UK lowers official terrorist threat level after second arrest
British police made progress yesterday in their investigation of the bomb that partially exploded on a packed London subway, leading counterterrorism officials to lower the country's threat level because a fresh attack no longer was judged to be imminent.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced the downgraded terror threat level hours after London police said a second suspect was in custody and a second property was being searched in connection with Friday's attack that injured 30 people.
Rudd cautioned that the investigation was ongoing and that Britain still faced a substantial threat even though the terror level had been reset to "severe" from "critical."
"Severe still means that an attack is highly likely, so I would urge everybody to be vigilant but not alarmed," she said.
The advancing investigation was good news for London commuters, who had anticipated heading to work today while police were in a frantic bid to round up suspects before they could hit the city again.
Mark Rowley, who heads the police counterterrorism operation, said the travelling public still would see an increased police and military presence in the coming days.
"For practical and precautionary reasons, we made the decision that the increased resources will continue for the beginning of this week," Rowley said. "So the public will still see that high level of policing presence; some armed, some unarmed."
He said two properties were being searched and that police had "much more to do".
The fact that a second person - a 21-year-old man - was arrested under the Terrorism Act offered the clearest proof yet that police and security services believe the subway bombing was not just the work of one person.
The first suspect, an 18-year-old man, was arrested early Saturday in the departure area of the port of Dover, where ferries leave for France on a regular basis. The second was arrested in Hounslow in west London shortly before midnight Saturday.
Both were questioned yesterday at a south London police station. They have not been charged or identified.