Terrorists Hit London Transportation System
A series of terrorist attacks hit the public transportation system in London during the morning rush hour.
Near simultaneous explosions rocked the London Underground network and at least one bus at the morning rush hour, police said, causing fatalities and prompting officials to shut down the entire underground transport network. In the first report of casualties, City of London police told CNN there had been two fatalities at Aldgate east station.
The explosions came a day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympics and as the G8 summit was getting under way in Scotland. Initial reports blamed a power surge, but officials were not ruling out a terrorist attack. “There have been a number of dreadful incidents across London today,” said Home Secretary Charles Clarke, Britain’s top law enforcement officer. He said there were “terrible injuries.”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said London had been hit by at least six blasts and there had been many casualties. He urged Londoners not to panic and said it was too early to say what caused the blasts.
BBC is being less cautious in its assessment:
[…] The BBC’s Frank Gardner said Arab sources said the blasts were probably the work of al-Qaeda but police have not confirmed a terrorist link.
Sir Ian said there had been “many casualties” but said it was too early to put a figure to those killed or injured and he reassured the public that an emergency plan was in place and the situation was “steadily coming under control”.
It’s almost inconceivable what could cause six blasts around the transportation infrastructure aside from terrorist attacks. Aside from the coordination involved here, I would naturally suspect anti-trade extremists rather than Islamists, though.
Eye-witnesses reported seeing bodies piled in the wreckage of damaged Tube trains. A double decker bus packed with people forced off the underground when the network was shut down was ripped apart by a massive blast. Eyewitnesses said there were many fatalities.
Kieran Healy and the Crooked Timber gang are providing coverage as well, with some London based insights in the comments section. Despite the understandable caution from the Government, no one is kidding themselves that this is any thing but a coordinated terrorist attack.
Updates (0930): The death toll is up to 40, with at least 300 wounded.
Michelle Malkin: “God bless Britain.”
Susanna Cornett links some photo screen shots.
Dean Esmay has much linkage, including several British bloggers.
Arthur Chrenkoff analyzes this from the tactical perspective of the terrorists.
Andrew Cochran has a link roundup of the tightened security around the Western world.
Megan McArdle works for a UK company (the Economist) that’s “a little shell-shocked, but still putting out the news.” Hey, these are Brits, famous for their stiff upper lip.
Scott Johnson‘s brother is in London and he hasn’t heard from him yet.
Cori Dauber has multiple updates, including an interesting media observation: “I am absolutely fascinated by the fact that MSNBC, developed to give NBC News a 24 hour cable outlet, and having access to NBC’s London bureau, has chosen to take the feed from the British network ITN.”
Athena weighs in amid apartment hunting. She offers: “The Mayor of London just spoke and I think it is the BEST direct speech to terrorists I have EVER heard. I’m sure it’s not up online yet, and I absolutely have to leave now to find an apartment, but google his comments.” I haven’t found the full remarks yet, but here is an excerpt:
“This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty or the powerful, it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers, it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners,” London Mayor Ken Livingstone said from Singapore before heading home.
Duncan “Atrios” Black: “Horrible.”
Jon Henke has several updates.
John Little has some photos and much linkage.
Many more in the TrackBacks below.
Update (1420): Fortunately, the death toll seems to be holding at 40. Unfortunately, the number of injured continues to escalate, with AP reporting the toll at 700.