- The number of people killed in a devastating string of
co-ordinated terrorist attacks in London will be more than 50 as emergency
workers continue efforts to retrieve bodies from the city's underground,
police said Friday.
- They also said that 13 people are now known to have died
when a bomb exploded on board a double-decker bus near Tavistock Square
on Thursday, tearing the upper level from the vehicle.
- Previously, police had said they were not able to estimate
fatalities in that prong of the terrorist attack.
- London Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair also told reporters
that a number of bodies remain in the tunnel near the Russell Square Underground
station, which was seriously damaged in the attacks.
- All survivors were removed from that location, but because
of the danger posed by the state of the tunnel, the decision was made not
to go back for the bodies of the dead until the tunnel has been shored
up, he said.
- Although the final number of dead remains unclear, he
said he does not expect the total for the attacks to exceed 100. Police
have put the official number of confirmed dead at 49, although that figure
is likely to continue to climb.
- "There is a great difficulty in deciding how many
fatalities or determining how many fatalities there are," he said,
during an earlier press briefing Friday.
- At this stage, he said, it was impossible to say whether
the attacks - the worst on London since the Second World War - were the
result of a suicide bombers or whether the bombs had been planted ahead
- "We have absolutely nothing to suggest this was
a suicide-bombing attack although there is nothing at this stage to rule
that out," Sir Ian told a morning press conference.
- He also said police were at the start of a "very
complex" and lengthy investigation, but he vowed an "implacable"
resolve to bring those responsible to justice.
- The police service acknowledged that the bombings do
"bear the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda attack" but also said it is
too early in the investigation to reach that conclusion.
- No arrests have been made.
- Home Secretary Charles Clarke said separately Friday
that looking for the bombers was like searching for "needles in haystacks."
He also said the attacks came "came completely out of the blue,"
with no warning.
- On Thursday, the world watched in horror after four terrorist
bombs exploded on one of the world's busiest transit systems, throwing
central London into chaos. Political leaders quickly denounced the act
as one of cowardice and vowed to hunt down those responsible.
- Three of the explosions hit London's busy underground
system at rush hour. A fourth tore the top level off a packed double-decker
- More than 700 people were injured. Of those, 350 were
treated at the scene. About 100 people entered hospital overnight, with
22 people in critical condition.
- The injured included citizens of at least five countries
in addition to Britain - Sierra Leone, Australia, Portugal, Poland and
- Just one day earlier, Londoners had been elated over
a surprise win in the race for the 2012 Olympics.
- London Mayor Ken Livingstone told reporters Friday that
Londoners have lived through many difficult times in the past - including
the Blitz of the Second World War - without bowing to the threat of attack.
- "London always stayed open for business," Mr.
- He also refused to link the bombings to Britain's role
in the U.S.-led war in Iraq, saying all world cities are potential targets
- "They look at a city like London and think it's
an abomination because people of all races and creeds can live side-by-side
in harmony, can intermarry, can work together, can share their lives and
hopes and aspirations," he said. "This is the world they don't
want to see."
- Sir Ian echoed the mayor's sentiments.
- "If London can survive the Blitz it can survive
four miserable events like this," he said.
- During earlier news conference on Friday, London police
said they had "taken considerable note" of claims of responsibility
from a group alleging ties with the al-Qaeda, which co-ordinated the devastating
Sept. 11 attacks in the United States four years earlier.
- They also said it was "blindingly obvious"
that a terror cell is at work in Britain.
- Sir Ian told reporters Friday police would "bend
every sinew" to catch those responsible.
- "The most important statement I can make, however,
is the implacable resolve of the Metropolitan Police Service to track down
those who are responsible for these terrible events," he said.
- Investigators are now pouring over forensic evidence
and video footage from the transit systems extensive network of surveillance
- One day after the blasts, televised images for London
showed residents tentatively returning to their daily life. Images, however,
also showed streets - normally teeming on a Friday morning - that were
relatively quiet. Officials were advising residents to remain vigilant
and suggested people stay home unless absolutely necessary.
- Ten of London's 12 subway lines reopened Friday, although
service on three was restricted. Bus service was running through central
London, except for diversions around blast sites.
- Aldona Mosjko, a 21-year-old bagel shop manager from
Poland, was among those too frightened to take public transportation Friday.
- "Normally, I take the bus, but today, I took a taxi.
I was a bit afraid," she said.
- Police told reporters that, despite early reports that
as many as six bombs were detonated, the evidence now suggests four devices
- each carrying less than 10 pounds (four kilograms) of explosives - were
set off in the attacks. The police believe the bombs on the underground
were placed on the floor of subway cars.
- On Friday, worried relatives also began the grim search
for missing loved ones.
- On the BBC, Trevor and Beverley Ellery told how they
last heard from their 21-year-old son Richard via a text message just minutes
before the first blast. He had been heading into the city on the morning
of the attacks.
- "We have had no contact since," Mr. Ellery
told the news service.
- The Queen and Prince Charles were both visiting casualties
on Friday. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who flew home Thursday to address
the nation, has returned to Scotland for the final day of the G8 summit.
- "It's been one of the things that many of us have
dreaded for a long time and now they have finally got through," Prince
- "What I can never get over is the incredible resilience
of the British people who have set us all a fantastic example of how to
react to these kinds of tragedies."
- The Queen also offered words of support.
- "Atrocities such as these simply reinforce our sense
of community, our humanity, our trust in the rule of law. That is the clear
message from us all," she told staff at the Royal London Hospital.
- Speaking from the G8 site, Mr. Blair contrasted the efforts
of world leaders and their vow to take on the issue of global poverty with
those of the terrorists responsible for Thursday's bombings.
- "It is hope that is the alternative to hatred,"
he said, backed by world leaders. Following this week's meetings, G8 members
pledged to increase aid to Africa to $50-billion (U.S.), from the current
- Responding to questions during the summit's final press
conference, Mr. Blair laid the blame for Thursday's attacks squarely on
shoulders of the bombers.
- "My opinion is that those people who kill the innocent
have caused such bloodshed that they're responsible and they're solely
responsible," he said.
- Mr. Blair was to return to London to preside over a government
panel dealing with Thursday's bombings.
- Around the world, other nations remained in a heightened
state of alert Friday in the wake of the attacks. Immediately following
Thursday's blasts in London, a group calling itself "The Secret Organization
of al-Qaeda in Europe" had posted a statement of responsibility for
the series of blasts, saying they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement
in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- That statement also threatened further attacks on nations
with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and other nations with troops in Italy
- In Canada, Deputy Minister of Public Safety Anne McLellan
said security in this country will be tightened in the wake of the bombings,
which she called "a reminder that we can not be complacent."
- "You see more regular law enforcement from the metropolitan
police," she told CBC Newsworld.
- "The RCMP will kick in their national security team.
In Toronto, you will probably see more sniffer dogs. You will see more
announcements for the general public because we all have a role to play
in terms of reporting suspicious events, suspicious packages, and so on."
- "And all those kinds of things go to a different
level after an event such as London."
- At this point, she said, there have been no reports of
Canadian casualties in the attacks.
- - With a report from Associated Press
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