Saturday 19 October 2019

Glasgow university reopens after package confirmed linked to London 'love bombs'

Police find similarities between London and Glasgow packages

DNA checks: One of the devices sent to addresses in the UK. Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA
DNA checks: One of the devices sent to addresses in the UK. Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Forensic police officers in the UK and Ireland have identified similarities between packages sent to the University of Glasgow yesterday and 'love bomb' packages sent to London on Tuesday.

Classes are expected to return to normal at the university today after a controlled explosion was carried out in its mailroom.

Bomb disposal officers detonated a suspect package which had been found on Wednesday morning.

Confirming the link with the incidents in London on Tuesday, Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson of Police Scotland said anyone who sees anything suspicious should report it immediately.

He said: "The package sent to the university was not opened and no-one was injured. A controlled explosion of the device was carried out this afternoon by EOD.

"There are similarities in the package, its markings and the type of device that was recovered in Glasgow to those in London.

"Therefore, we are now treating it as being linked to the three packages being investigated by the Met in London and both investigations are being run in tandem."

The results of forensic tests on three incendiary bomb packages found at London transport hubs this week were last night being studied by gardaí in a trans-national bid to identify those responsible

Officers from the Garda and the London metropolitan police hope fingerprint and DNA checks on the A4-size packages and Jiffy bags, which contained the small devices, will yield some clues about who the bombers are.

Members of dissident republican faction the New IRA remain the prime suspects for the London parcel bombs.

However, Dean Haydon, the Metropolitan Police's senior national co-ordinator for counter terrorism policing, acknowledged nothing had yet been found to indicate the motivation of the sender.

He also said that police had not ruled out the possibility of further devices and added that Scotland Yard was pursuing a number of lines of inquiry.

This included the Irish stamps and postmarks on the packages, but he pointed out that there were no messages contained within them.

He could not confirm if the incidents were related to what he called Ireland-related terrorist groups.

Senior Garda officers said that if the devices were the work of dissident republicans, it was unusual that 24 hours later, no one had claimed responsibility for them.

"In the past, some group would claim responsibility or at least jump on the bandwagon after a similar incident, but nobody has yet come forward", one officer said.

The New IRA was responsible for seven parcel bombs sent to British military recruitment centres across the south east of England, including Oxford, Brighton, Canterbury, Slough, Aldershot, Reading and Chatham in Kent, in February 2014.

The latest devices in England, sent to Heathrow and London city airports and Waterloo rail station, were described as small with "some degree of sophistication".

One of them caught fire when the package was opened, but no one was injured.

The other two remained intact and were dealt with by explosive experts.

Police in the UK remained vigilant yesterday for further packages, and there were a number of security alerts, but they all turned out to be false alarms.

Officers from the Garda's security and intelligence section at the force's headquarters in the Phoenix Park are in close contact with their counterparts in the London Met.

They are also working with the PSNI in an effort to identify the person or group behind the devices.

Forensic officers from the Garda technical bureau are assisting with checks through their database.

Tánaiste and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said he reacted with embarrassment and anger when he heard that the packages had been posted from here.

He said the people who sent the packages, which had Dublin postmarks, should be "isolated and criticised".

"I think any decent thinking person needs to reject utterly the kind of warped thinking that results in somebody sending an explosive device or something that can catch fire in the post into anywhere," Mr Coveney added.

Irish Independent

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