Thursday, July 07, 2005

London under fire

Suspected terrorist attacks ripped through several Tube stations and a bus in London today. BBC NEWS UK has the story. Here are some details:
At least two people have been killed and scores injured after three blasts on the Underground network and another on a double-decker bus in London.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was "reasonably clear" there had been a series of terrorist attacks.

He said it was "particularly barbaric" that it was timed to coincide with the G8 summit. He is returning to London.

An Islamist website has posted a statement - purportedly from al-Qaeda - claiming it was behind the attacks.
BBC reporters log in from different parts of London with updates on the latest here:
Gordon Corera : BBC Television Centre : 1455 BST

There is still nothing confirmed regarding responsibility, and I don't think we should expect anything to be confirmed for some time while the attacks are being investigated.

But the indications, from the timing and the method, the nature of the attack and the lack of warning, are clear. The most worrying trend has been the way al-Qaeda has fragmented. At first people thought that was a good thing, because that meant a sign of its defeat, but lots of groups have popped up in other countries which are inspired by them.

Frank Gardner : BBC Television Centre : 1445 BST

At the moment the only claim for responsibility comes from a group calling themselves the Secret Organisation of Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe. It's not a name anybody has heard of before.

It's a 200-word text calling on people to rejoice because it's time to take revenge on the British government for what it calls the massacres Britain is committing in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It goes on to call it a blessed raid in London and that Britain is now burning with fear and panic. Finally it warns Denmark, Italy and all the crusader governments that they'll be punished too if they don't withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

But we don't know yet if it's genuine.

Marie Jackson : Aldgate : 1425 BST

Arriving at Aldgate East, three police officers on horseback barricade Fenchurch Street. There is little activity now beyond the police tape, just a growing band of journalists and television crews kept outside.

Pedestrians seem less bothered than usual by the rain. Many are happy to get wet safe in the knowledge that friends and family are safe.

"The first I realised was as I was coming into work," said Heather Carson, who works in a solicitors office in Fenchurch Street, yards from the Aldgate East explosion.

"We were told there was a security alert on the tube and then we were told that Bank was shut because of a power surge.

"We knew when we got off because the streets were very quiet and there was loads of sirens going off."
UK Blogs aggregator features British Bloggers that have the latest. LaShawn Barber covers the bombings here. She points out that American blogger Philip Johnson, currently in London, reports that Blogdom of God's own Adrian Warnock is OK.

St. Blog's James of Catholic and Loving It appears alright. He hasn't updated since 10:30 British time.

UPDATE: The Counterterrorism Blog covers the bombing from many angles. Zachary Abuza, one of the blog's contributing editors, had this to say about the alleged bombers:
The previously unknown group that has claimed responsibility for the attacks, calls itself the Secret Organization Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organization in Europe. While the group may have direct ties to Al Qaeda, what is more likely is to emerge from the investigations into the London bombings is a cell that is very similar to that which perpetrated the Madrid bombings on 11 March 2004: A fairly autonomous cell comprised of a marginalized diaspora that had some roots to extremists in their own country, but was really acting independently. Though they were inspired by Al Qaeda, they received neither funding, planning nor guidance from them. These home grown militants were motivated by a vitriolic hatred of the West and its policies towards the Muslim world, especially their armed presence in Muslim lands, Afghanistan and Iraq.