Police Hunting London
Bombers Kill Man
In Station
By Peter Griffiths
LONDON (Reuters) - Police shot a man at a South London underground station on Friday as they hunted for bombers who struck London's transport network on Thursday.
Media reports said the man was a suspected suicide bomber. Transport Police said they had suspended services on the city's Northern and Victoria lines that run through Stockwell station.
The attacks at Thursday lunchtime caused chaos but killed no one, in an apparently failed bid to repeat suicide bombings which killed 52 people two weeks earlier.
As forensics experts searched the three underground trains and a double-decker bus hit by small, near-simultaneous explosions on Thursday, police were called to a series of security alerts across the south of the city.
They were also examining the remains of the devices that failed to detonate, in the hope of identifying the explosives and finding fingerprints or other clues that might lead them to the bomb-makers.
"They're going to be looking for the details of the bomb and any other things that might be near it, DNA or hair," intelligence expert Crispin Black said.
"But I think the quickest-running part of this investigation is likely to be the manhunt," he told the BBC.
As the hunt intensified, commuters showed a phlegmatically stiff upper lip and got back onto buses and underground trains on Friday morning, saying they would continue their normal routines despite a second wave of attacks in two weeks.
"I just accept I have to get to work. It could happen any time. It's not completely gone but you have to get on with life," said Frances Jones, waiting at a bus stop by London Bridge station on her way to work at a pensions company.
"I would still get the tube. If your number is up, your number is up," said Elisa Blackborough, travelling to work at a bank in the city of London financial district.
But others were more cautious.
"I'm not so much nervous, but more aware on the tube. I look for baggage hanging around. People seem more jumpy," said 29-year-old banker Cairita Wogan.
Police have far more clues from the Thursday attacks, including the unexploded bombs, eye witness reports and CCTV footage, than they had after the July 7 suicide bombs that killed 52 commuters, the four bombers and wounded 700. But security experts warned that the attacks could continue.
"For determined terrorists one attack is never enough... you want to create a series so that there is a feeling that there is a campaign, there is a feeling that this will go on and on," said defence expert Michael Clarke from King's College, London.
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to London and former spy chief Prince Turki al Faisal said the attack bore the classic taint of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
"They seem to have all the hallmarks of such attacks -- the modus operandi, the devastation, the sheer cowardice associated with them and the attack on innocent civilians. These are all part and parcel of al Qaeda," he told BBC radio.
Police also used the occasion to call for sweeping new powers, including being allowed to hold terrorism suspects for up to three months without charge as compared to the current two-week limit.
Friday's newspapers focused on the "miraculous" escape by hundreds of commuters after the devices only partially detonated without causing any injuries.
"Our lucky day," said a banner headline in the Daily Mirror. "Four bombs, three trains, one bus, zero deaths."
Passengers on at least two of the trains told of would-be bombers fleeing after the explosions, which police said might have been detonators going off but failing to ignite a bomb.
The attacks appeared to be an attempt to copy the July 7 attacks, when four young British Muslims detonated rucksack bombs in three packed trains and a bus at morning rush hour.
Explosives experts said it was still unclear why the devices had failed to explode properly.
"It could be they weren't constructed properly, it could be the explosives exceeded the age of their usefulness, or it could have been just sloppy handling," said Jim Ludwiczak, president of Kentucky-based Blasting and Mining Consultants.
Another analyst, Professor Hans Michels, of Imperial College, London, told the Times newspaper it was "extremely improbable" that all four devices would have failed to explode.
"It may be that the object this time was not to kill people but to cause chaos," he said.
Police said on Friday that no one had been arrested in connection with the blasts.
While the blasts caused no injuries, police said one passenger was treated in hospital for a suspected asthma attack.
Train passengers told of their encounters with the would-be bombers.
One witness travelling on a train in west London said he heard a bang like a gunshot and saw a young man sprawled on the carriage floor with smoke coming from his rucksack.
"There was a man lying on the ground with his arms outstretched in a Jesus Christ position, lying on top of a medium-sized black and green rucksack," passenger Abisha Moyo, 28, told the Daily Mail newspaper.
Others said they had chased a suspected bomber out of a south London station where a bag had exploded, before losing him.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has rejected accusations that the invasion of Iraq has made Britain a target for Islamic militants, has appealed for calm.
© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.




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