More than 33 killed in London rush hour terror attacks
Scotsman | July 7, 2005
THE TOLL of dead and injured continued to rise from the devasting rush-hour terrorist attack on London this morning. More than 33 people are dead, including 21 at King's Cross station, following a series of co-ordinated explosions on the city's Underground and bus transport system.
Officials say about 300 were injured and that there are no more people trapped underground.
Scotland Yard has issued the following casualty hotline number: 0870 1566 344.
• Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, told the House of Commons that there had been at least four explosions, including three attacks on the Tube system - between Aldgate and Liverpool Street, between Russell Square and Kings Cross, and at Edgware Road station - and on a bus at Upper Woburn Square.
- The police said that the first blast, at 8:49am on a train near Liverpool Street station, left seven people dead.
- The next attack, at 8:56am between King's Cross and Russell Square, killed 21 people.
- Five were left dead by the 9:17am blast at Edgware Road, which involved three trains.
- In addition, there are an unknown number of fatalities caused by an explosion on a bus at Upper Woburn Square at 9:47am. The scale of that blast was demonstrated by the fact that the front of the British Medical Association building, near the scene, was splattered with blood to a height of around 15 feet.
A Scotland Yard official said traces of explosives had so far been found at two of the blast sites. Police said it was too early to tell if the blasts were caused by suicide bombers.
• The entire Tube system, used by three million people a day, was closed while bus services in the centre of London were halted to treat the injured. By mid-afternoon, Euston and Paddington stations had re-opened, however King's Cross would likely be the only station not re-opened for evening rush hour.
• Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, speaking at Gleneagles, Perthshire, where he had been attending the G8 summit, said: "There are obviously casualties, there are people that have died and people seriously injured, and our thoughts and prayers are of course with the victims and their families."
Before flying to London, he expressed his "complete resolution" to defeat the terrorism responsible for this "barbaric" outrage.
A wounded man leaves Edgware Road tube station.
"There will be time to talk later about this, but it is important however that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civlised nations throughout the world," the Prime Minister said.
• According to a claim on the Al-Qal’ah website, the Secret Organisation Group of al Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe claimed responsibility for the attacks. The message said: "The heroic mujahidin have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters."
Paul Wilkinson, a terrorism expert from St Andrews University, said: "It is quite clear that a major terrorist attack has been carried out on London. The attack has all the trademarks of the al Qaeda network," he said
There is also an unconfirmed report that Scotland Yard was aware of the possible attacks. A senior Israeli official reportedly told a news agency that Scotland Yard told Israel minutes before the explosions it had received warnings of possible terror attacks.
A spokesman said the police service had received no warning about the attack and had received no claim of responsibility.
• Metropolitan Police officers in Scotland for the G8 summit are being urgently redeployed to London. The officer in charge of G8 policing during this week's gathering of world leaders at Gleneagles said many of the 1,500 Met officers north of the border would be sent back south. A special force of 12,000 officers has been created from across Scotland, England and Wales to police the summit.
The Prime Minister will leave Gleneagles for several hours for face-to-face meetings in London about the attacks. The meetings in Perthshire will continue without him.
The G8 gathering had prompted fears of a terrorist spectacular. The scale of the explosions and the disruption it has caused London's transport network is bound to provoke comparisons with the al Qaida attacks on the Madrid railway network.
• The Ministry of Defence said there was currently "no military involvement" in the response to today's blasts. "We standby ready to assist, but this is a civil police led operation at present," said a spokesman.
• Some of the 70,000 workers at Canary Wharf in London's Docklands were allowed to leave early because of the inevitable travel problems caused by the explosions. Millions of people who work in the capital face difficult or near impossible journeys home this evening and many booked into hotels.
• The London Stock Exchange was sharply lower on the news. The FTSE 100 index tumbled by as much as 4 per cent by late morning but recovered to be down 2.3 per cent by early afternoon trading.