London Rocked By Terror Attacks
LONDON, July 7 – London was struck by a series of at least seven separate and apparently coordinated terrorist explosions in subways and buses during the morning rush hour this morning. The explosions ripped apart at least one double-decker bus and caused officials to close and evacuate the entire subway system.
There were many casualties, but officials said it was still too early to tell how many of them were injuries. There were at least two dead. Witnesses reported seeing dozens of people stumbling out of subway stations, coughing, and black with soot. Dozens more were being loaded into ambulances on stretchers and taken to hospitals around the city.
In a televised statement from the Group of Eight summit meeting of world leaders, Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was "reasonably clear" that the explosions had been an act of terrorism.
"It is reasonably clear that there has been a series of terrorist attacks in London," Mr. Blair said. "There are obviously casualties – with people that have died and people are seriously injured."
He added, "Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack or a series of terrorist attacks, it is also reasonably clear that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G-8."
Mr. Blair said he planned to travel to London from Gleneagles, Scotland, within the next few hours, and then return to Scotland for the summit this evening. In his absence, he said, the summit would continue.
"It is the will of all of the leaders of the G-8, however, that the meeting should continue in my absence, that we should continue to discuss the issues we were going to discuss – and reach the conclusions which we were going to reach," Mr. Blair said.
He added that it was "particularly barbaric" that the attacks had occurred during a summit intended to aid people in developing nations.
Traces of explosives were found at one of the blast sites, said the chief commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, Ian Blair, according to Reuters.
The police official said explosions had taken place at or around the subway stations at Edgware Road, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street, Russell Square, Aldgate East and Moorgate. He declined to speculate on the cause, but added, "We are concerned that this is a coordinated attack."
Television pictures showed people with bloody faces and bandages on their faces and heads.
The explosions came a day after London celebrated winning the bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Mobile phones and land lines were not working because the systems had been overloaded. Large sections of central London had been cordoned off.