March 6, 2018 / 2:31 PM / 13 days ago

UK counter-terrorism police investigate Russian ex-spy's mystery illness

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s counter terrorism police will lead the investigation into a mysterious illness that struck down a Russian former double agent and his daughter in the southern English city of Salisbury, police said on Tuesday.

Police officers stand guard beside a cordoned-off area, after former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who was convicted in 2006 of spying for Britain, became critically ill after exposure to an unidentified substance, in Salisbury, southern England, March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were critically ill in hospital after being found unconscious on Sunday on a bench outside a shopping centre in the city.

“Due to the unusual circumstances, it has been decided that the Counter Terrorism Policing network will lead the investigation as it has the specialist expertise to do so,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

“It has not been declared a terrorist incident and at this stage we are keeping an open mind as to what happened.”

Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison

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