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Several explosions rock London Underground, buses


Blair speaks from Gleneagles, Scotland; he’s returning to London.

BBC video. Live browser ticker from DW-World.DE:

[UPDATE (7AM): Tony Blair is speaking live; he’s leaving the G8 meeting to go to London. I’ve added a link to a news ticker below, (thanks Holly).

7:15 AM: Paris raising its terror alert status according to CNN, nothing official about the U.S. yet. Folks, as you find out more, keep on posting; I have to leave for work.

9:30: I have another blog post up. And another (12:30 PM): And now, for the stuff that really matters, right?

London wins the 2012 Games yesterday and now this. An initial report tried to blame the explosions, in the city center at the height of rush hour, on a power surge, but a later report of a double-decker bus (perhaps two others as well) being torn apart by a blast makes it clear it’s not a technical difficulty. I woke up and caught the initial reports on CNN. They have not yet mentioned the word terrorism, but there’s no doubt this is an organized effort of some kind. Police have said that the incident took place on the Metropolitan Line between Aldgate and Liverpool Street and said the line has been evacuated. King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations have also been cleared. The Underground is completely shut down.

A bus was ripped apart in an explosion in central London today and several blasts rocked the Tube network leaving dozens of people injured.

The Tube blasts at the height of the rush hour on Thursday were initially blamed on a power surge. But amid the chaos eyewitnesses reported that a packed double decker bus in the Russell Square area had been severely damaged in a blast.

Union officials blamed the Tube blasts on a series of bombs, and Scotland Yard confirmed the bus explosion and said it was dealing with “multiple explosions” in London.

A second bus was reported to have been damaged in Tavistock Square.

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.

Travellers emerged from underground tunnels covered in blood and soot. Scotland Yard declared the emergency a “major incident.”

As I mentioned yesterday, the ability to keep NYC safe for an event such as the Olympics is completely impossible, given the many enemies we’ve made with our disastrous foreign policies who can create havoc with a homemade bomb (or even a well-placed threat). The vulnerable nature of infrastructure/lifelines such as subways, buses, bridges/tunnels, and major buildings are the reason. No official in London (or NY) can stand up in front of a camera with a straight face and opine that that mass transit, for instance, can be realistically secured without a disastrous impact on daily commerce, and the reach is both local and international. If an incident such as this occurs in a city center, as we can see, everything is paralyzed, hundreds, thousands, even millions can be affected.

I have not seen a casualty report yet, but it must be bad.

***

A report from the BBC:

Number 10 said it was “still unsure” whether the explosions were a terrorist attack and although casualties were reported, no further details were yet available.

Prime Minister Tony Blair is to make a live televised statement on the explosions in London at 1200 BST, Downing Street added.

All London Underground services have been suspended indefinitely and bus services in central London (Zone One) have been halted.

A spokesman for Vodafone said emergency services were being given priority access to the mobile phone network which was causing problems for other users.

One caller to BBC Five said his friend had seen “the bus ripped open like a can of sardines and bodies everywhere”.

I posted a new entry, U.S. Urges Vigilance for Transit Systems.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding