Iraqi teenager convicted over Tube bomb


Ahmed HassanImage copyright
Met Police

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Ahmed Hassan

A teenager who showed warning signs to authorities that he could carry out a terrorist attack has been found guilty of 2017’s Parsons Green Tube bombing.

Ahmed Hassan’s bomb injured 30 commuters on a London Underground train on 15 September 2017.

A jury at the Old Bailey took just a day to find the 18-year-old, from Surrey, guilty of attempted murder.

The Iraqi teenager had been referred to the government’s deradicalisation programme prior to the attack.

Hassan, who arrived in the UK as a child asylum seeker, claimed to immigration officials that he had been groomed by the Islamic State group.

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Met Police

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Bomb: Hassan carried it in a supermarket bag on to a mainline train – and then on to the Underground

The BBC understands that while a local official from the government’s Prevent counter-extremism programme was brought in to look at his case in early 2016, Hassan did not receive any deradicalisation support for months.

He was eventually referred to specialists to try to change his mindset – and he had not been given the all-clear by the time he carried out the attack.

Speaking after the verdict, security minister Ben Wallace said: “It is clear that there are some lessons to be learned in this particular case.

“The police and local council have conducted an internal review into how it was handled and we are working with our partners to review the findings and to identify where further improvements can be made.”

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Media captionCCTV of Parson’s Green Tube bomb fireball

Hassan built his bomb in the home of his foster parents in Sunbury, Surrey, while they were away. From there, he travelled on a mainline train to Wimbledon station and then left the device, which had a timer, on a westbound District Line train. It partially exploded at 08:20am after the train arrived at Parsons Green Station.

Hassan had got off the carriage at the preceding station and went on the run. He was caught the following morning at Dover.

The bomb, made from 400g of TATP explosive that Hassan had mixed himself, was packed with 2kg of screwdrivers, knives, nuts and bolts. The jury heard it could have killed, had it worked as Hassan intended.

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Met Police

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Shrapnel: Some of the metal parts recovered from the bomb

Witnesses recalled a loud bang and a fireball rolling across the ceiling of the carriage. One passenger was burnt on their face and limbs and others were injured as passengers tried to run away.

The trial heard that Hassan arrived in the UK in a lorry after having spent time in the migrant camp in Calais known as the Jungle and he was referred to Surrey County Council’s social services – a standard procedure for unaccompanied child asylum seekers.

In his January 2016 immigration interview, the teenager told officials he had been in contact with the IS group and had been “trained to kill”. Care workers at the home where he was initially placed raised reported these concerns.

A local Prevent officer visited a week later – and the county’s Prevent “Panel” – a team of experts who assess what to do with each reported case of extremism, decided in February that Hassan should received specialist deradicalisation support.

The BBC understands it may not have started before the end of July. Hassan’s foster parents were not aware of the concerns that he harboured extremist views.

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