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Wikinews: Coordinated Terrorist Attack In London

Coordinated terrorist attack in London


By wikinews.org
From: http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Coordinated_terrorist_attack_in_London

The Metropolitan Police have confirmed that least 37 people have been killed in four explosions on London's transport system this morning, and said said the overall number of wounded was as high as 700, in what are believed to be terrorist attacks. Three bombs hit London Underground trains, and a further bomb destroyed a bus in the city centre.


Image courtesy of us.flickr.com.

The first reports were of an explosion at 08:49 BST (UTC+1) on the Metropolitan line between Liverpool Street station and Aldgate East. Explosions also occured on a train between King's Cross and Russell Square and another at Edgware Road. The explosions are currently being reported, and described by Prime Minister Tony Blair, as being terrorist attacks. Traces of explosives were found at two of the sites according to the BBC.

Scotland Yard has confirmed one explosion onboard a double decker red London bus travelling south outside the British Medical Association on Tavistock Square. Police cannot confirm whether this bomb was intended for another train and accidentally detonated aboard the bus instead.

Pundits are speculating the attack has been co-ordinated by al-Qaeda. Dr. Shane Brighton, an intelligence expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence, claims that, "If what we are looking at is a simultaneous bombing — and it does look like that — it would very certainly fit the classic al Qaeda methodology." A group called The Secret Organisation of al-Qaida in Europe have claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Casualties

In a special news conference at 15:30 BST, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick of the Metropolitan Police confirmed 37 fatalities, 45 critical/serious injuries and approximately 300 minor injuries.

At 08:51 BST a bomb exploded on an Metropolitan Line Underground train 91 metres/100 yards into the tunnel from Liverpool Street. Seven are known to be dead.

At 08:56 BST a bomb detonated on a Piccadilly Line train between King's Cross and Russell Square. Twenty-one are dead.

At 09:17 BST a bomb exploded on a Circle Line between Edgware Road Station and Paddington. The blast blew a hole in a wall, and another train hit debris from it. A third train is also involved. Five are known to be dead.

At 09:47 BST a No. 30 bus (Hackney - Marble Arch) blew up at the junction between Tavistock Square and Woburn Place. Police have said that there were two fatalities.

Earlier, quoting the Associated Press, Yahoo News had reported "at least 40 people were killed and more than 350 wounded". Also, the same report says "two U.S. law enforcement officials said at least 40 people were killed".

Hotlines

The general hotline number for those concerned about friends or relatives is 0870 1566 344. This being run by the Metropolitan Police, in association with the British Transport Police and other Police Forces. They are stressing that those concerned should try to reach friends and relatives for news first before contacting the line to avoid swamping.

The United States Department of State has also set up a telephone hotline for US citizens with relatives or friends in the area. This number is +1 888 407-4747 (toll free in the United States).

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has set up an Emergency Hotline on 1-800-002-214 and a Web site to be used if people are unable to directly contact their family or friends in the UK.

Canadians looking for relatives have been advised to call the Canadian Foreign Affairs hotline on +1 800 387-3124, having the full name, birthdate, and passport number ready.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has also set up a tollfree emergency hotline on 1800 242 548 for those in Ireland seeking news of friends and relatives in London.

The New Zealand High Commission in London had set up an incident room to take calls from New Zealanders in London who might want to know if any one has been reported as missing, (go through the main switchboard in London) +44 20 7930 8422. New Zealanders worried about friends and relatives in London should call 0800 432 111.

For Spaniards, the consulate hotline numbers are +34 913791625, +34 913791627, +34 913791628. Spanish consulate number in London is +44 20 7589 8989.

Please don't call these numbers or visit these Web sites if you do not have a genuine inquiry, as they are extremely congested. This will give priority to concerned family and friends.

Reports

The first reports that came in were from London's Liverpool Street station talking of an explosion on the Metropolitan Underground line and the station being evacuated. Later a BBC and a Wikinews reporter spoke of a bus being destroyed by a bomb blast in Tavistock Square outside the British Medical Association offices. At first, police would only confirm two people were dead but have since confirmed 33 fatalities. TfL reports the bus was a number 30 from Hackney to Marble Arch.

The initial reports of explosions were believed to have been the result of power surges. This was because the first indication of any disturbance was the opening of circuit breakers in the Underground, which was observed in the control room. This is usually due to a power surge, but in this case the actual cause was damage to the track circuits by bombs.

At approximately 10:50 BST reports were made that there was an additional, as yet unidentified explosion along Houndsditch, near Liverpool Street Station. Police were also warning pedestrians at Russell Square that a series of controlled explosions would be made shortly.

BBC News 24 has reported additional unspecified incidents at Brighton, Luton, and Swindon. These stations have been closed and there has been no official confirmation of the nature of the incidents, if any actually occurred.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair told London Live that there have been "events" at Edgware Road, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Russell Square, Aldgate East and Moorgate.

At 11:30 BST (UTC+1) St. Mary’s Hospital released a statement that they have admitted 4 critical, 8 severe and several minor injures. Injuries are limb damage, cuts, burns, head injuries and chest problems.

According to the Associated Press, a senior Israeli official said Scotland Yard told Israel minutes before the explosions that it had received warnings of possible terror attacks. Sky News says this has been denied by Scotland Yard. Sir Ian during his interview with Sky confirmed the absence of any specific intelligence.

German news magazine Der Spiegel (as well as unconfirmed information from CIA) has reported that a letter from an organization calling itself "Secret organization - Al Qaeda in Europe" has appeared, claiming responsibility for the bombings. See our related story for more details.

A police spokeswoman has confirmed two deaths at Aldgate station. Television and radio reports are now saying there have been four separate incidents with up to 150 casualties, speculating that the blasts may be related to terrorist activity.

The Associated Press is reporting that a US law enforcement official has put the toll at 40 killed.

Emergency Services press conference at around 15:15 BST (UTC+1) confirms at least 33 fatalities, not including those resulting from the incident on the number 30 bus.

The exact causes of the explosions are still unknown. Initially, it was thought that it was some technical fault. However, the police later suspected terrorists attacks. Police are still unsure if the bombs were simply left in packages or whether there were some sort of suicide attacks.

Effects of the incidents and responses from the emergency services

Emergency services are also attending King's Cross and Liverpool Street Station.

The entire tube network and all buses within zone 1 have been suspended and many buses are now being used to ferry the 'walking wounded' to the hospitals. The underground will be closed for an indefinite period of time, but according to Fox News Channel United States, the closure will last at least for all of today.

All emergency services are responding en masse to a "major incident" and are responding only to life-threatening emergency calls. Patients are being turned away at hospitals to free room for casualties.

The Congestion Charge has been suspended for the remainder of the day.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Army was dispatched to seal off the Israeli Embassy as Israel's Finance Minister is present for a conference. The army have reportedly been involved with rescues at Covent Garden. Police have denied this report (originally made on Sky news).

The police have cordoned off roads around Upper Woburn Place following an explosion on a bus in the vicinity. Traffic is at a standstill in many places in the capital. Defra's security branch are reporting that police are advising everyone in London not to use any public transport and the Cabinet Office are advising staff to remain in offices until further notice. A further email sent to all staff by Defra's permanent secretary indicates that Charing Cross and Waterloo mainline railway stations have been closed down for police searches, and that other stations could close for similar reasons later today.

As at 09.30 BST, Kings Cross Thameslink was experiencing delays and overcrowding but no serious difficulties.

Businesses have been hit by the uncertainty of the events – the FTSE had fallen almost 3.5% by 11.47UTC ([1]), but started to recover a little by early afternoon. The value of the pound has dipped, and the London crude oil price has dropped. International markets are also suffering, with falls in share indexes felt as far as South Africa.

According to Fox News Channel United States, all London schools are in lockdown and students are being kept in schools.

The Authorities are asking people in London to stay where they are, indoors if possible. Take inside any bins or bags of rubbish they have left out for collection, providing they check their contents first. Arrangements are also being made for when schools finish as schools have been asked to keep pupils safe inside until the usual school closing time.

The UK Highways Agency has stated that at the request of the police, the message "Avoid London - Turn on Radio" is being displayed on electronic motorway message signs on the M25 and other major routes approaching London.

Official responses

A joint statement of the G8 leaders was made by Tony Blair at a press conference, also attended by US President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin. See our related story for more details.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and many other world leaders have also issued statements. ( See related Story: World leaders respond to London blasts)

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All content of Wikinews Beta is in the public domain. See the original version of this article for details on sources , reporters notes and disclaimers.

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