Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Explosions - Breaking News

I woke up with a fractious toddler to find that a number (it looks like six in total) of explosions had ripped across London, with perhaps three London buses and a number of underground trains blowing up. I'm worried about friends who still work in the Lloyd's building and in insurance brokerages in the City but there's no point in trying to contact any of them by phone yet - the system is hopelessly clogged.

So far, things are still very unclear. There is no real idea yet of the number of injuries, or deaths, although eyewitnesses quoted on the BBC say there are a number of bodies under sheets, in several locations in the city.

Dow Jones Newswire has this:

A police official at Euston rail station who asked not to be identified told a Dow Jones Newswires reporter that at least two people and possibly as many as 50 were dead as a result of the series of blasts that ripped through central London early Thursday.

Clearly it's a terrorist incident but which group might be responsible is also still a mystery.

The Guardian has some eyewitness accounts:

Eyewitness Belinda Seabrook said she saw the explosion rip though a double-decker bus as it approached Tavistock Square, which is between Euston and Russell Square stations.

"I was on the bus in front and heard an incredible bang. I turned round and half the double-decker bus was in the air," she said.

Simon Corvett, 26, from Oxford, was on the eastbound train leaving Edgware Road tube station when an explosion happened.

"All of sudden there was this huge bang. It was absolutely deafening and all the windows shattered. The glass did not actually fall out of the windows, it just cracked. The train came to a grinding halt and everyone fell off their seats," he said.

Mr Corvett, who works in public relations, said the commuter train was absolutely packed. "There were just loads of people screaming and the carriages filled with smoke. You couldn't really breathe and you couldn't see what was happening. The driver came on the Tannoy and said 'We have got a problem, don't panic'," he said.

Mr Corvett, whose face was covered in soot, joined other passengers to force open the train doors with a fire extinguisher. He said the carriage on the other track was destroyed. "You could see the carriage opposite was completely gutted. There were some people in real trouble."

The first thought on everyone's mind will be the similiarities to the Madrid bombings carried out by Al Qaida. However, the UK still has it's own homegrown terrorists in the shape of Irish groups such as the "Real IRA" who have a history of bomb attacks in London. We must also not forget the possibility of extremists associated with the G8 Summit protests.

The developing situation can be monitored at News Now here or in our update thread at the Unpaid Punditry Corps.

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