The Attack On Former Spy Sounds Like A Movie Plot!

Counter-Terrorism Officers Are Working To Uncover The Origin Of The Nerve Agent.

A style of nerve agent was used in the attempted murder of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, Wiltshire

They are in a serious condition alongside a police officer who was first on the scene to help, but he has been "talking and engaging".

The chemical used on Sunday was likely to be rare. The home secretary said there was "nothing soft" about the UK's response to state activity.

Amber Rudd  stated: "Let me be clear, we are absolutely robust about any crimes committed on these streets of the UK."

Police said government scientists had identified the nerve agent used, but would not make that information public at this stage.

The source familiar with the investigation said it was likely to be rarer than the Sarin gas thought to have been used in Syria and in an attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

And it was said not to be VX - the nerve agent used to kill the half brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Malaysia last year.

Col Skripal, 66, was convicted of passing secrets to MI6 but given refuge in the UK in 2010 as part of a "spy swap".

It is known that he and his 33-year-old daughter had visited the Bishop's Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury before they were found collapsed on a bench near the Maltings shopping centre.

A witness, who saw the pair at the restaurant, said Mr Skripal was acting "very strange" and was "very agitated".

"He seemed to lose his temper... and he just started screaming at the top of his voice, he wanted his bill and he wanted to go."

Police have yet to say if they know how and where the poison was administered.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said: "This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder, by administration of a nerve agent.

"Having established that a nerve agent is the cause of the symptoms... I can also confirm that we believe that the two people who became unwell were targeted specifically."

Nerve agents are highly toxic chemicals that stop the nervous system working and shut down bodily functions.

They normally enter the body through the mouth or nose, but can also be absorbed through the eyes or skin.


Who is Sergei Skripal?

Col Skripal, 66, had been living in Salisbury after being released by Russia in 2010

Colonel Skripal, a retired Russian military intelligence officer, was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006.

He was convicted of passing the identities of Russian intelligence agents working undercover in Europe to the UK's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6.

In July 2010, he was one of four prisoners released by Moscow in exchange for 10 Russian spies arrested by the FBI.

After a Cold War-style spy swap at Austria's Vienna airport, Col Skripal moved to Salisbury, where he kept a low profile for eight years.