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July 07, 2005

Terrorist Bombs in London

Update 21/7/2005.

If you’re coming here from Google looking for information on the new set of bombings that post is here.

It looks like there has been a series of bombings in London.

Shot by Both Sides points out that the original explanation, a surge in the grid, doesn’t really explain why a bus blew up. We don’t have electrical buses (or trams of trolleys) in London. From the comments at his place:

I had to walk into work from Victoria, and the excuse they initially gave was power problems - though it became increasingly clear as I passed Buckingham Palace into Green Park that something major was going on, as police cars (one crammed with sniffer dogs) and emergency paramedics were all over the place and the army were putting up metal barriers.

As John B says:

....are already trying to blame this on G8 activists. Yeah, right - Aznartastic.

Yorkshire Ranter is right downtown in the middle of it:

From my office window, for what it's worth, I can see blue flashers, stalled traffic (well, that's hardly unusual) and an editorial floor emptying with eerie rapidity. And - for a couple of seconds - they just sounded the fire alarm. How stupid can you possibly get? Naturally, we'd be far safer in the streets - with the terrorists. I, personally, intend to stay until they shoot my desk out from underneath.

The day after the Olympic announcement. Whilst Bush is in the country, and half the police force humping the sodden hills of Perthshire for his protection. Manoeuvre warfare? They've got all you need.


The BBC’s reporting.

CNN is reporting that three buses were involved as well as the at least three tube stations mentioned by the BBC.

Describing the Russell Square blast, eyewitness Belinda Seabrook told the UK Press Association she saw an explosion rip through the bus as it approached the Square.

"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.

She said the bus was travelling from Euston to Russell Square and had been "packed" with people turned away from Tube stops.

This looks like it could have been a two stage attack. Bomb the tube first, get that closed down and people will surge onto the buses. Then hit some buses.

(Minor personal note. This would be the day my wife flies to London, wouldn’t it Plane took off an hour ago? Trivial compared to those two already confirmed dead at Aldgate I know.)

11.45: Nosemonkey at Europhobia has lots more.

Brighton and Swindon stations have also been hit?

Photo from BBC World of a bus:

The image “http://groups.msn.com/_Secure/0TQAAABcYy78SvliQ0X8cuAj5m6*Xsc7WWcjT3esgBa*ekCuvQnKTIc*tNcrsEO3tgfI6xX8Ob!0itgZz9cgLF6zIjlOx8A2iu0FAwWx0!MvqHrl802G4jg/Russell%20Square.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Official list of explosions

Aldgate East
Norgate
Russell Sq
Liverpool St
Edgware Rd
Kings Cross

Photos from the BBC. (Site may fall over at any time.)

The Guardian Blog.

1120 Tony Blair will be making a live, televised statement on the crisis at midday. Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has told the BBC that there have been six explosions so far today, one on a bus. In what is clearly intended to be a calming message, he asks that Londoners stay where they are, do not call the emergency services unless there is a life-threatening situation, and promises there will be more information. London's emergency plan has kicked into action, and he says they are "returning order to the situation".

Guardian front page.

Sky News:

Two people are believed to have been killed in the Tube incidents and doctors say at least 90 people were injured at Aldgate Station.

ITN is reporting twenty dead.

Technorati actually seems to be updating quickly for a change.

Son in law is working near the bus depot in Wembley. Says that the depot is cordoned off and they are checking every bus for further bombs.

Little Britain is reporting that (via the BBC) Arab sources are stating that Al Qaeda is to blame.

12.00. Tony Blair is supposed to be addressing the nation. Anyone know of a live feed?

Pictures from the Guardian.

12.15. The Evening Standard (London’s afternoon newspaper) reports that operations were being carried out on injured people on the station platforms at Liverpool Street. People have got to be badly, badly, injured for that to be necessary, for it to be better to do that than get them into a hospital first.

Mark Tinker (regular commenter here) is 100 yards from Aldgate East. Been advised to stay indoors.

Via Nosemonkey (who might have to stop blogging as his office is on a bus route and thus they are being advised to move away from the windows) the text of Blair’s address:

12:02 - Blair - "It's reasonably clear that there has been a series of terrorist attacks in London. It is my intention to leave the G8 to talk to police and emergency services personnel face to face... The G8 leaders will continue in my absence... Each of the countries around that table have some experience of terrorism... They all share our complete resolution for the defeat of terrorism. It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on the day people are meeting to try and help the problem of poverty in Africa... Just as it is reasonably clear that this is a terrorist attack... it is reasonably clear it has been timed to coincide with the opening of the G8... It is important, however, that the terrorists realise our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause the death and destruction of innocent people and impose their extremism on the world. It is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we have here in this country and in other civilised countries around the world."

He also reports that the Red Cross is sending out ambulances to aid the London Ambulance Service.

Project Nothing has a roundup of news and reactions. Similar but different sources to what I and Nosemonkey are doing. Norm Geras is doing similar work.

TigerHawk comments:

Oh, tears came to my eyes when I turned on the television this morning. All my memories of September 11 came flooding back. I love London so much, and am so sorry that these dirtbags have attacked you.

Many thanks for the kind words and to those who have emailed offering condolences and prayers. I have a prediction to make, that tomorrow we’ll find out whether Britons are, still, in fact, Britons. Many years ago I was working in The City and there were two events that made travel into work almost impossible.

The first was a series of storms that brought down power lines, blocked train routes and so on. Not surprisingly, the place was empty the next day. Why bother to struggle through?

The other event was an IRA bomb which caused massive damage and loss of life. Trains were disrupted, travel to work the next day was horribly difficult and yet there were more people at work than on a normal day. There was no co-ordination to this, no instructions went out, but it appeared that people were crawling off their sick beds in order to be there at work the next day, thrusting their mewling and pewling infants into the arms of anyone at all so that they could be there.

Yes, we’ll take an excuse for a day off, throw a sickie. But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?

Fuck you, sunshine.

We’ll not be having that.

No grand demonstrations, few warlike chants, a desire for revenge, of course, but the reaction of the average man and woman in the street? Yes, you’ve tried it now bugger off. We’re not scared, no, you won’t change us. Even if we are scared, you can still bugger off.

(I realise that writing all of this from Portugal is easy for me to do).

12.45 Perfect.co.uk has half his office using one of the stations, Edgware Road, that was attacked. Thankfully all OK. In comments at his site rumour that a suicide bomber was shot at Canary Wharf.

Wibbler says that a Jihad group in Europe has admitted responsibility on their web site. Not sure how much credence to give to such reports, all and every asshole out there will be claiming responsibility.

Could it be the IRA?

There is no way that this is the work of the IRA. Sky News is reporting that the bus was blown up by a suicide bomber. Irish people don't blow themselves up. There is no Guiness in the afterlife.

No, I don’t think it’s the IRA, not the Continuity or the Real, but not because they do not or have not blown themselves up on buses. They have, but only by mistake.

1.05. Bloggerheads.

If Charles Clarke dares to speak the words 'ID Cards' today, I will be enraged.

Enraged? Don’t you think that’s a little weak old boy? If Charlie the Safety Elephant dares to use this as a justification for his bloody ID cards I’ll swim back to London and hang him from a lamp post myself. Worked so well, the Spanish ID card system didn’t it?

See above for my comments on the Brits. As Nosemonkey says:

God, us Brits are great. Hardly any panic - more just getting pissed off that it's going to be a bugger getting home. I love this country sometimes.

13.25 In the comments. No, I don’t want to be too harsh here but:

How can Blair go on TV and talk about terrorism when the US and UK are supplying 80% of the arms in this world and stirring up more hatred for the future by killing thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan whilst propping up evil regimes in places such as Uzbekistan (cos they have a US base there, so they can't be all that bad, can they?)

May I just remind you of one of those little rules that we have in our civilised society? We bury the dead and console the bereaved before we start making asinine political points.

Yorkshire Ranter update 1.30 pm.

Here, the stayers-on are reacting rather well; I just finished an interview with a chap from the Open Base Station Initiative, my colleague Sean is getting on with some work, Nicky is answering the phones of the fled to reassure their friends.

A translation of the Al Qaeda offshoot claiming responsibility:

Jamaat al-Tandheem Al-Sierri (secret organization group)
Organization of Qaeda't al-Jihad in Europe

In the name of God the most merciful...

Rejoice the nation of Islam, rejoice nation of Arabs, the time of revenge has come for the crusaders' Zionist British government.

As retaliation for the massacres which the British commit in Iraq and Afghanistan, the mujahideen have successfully done it this time in London.

And this is Britain now burning from fear and panic from the north to the south, from the east to the west.

And it goes on. You know, I’m not sure that these people have quite understood us. We’ve just spent 30 years being bombed by a bunch of terrorist nutters. Whatever your views on Irish nationalism, Eire, the rights of the IRA and so on, it is an inescapable truth that there were a series of bombings "on the mainland" and no, it didn’t spread "fear and panic from the north to the south."
No, not even when 21 people were killed in bombs in pubs, not even when thousands of bombs were dropped on London, death falling from the skies on a regular basis.

You’ve just not quite understood us, have you? Any politician who even so much as hinted at the idea that this would be a reason to leave Afghanistan or Iraq would be immediately howled down.

Josh Trevino has a nice piece here.

The Jawa Report has further links.

Cliff May at The Corner wins my political dickhead of the day award (so far).

         

  PLACE YOUR BETS [Cliff May]
Won’t it be interesting to see whether those gathered in Scotland to protest the G8 will -- or will not -- protest the terrorist bombings?


Way to go Cliff, bodies not even cold yet and you’re using them to make a snide political point.

2 pm. Via Perfect, Sky News reporting 40 dead, more still trapped and at their website, hospitals have 300 injured they are treating.

Things seem to be calming down. Bombs on the tube and at least one bus. Perhaps 40 dead, 300 injured, Al Qaeda offshoot has taken responsibility. The wilder rumours of troops out (other than medical personnel),  the shooting of a suicide bomber at Canary Wharf, bombs at Brighton and other stations outside London,  all seem to be unfounded.

I’ll update further if there are any new developments but for now, save the anger until we really know who did it, keep the political posturing until we’ve buried the bodies and if it’s one of the things you do, pray for those who have been murdered and those they’ve left behind.

Phlegmatic Britishisms seem to be breaking out all over. Two from the Corner:

I'm writing this sitting in my office in London working as normal.

As I look out the window I see no buses, very few cars but lots of people walking on the streets; however, these are not the images of Sept 11 - people walking in one direction out of the city. These are Londoners walking left, right, up the street, down the street, going about their normal lunchtime business.

We have faced terror before - Nazi terror, Irish Republican terror - and have not been beaten. This will not beat us either.

The overwhelming feeling round our office is "Is this best they can do?" - it looks and sounds much worse on 24hr news channels than in person.

And:

I am quietly proud of my adopted city today. Proud of the emergency services in particular, and of the people in general.

For all the individual stories of horror from the attack sites themselves (and some of the stories have been quite horrific - the bottom of a Tube train being blown out while travelling underground, a passenger being sucked into the tunnel into the path of an oncoming train from the other direction...), there has remained an air of calm, with no general panic, and only very few instances when the attacks took place.

Particularly, the Metropolitan Police and the emergency services have worked quickly, quietly and efficiently, to contain and limit the situation. The continued air of calm and control is in no small way down to these people. Our much-maligned health service is coping splendidly, and people have been volunteering to donate blood and other aid.

Those of us who have lived in London (or indeed any of a number of major UK cities: Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast, to name but three)for any length of time will be aware of the attempts of terrorists to destroy the fabric of life and the morale of the people. It doesn't work; it will never work. People in the UK, no matter their ethnic, cultural or religious background just don't live and work that way. We've faced this sort of thing down before, and we will do so again, if necessary. And I do not doubt that we will.

I am expecting a long walk to work tomorrow if the Tube is not back online. The exercise will do me good.

And this is just too good not to share. From a gentleman who in the day job has to write in a much more controlled and polite manner:

 A letter to the terrorists, From London

What the fuck do you think you're doing?

This is London. We've dealt with your sort before. You don't try and pull this on us.

Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever you're trying to do, it's not going to work.

All you've done is end some of our lives, and ruin some more. How is that going to help you? You don't get rewarded for this kind of crap.

And if, your MO indicates, you're an al-Qaeda group, then you're out of your tiny minds.

Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, we've got news for you. We don't much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. We'll deal with that ourselves. We're London, and we've got our own way of doing things, and it doesn't involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.

And that's because we're better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And we're going to go about our lives. We're going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then we're going to work. And we're going down the pub.

So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city.

Eban has been collecting audio files of the various speeches and so on over the day.

And I think I’ll finish this with the wise words of Nosemonkey:

Cheers for the messages of support. London's grateful. And we're going to keep our heads. Stiff upper lip and all that - wouldn't do to get all emotional. Hardly British - and if we stop being British about it, the bastards have won. So we'll have a few beers, make as many sick jokes about it in pubs up and down the land as we can, and get on with our lives as normal. Other than causing the grief of too many innocent people, these cunts will have achieved precisely fuck all. We shall not be moved.

Apologies, comments closed. Spam attack. Bastards,

July 7, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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» London Calling from
Amazing how a city's mood can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows in less than 24 hours. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 7, 2005 2:57:28 PM

» al Qaida claims London explosions from Mark in Mexico
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. [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 7, 2005 3:01:30 PM

» London from The Loudest Cricket
Link-filled article here at Tim Worstall's site. There are a few links to London bloggers...the best embedded reporters that exist. Especially check out Nosemonkey's blog, he's got quite a timeline going. Via The Shape Of Days, who also notes that... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 7, 2005 3:04:55 PM

Comments

Nosemonkey's liveblogging this at Europhobia.

Posted by: Dave | Jul 7, 2005 11:37:57 AM

My prayers go out to our friends and allies in Great Britain. America is with you!

Posted by: Alan in Louisville | Jul 7, 2005 12:14:47 PM

Oh, tears came to my eyes when I turned on the television this morning. All my memories of September 11 came flooding back. I love London so much, and am so sorry that these dirtbags have attacked you.

Posted by: TigerHawk | Jul 7, 2005 12:23:09 PM

IRA, AQ, FARC, anti-globalists, tranzis ... whatever. It doesn't matter. This will continue until all such vermin are crushed in their holes. We're definitely in this together.

Bury your dead. Keep on with the job. Oh, and ask your leftist friends just how far they think they can retreat from evil.

Posted by: Bart (Kansas, USA) | Jul 7, 2005 12:29:41 PM

Personally I don't think this is Islamic fundamentalists. They have too much support to loose among the large Muslim community in the UK to pull a stunt like this.
They might bomb the "symbols of British imperialism" (a.k.a. parliament or Buckingham palace" but not the general public there.
My bet is IRA. While larger than anything they've pulled off lately it wouldn't be beyond their means nor their modus operandi.

Posted by: J.T. Wenting | Jul 7, 2005 12:34:01 PM

J.T. Wenting

I don't think this is Islamic fundamentalists.

I don't know who it is but the target is the same as Madrid.

Posted by: JohnM | Jul 7, 2005 12:44:11 PM

My prayers are with you and your countrymen Tim. Please stay safe.

Posted by: Sharp as a Marble | Jul 7, 2005 12:47:08 PM

There is no way that this is the work of the IRA. Sky News is reporting that the bus was blown up by a suicide bomber. Irish people don't blow themselves up. There is no Guiness in the afterlife.

No. This is al Qaeda or its cognates. We must brace ourselves for endless hanky-twisting that it is a counterattack for Britain's participation in Iraq.

Posted by: TigerHawk | Jul 7, 2005 12:49:21 PM

It may be another Blitz, friends. A new chapter in the war against Fascism. Once again Londoners are being called on to stand up to evil.

Posted by: Bruce | Jul 7, 2005 12:51:43 PM

Counterattack for Iraq? Immaterial - it's still an attack on our soil. Do we grovel to Osama, and mail the keys of the Houses of Parliament to the Muslim Brotherhood, or do we fight? We'll now see what Blair's made of.
Prepare for lots of "chickens coming home to roost" type shite from the usual suspects.

Posted by: JonT | Jul 7, 2005 12:56:24 PM

The further proof that this is al Qaeda is that the networks (I'm watching Fox, which is reporting on what Sky News is saying) are passing along rumors that Israel had advanced warning. The same asinine rumor spread on September 11, but (to my knowledge) nobody has ever spread such a rumor in the wake of an IRA attack.

The British will learn, I predict, that a lot of people knew about this attack in advance, but none of them were Jews.

Posted by: TigerHawk | Jul 7, 2005 12:59:40 PM

So it's happened. I feel terrible for everyone who has lost family in these bombings. What a cowardly, evil act.

What reaction did Al Qaeda expect from the Britons? Another Madrid appeasement?

Posted by: Kevin | Jul 7, 2005 1:03:34 PM

Bart from Kansas: that has to be a record. Blood on the streets of my city, stations I've used hundreds of times, that friends of mine walked through only today, strewn with the dead and the dying. And your reaction? To lead the cowardly political points-scoring charge from the front. There are no appropriate words to describe a weasel such as yourself. Please crawl back into whatever Kansan hole you came out from.
Jarndyce (London, UK)

Posted by: Jarndyce | Jul 7, 2005 1:06:09 PM

Some more links to updated sites, Flickr galleries and so on. Feel free to post more links in the comments to help friends and so on out.

Posted by: atb | Jul 7, 2005 1:06:40 PM

I am live blogging this as well as I have lots of mates in the city.

I am not surprised this has happened but it still fills me with anger and sadness. I am as upset as I was with 9/11 but thank god for modern technology. Between IM and the internet its a lot easier to find out how people are.

If you are the praying type...pray for those hurt & injured.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge | Jul 7, 2005 1:12:41 PM

This will continue until all such vermin are crushed in their holes. We're definitely in this together.

Bury your dead. Keep on with the job. Oh, and ask your leftist friends just how far they think they can retreat from evil.
Might as well send out a posse now, then?

How can Blair go on TV and talk about terrorism when the US and UK are supplying 80% of the arms in this world and stirring up more hatred for the future by killing thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan whilst propping up evil regimes in places such as Uzbekistan (cos they have a US base there, so they can't be all that bad, can they?)

Stand by for another unintenionally ironic speech from Shrub, talking about advancing "freedom" around the world. These leaders make me sick.

Posted by: Matt | Jul 7, 2005 1:14:29 PM

"[...]Another Madrid appeasement?"

Troll.

DSW

Posted by: Antoni Jaume | Jul 7, 2005 1:16:31 PM

I am liveblogging the best and most informative links about the bomb blasts: http://www.aboutthisboy.co.uk/blog/2005/07/07/explosions-in-london/

Posted by: atb | Jul 7, 2005 1:20:15 PM

Antoni, Re: "[...]Another Madrid appeasement?"
Troll."

I'm sorry, what does Antoni call appeasement? It likely sounds better in French anyway.

Posted by: Kevin | Jul 7, 2005 1:21:16 PM

MATT
Most of the arms in World conflict originate from Russia or China. The explosives used here could come from anywhere in Europe/Eastern Europe. What's your proposal then? How do we respond to a terrorist attack on our soil? Aplogise to Osama, make Galloway Prime Minister? I await your constructive suggestion. But i'm guessing it will involve appeasment...yes?

Posted by: JonT | Jul 7, 2005 1:21:37 PM

Bart, keep that kind of crap to yourself. At this point we don't know how many Britons are dead, wounded or who did it.

Brave words all the way from Kansas.

Posted by: Justin | Jul 7, 2005 1:27:46 PM

How can Blair go on TV and talk about terrorism when the US and UK are supplying 80% of the arms in this world and stirring up more hatred for the future by killing thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan whilst propping up evil regimes in places such as Uzbekistan (cos they have a US base there, so they can't be all that bad, can they?)

Stand by for another unintenionally ironic speech from Shrub, talking about advancing "freedom" around the world. These leaders make me sick.

Dear Matt,

Do fuck yourself. Come back when you have a sound logistical plan for removing every unpleasant dictator in the world at the same time. In the meantime, don't come into my vicinity again. Twat.

Regards,

c

Posted by: Devil's Kitchen | Jul 7, 2005 1:28:00 PM

I live-blogged the G-8 statement. I think, upon reflection, that al Qaeda has made a great mistake deliberately insulting the leaders of the world's great countries gathered together. The picture of Bush and Chirac standing together behind Blair was precisely the message to send back. It will be interesting to see whether in the aftermath of this the French demonstrate a greater willingness to join Anglo-American foreign policy initiatives against Islamists. Chirac needs to wag the dog anyway, and this may be his pretext.

Posted by: TigerHawk | Jul 7, 2005 1:28:21 PM

I think that what is meant by "Madrid appeasement" is the withdrawing of troops from Iraq, in response to an Al Quaida bombing stating that Iraq was the reason for the bombing. Simple really, if a little uncharitable.

Posted by: Devil's Kitchen | Jul 7, 2005 1:33:25 PM

"total solidarity" from M. Chirac.

"any way to help" from M. Villepin.(french PM)

"back to back" from M. delanoe (mayor of paris)

Posted by: Katie Bartleby | Jul 7, 2005 1:34:10 PM