JULY .21.2005 AND JULY.22.2005 WEEK.29.OF 2005 LONDON NEWS UPDATE
BIG 8 AT IT'S BEST NEWS -- WE ARE HERE FOR YOU DAVID AARON AGRCIA
UNITED WE STAND
Two Arrested in
a chilling but bloodless replay of the suicide bombings that killed 56 people two weeks ago.
Police made two arrests in the case
No one was injured in the coordinated lunch-hour blasts, which shocked and disrupted the
capital and were hauntingly similar to the July 7 bombings by four attackers.
Police Commissioner Ian Blair said forensic evidence collected from the crime scenes could
provide a "significant break" in solving the case, and hours later police announced two
arrests in connection with the latest attacks.
One man was arrested near
of the incidents took place. Police said the men were being questioned.
"Clearly, the intention must have been to kill," Blair told a news conference. "You don't do this
with any other intention."
He also said it was not clear if the two sets of attacks were connected.
Panicked and screaming commuters fled the three affected Underground stations, sometimes
leaving behind their shoes, after the near-simultaneous blasts. Firefighters and police with bomb
-sniffing dogs sealed off nearby city blocks and evacuated rows of restaurants, pubs and offices.
appealed for calm.
"We can't minimize incidents such as this," he said at a news conference with
the Australian prime minister. "They're done to scare people, to frighten them and
make them worried."
He held an emergency Cabinet meeting but said no policy decisions were made.
was briefed on the explosions and said the terrorists "understand
when they kill in cold blood it ends up on our TV screens and they're trying to shake
our will. And they're trying to create vacuums in which their ideology can move."
U.S. mass transit systems remain on code orange, or high alert, since the London
bombings two weeks ago, but the rest of the country is at yellow, signifying an elevated risk.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police will begin conducting random
searches of packages and backpacks of people entering the city's subway, which carrie
s about 4.5 million passengers on the average weekday. Officials would not immediately
say how frequently the checks would occur.
London Transport spokesman Steve Taylor told The Associated Press that it would be
impracticable to check bags, or to install airport-style metal detectors and X-ray machines
in a subway network that carries 3 million passengers a day, or a bus system that carries some 6 million daily.
Ian Blair, the police commissioner, called the blasts "a very serious incident."
"We know that we have four explosions or attempts of explosions, and it is still pretty
unclear as to what has happened," he said outside Scotland Yard.
"At the moment the casualty numbers appear to be very low ... the bombs appear to
be smaller" than those detonated July 7, he said. He added later that not all the bombs went off.
Independent security and defense analyst Paul Beaver said he was told by an official
close to the investigation that it appeared two devices detonated but that the other two did not.
Police initially said one person was injured in the blasts, but later said there were no
bomb blast injuries, although one person was reported to have suffered an asthma attack.
An armed police unit entered
Sky News TV reported that police were searching for a man with a blue shirt with wires
protruding. Officers asked employees to look for a black or Asian male about 6-foot-2.
The attacks, which targeted trains near the
stations, did not shut down the subway system, only three of its lines. The double-decker
bus had its windows blown out on
"When I got home, my hands were shaking," says 24-year-old commuter Lisa Chilley,
who uses the targeted Oval station. "I'm panicking like hell. It's just too close to home."
Witnesses told The Associated Press they did not hear a bang but smelled something
similar to an electrical fire at the
Police in chemical protection suits were at the
agents were found.
Stagecoach, the company which operates the stricken bus, said the driver heard a bang
and went upstairs, where he found the windows blown out. The company said the bus
was structurally intact and there were no injuries.
The incidents paralleled the July 7 blasts, which involved explosions at three Underground
stations simultaneously starting at , followed quickly by a bomb going off on a bus.
Those bombings, during the morning rush hour, also occurred in the center of
hitting the Underground from various directions.
Thursday's strikes, which began at 12:38 p.m., were more spread out.
"People were panicking. But very fortunately the train was only 15 seconds from the station,"
witness Ivan McCracken told Sky news.
McCracken said another passenger at
The July 7 bombs were carried in backpacks, police said.
McCracken said he smelled smoke, and people were panicking and entering his subway car.
He said he spoke to an Italian man who was comforting a woman, and "he said that a man was
carrying a rucksack and the rucksack suddenly exploded. It was a minor explosion but enough
to blow open the rucksack."
"The man then made an exclamation as if something had gone wrong. At that point everyone
rushed from the carriage," McCracken said.
embassy staff continued working, said spokeswoman Susan Domowitz.
The explosions came as Pakistani intelligence officials said authorities are seeking the former
aide of a radical cleric in
The officials said British investigators asked Pakistani authorities to search for Haroon Rashid
Aswat, who reportedly had been in close contact with the suicide bombers just before the attacks.
Aswat, 31, was of Indian origin and may not be in Pakistan, according to two intelligence officials
in Islamabad and one in Lahore, all speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not
authorized to talk to the media and because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
Aswat reportedly was once an associate of Abu Hamza al-Masri, a radical imam awaiting trial in
of trying to establish a terrorist training camp in Bly,
and funding terror training in
Quoting unidentified intelligence sources, The Times of
hometowns of the four
had been up to 20 phone calls between Aswat and two of the bombers before the attacks.
Aswat's relatives in Batley, near the northern English town of Leeds, which was home to
two of the suicide bombers, said they had not heard from him for many years.
"He has not lived at this house and we have not had contact with him for many years,"
said his father, Rashid, who asked for his family to be left in peace. "There is no story
that we can provide."
Authorities are investigating whether the London bombing suspects, three of whom were
of Pakistani origin and traveled to Pakistan last year, received training or other assistance
from militants in that country.
One of the July 7 bombers, Shahzad Tanweer, 22, is suspected of visiting a madrassa linked
with militants in
A Pakistani newspaper reported that Tanweer revered
. The English-language Dawn newspaper said Tanweer visited relatives in
November in a farming village near
he was visited by another bombing suspect, Mohammed Sidique Khan, 30, Tanweer's
uncle told the newspaper.
Pakistan has pledged to curb religious extremism amid international concerns that
Islamic schools, or madrassas, are promoting extremism.
Mirror image terror attacks hit
LONDON - London was struck by a virtually identical repeat of the July 7 attacks
as three subway trains and a bus were targeted with bombs, but this time carnage was
averted as the devices apparently failed to explode.
The British capital was plunged into confusion for the second time in a fortnight
following the four bomb blasts or attempted blasts inside an hour, sending terrified
commuters fleeing from
In an eerie mirror image of the attacks two weeks ago in which at least 56 people died,
there were three almost simultaneous incidents on subway trains followed an hour later
by an explosion on a bus, taking place at four points around
Again, as on July 7, some of the explosives appeared to have been placed in rucksacks,
with witnesses on two of the targeted subway trains reporting minor blasts inside bags.
However, rather than the carnage of a fortnight before, the latest blasts had minimal power,
with police eventually saying that not a single injury had been caused.
Police refused to categorically link the two sets of attacks, but terrorism experts said it
appeared likely that both were intended to cause maximum casualties, the only difference
being that the second set of bombs failed -- for some reason -- to go off as planned.
Ian Blair, the head of London's Metropolitan Police, said the aim of Thursday's attempted
attacks was plain.
"Clearly the intention must have been to kill. You don't do this with any other intention," he said.
"I think the important point is that the intention of the terrorists has not been fulfilled."
The alert began just before (1130 GMT) when police evacuated Shepherd's Bush
Underground station to the west of the city centre, with witnesses reporting smoke around the station entrance.
Almost simultaneously there were emergencies at two other stations, Oval to the south and
Witnesses on the latter two trains reported seeing small explosions coming from rucksacks,
the same bomb-carrying method used by the four British Muslim men named by police as the
July 7 suicide bombers.
Ivan McCracken, who had been on the train attacked at Warren Street, said fellow passengers
described seeing a man carrying a rucksack which "suddenly exploded."
"It was a minor explosion but enough to blow open the rucksack. The man then made an
exclamation as if something had gone wrong. At that point everyone rushed from the carriage," he said.
An eyewitness on the train at Oval station described seeing a man flee after his rucksack blew up.
"There was a little explosion. As soon as the door opened the man ran away and people were
trying to run after him," the unnamed woman told Sky News television.
About an hour later, the driver of a Number 26 bus driving through Shoreditch, just east of the
centre, reported hearing a loud bang on the top deck of the vehicle followed by a pall of smoke.
On investigating he found some of the bus's windows blown out.
Police commissioner Blair said later that he felt "very positive" clues left in the latest attacks
could give vital pointers for the investigation into the earlier blasts.
"We do believe that this may represent a significant breakthrough in the sense that there is
obviously forensic material at these scenes which may be very helpful to us," he said.
Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence
at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland, said the bombs may have been a "bad batch"
or badly wired.
"I think there could be the possibility that the material was degraded or they did not wire it
correctly," he told AFP.
Officers were also hunting for the suspected bombers, notably a man seen fleeting from
Witnesses reported a man running up the escalators after the blast was almost stopped, with
a florist working outside the station coming within a whisker of trapping the man.
"He grabbed hold of him as he jumped over the barriers but he got away and ran across
the road into the park," Alex Gibson, 30, a barman working at a nearby pub, said of the chase.
urged Londoners to repeat their much-praised attitude to the July 7
attacks and carry on as normal.
The attackers were trying to "intimidate people and to scare them and to frighten
them to stop them going about their normal business," he said after talks with
Australian Prime Minister John Howard at
Despite the limited impact, the attacks shut down much of the
Underground system and brought traffic gridlock to parts of the city as police sealed off a series of streets.
For the second time in two weeks, thousands of Londoners heading home from work
faced the prospect of waiting hours for a packed bus, walking to a railway station or
making the entire journey on foot.
"You can never really expect it, but it's less of a surprise this time," said Siva Rubakumar,
a 32-year-old accountant standing near
trek to a distant northern suburb.
"But what can you do? You have to keep going on. You don't want these people to change
the way you live."
4 Small Explosions Jolt London and Disrupt Transit