It is a chilling image that will go around the world – a woman in a hijab ‘claiming to have a bomb in her bag’ pictured as armed police take aim at her. It is not known if the backpack contained a bomb or not but officers were not taking any chance.
UK DAILY MAIL (H/T Martin) The incident is on-going seven hours after it started at the seafront in Saltburn, Teesside, today. Army bomb disposal experts are believed to be on site.
Cleveland Police have not yet confirmed the exact nature of the incident but have said the area has been cordoned off after concern for the welfare of a woman. Negotiations with her are still taking place. (Oh, please, just shoot the bitch!)
Eyewitnesses reported seeing a woman wearing a dress with a veil sitting on a bench surrounded by armed police, who were alerted shortly after 11am. Residents in Saltburn say they believe it is a woman local to the area.
A bomb disposal team have are also at the scene and a police helicopter has been scrambled. It is understood that a rucksack is being examined by bomb disposal experts and at one point the woman was face down on the ground as officers covered her with their weapons.
Some locals claimed the woman had been to a hardware store in the town earlier in the day and purchased items. One, who did not want to be named, said: ‘She doesn’t say a lot, she’s always walking around wearing a white hijab.
‘My friend tried to say hello to her once, she just snapped at him. We heard she went to M and M DIY Home Improvement hardware store, trying to buy things to make a bomb apparently.’ Sales assistants at the store would not confirm that the woman had been to the shop, however a shopkeeper next door said she had been in the store earlier in the day.
As members of the public were evacuated from the area, he and his colleagues were trapped inside to witness armed police and bomb disposal experts descend on the scene.
The 31-year-old, from Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, said: ‘Police coaxed her out of a small shelter near to the pier at around noon and got her to kneel on the floor.’ She had a rucksack and Mr Murray believes officers suspect there was a bomb inside it.
‘She has moved away from the bag now. She has a veil on. They are still pointing guns at her and the dogs and bomb disposal are still here. ‘It looks as though they are thinking there is a bomb in the bag. I don’t understand if she’s away from the bag why they don’t go in and get the bag.’
Another eyewitness said: ‘She is sitting on the bench with her hands on her head. ‘An armed policeman is pointing a gun at her. There are about four officers that I can see on the ground and they are all by the seafront.’
‘Armed officers and trained negotiators are currently at the scene, as well as other emergency services. Specialist officers from the army bomb disposal unit are also in attendance. ‘The priority of the police is to bring about a safe conclusion to the incident and enquiries are ongoing.’