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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

Trump irritates UK over train bomb claim

The US president claimed those responsible for the rush-hour attack were known to Scotland Yard

US President sidestepped questions over what he was told about the London train attack following a tweet within hours of the attack REUTERS/Carlos Barria
US President sidestepped questions over what he was told about the London train attack following a tweet within hours of the attack REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Theresa May, the British prime minister, has rebuked Donald Trump over his claim on social media that the people behind the London transport attack had been in the sights of Scotland Yard.

Mrs May said it was not helpful to speculate on an ongoing investigation in the latest sign of discord between the traditional allies linked to anti-terror investigations. She said that investigators were still trying to identify the suspected bomber, dismissing suggestions by the US president that police knew who was responsible.

"The police and security services are working to discover the full circumstances of this cowardly attack and to identify all those responsible,” she said.

In a tweet published within hours of the blast, Mr Trump wrote: “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!”

The police force said that the comments were unhelpful and pure speculation. Asked later if he had inside knowledge of the attack, Mr Trump said only that he had been briefed on numerous things including North Korea.

“It's just an absolutely terrible thing. In fact, I'm going to call the Prime Minister right now. We have to be tougher and we have to be smarter."

Mr Trump’s comments are just the latest to irritate British authorities. In May, British police temporarily suspended intelligence-sharing with the US after the Manchester Arena bombing following a series of leaks to American media.

One network disclosed the name of the bomber at a time when British authorities were asking media to withhold the information to protect the investigation.

The New York Times also published detailed photographs taken from the bomb scene which had been taken by British investigators.

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