Tuesday, 5 March 2019

UK airports on high alert after explosive devices sent to London Heathrow and London City Airports

UK airports have been told to be on high alert after explosive devices have been sent to London Heathrow Airport, London City Airport and London's Waterloo train station.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed it's Counter Terrorism Command is investigating what it says is a "linked series" of attacks and was "keeping an open mind" regarding possible motives. However, police in Ireland have confirmed they are helping with the investigation as the packages sent to Heathrow and Waterloo had Irish postage stamps on them.

The packages were found in yellow jiggy type bags inside white A4 postal bags, the Metropolitan Police said and were confirmed to contain small improvised explosive devices. "These devices, at this early stage of the investigation, appear capable of igniting an initially small fire when opened." a spokesperson said.

The package sent to Heathrow was opened by airport staff just before 10am on Tuesday, March 5th and ignited when it had been opened. This prompted Heathrow to call in the police and the offices in the Compass Centre being evacuated. 

Just over an hour and forty minutes later, part of one of London's busiest railway stations had to be cordoned off after a second package was discovered in the post room or Waterloo station.

Then at approximately 12.10, the Metropolitan Police were called to another suspicious package at London City Airport's Aviation House, Royal Docks.  The force sent specialist officers to the scene and the building was evacuated as a precaution.  Staff were allowed back in the office some four hours later after the police dealt with the explosive device. The airport said that no flights were delayed during the evacuation and the terminal operated normally. 

The UK's Transport Secretary Chris Grayling urged people to report "anything suspicious" to police, while the Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, "Our thanks go to police, security, transport staff and all involved for their swift actions to keep our city safe."