UK counter-terrorism police looking into 'unknown substance' incident near Salisbury

Wednesday - 04/07/2018 08:56
A British counter-terrorism unit has joined the probe after a man and woman were apparently exposed to an “unknown substance” near Salisbury, according to police.
FILE PHOTO Reuters / Stefan Wermuth
FILE PHOTO Reuters / Stefan Wermuth
“Given the recent events in Salisbury, officers from the counter terrorism network are working jointly with colleagues from Wiltshire Police regarding the incident in Amesbury,” British counterterrorism police said in a statement on Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Wiltshire Police declared a “major incident” in the town of Amesbury, around 12 kilometers from Salisbury. The pair fell ill after suspected exposure to “an unknown substance.”

READ MORE: ‘Major incident’ near Salisbury as 2 checked for ‘unknown substance’ exposure – police

The man and woman were found unconscious in a property in Muggleton Road on Saturday, but the case was not made public until Wednesday. Both are in critical condition and are being treated at Salisbury District Hospital.

Police stated that they “are keeping an open mind” on the circumstances of the incident, while Public Health England (PHE) said that a “significant health risk” to the wider public is unlikely.

The Amesbury incident is “being treated with the utmost seriousness," a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said as cited by Reuters. He added that the authorities are following the situation and British officials met earlier in the day to receive updates.

News about the Amesbury incident comes exactly four months after an attack in nearby Salisbury, where ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by an alleged nerve agent (from the Novichok family). London claimed that it came from Russia, pinning the blame on Moscow for the incident as a result. However, the allegations lacked any solid proof that could be presented to the public. Moscow also said the UK blatantly denied access for Russian specialists to the samples and even “destroyed” evidence in the high-profile case.

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