September 2017). "The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific—but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!". Twitter. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  51. ^ "Parsons Green: Trump terror tweets 'not helpful', says May". News. BBC. 15 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  52. ^ Mohdin, Aamna (6 April 2019). "Soldier who rushed towards Parsons Green bomb given bravery award". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 April 2019.