Jul 21 2005
Tube lines have been evacuated, too eary to tell what is happening;
LONDON – Two weeks after suicide attacks on subway stations and a bus, police evacuated three subway stations and a bus after reports of smoke and an explosion Thursday. Police said one person was hurt but it was not a “major incident.”
Hat tip Tempus Fugit and Jawa Report (my news search engine was down). Apparently these were detonators without explosives?? Via BBC:
number of Tube stations have been evacuated and lines closed after three blasts in what Met Police chief Sir Ian Blair says is a “serious incident”.
Sir Ian appealed to Londoners to stay where they were and said the transport system was effectively shut down.
The minor explosions used detonators only, a BBC reporter said.
In addition, a Number 26 bus in Hackney Road in Bethnal Green had its windows blown out by a blast. There were no injuries.
Was this a warning that 7/7 could easily be repeated? Lots of the Underground are now suspended.
The whole of the Northern Line has been suspended, along with the Victoria Line and the Hammersmith and City line.
A number of other stations were closed including Westminster tube station, Waterloo station and King’s Cross Thameslink. There were also reports that St Paul’s tube and Oxford Circus tube station were closed.
More as it comes out.
Appears these bombers dropped and ran, expect CTV pictures soon (my guess).
Witnesses said they had seen what could have been a would-be bomber running away after dropping a rucksack on one of the trains.
“We all got off on the platform and the guy just ran and started running up the escalator,” one witness who gave her name as Andrea told the BBC.
“Everyone was screaming for someone to stop him. He ran past me … and he ran out of the station. In fact he left a bag on the train,” she said.
More eyewitness accounts here
It is three tube stations and one bus – definitely a replication to some degree of 7/7. Difference here is the bombers fled. Suggestions have been made this was probably the expectations of the other bombers since they had return tickets and did not present the behavior of martyrs on the way to die. Since these were detonators only, this could have been a training/rehearsal gone wrong. Rucksacks were used on 7/7 and today.
UPDATE IV 10:20 AM Eastern:
One of the injured at one of the sites may be one of the bombers.
The person reported to be injured at London’s Warren Street might be the one who set the alleged bomb off, BBC reported.
In addition, armed police have been seen entering a London hospital
Police are believed to have cordoned off University College Hospital in London and armed police have entered the building.
It followed reports that someone had been seen “running away” from Warren Street station in the wake of the incident there.
Three armed police officers were seen going into the major incident unit at University College Hospital, just minutes before someone was carried from an ambulance into the unit on a stretcher.
The hospital is so near Warren Street tube it has been included in the area cordoned off following the incident.
There is apparently also a supect package in the vicinity of one of the incidents
Patrick Harris, 24, an estate agent, said he was conducting a viewing at a property nearby when the area was cleared at about 1pm.
He said: “They said there was a suspect package. We were told lots of different things.”
UPDATE V – 10:30 AM Eastern:
Latest is a statement by London’s Police Chief
We know that we have four explosions or attempts of explosions and it is still pretty unclear as to what has happened. There is certainly a scene at the Oval underground station. There is a scene at Warren Street underground station. There is a scene at Shepherds Bush, which is on the underground but is actually above ground. There is a scene on a number 26 bus at Hackney near Columbia Road which I think is in Bethnal Green. At the moment the casualty numbers appear to be very low in the explosions and the bombs appear to be smaller than on the last occasion but we don’t know the implications of all this yet. We are going to have to examine the scene very carefully.
I have a couple of messages that I really need to give if I can.
The first is obviously the transport system is going to close down for a short while, while we work out what is happening. And it is very important that Londoners or people in London stay where they are.
The second announcement is we will make a further announcement around what the travel implications are but what we don’t want is lots of people going to railway stations or whatever – the trains as far as I know are still running. But it is just stay where you are, go about your normal business. The plan is there, we have seen it happen before, it is rehearsed, the emergency services are getting control over a very confused scene. Clearly, this is a very serious incident but what I am going to do now is go off to COBRA to meet with the Home Secretary and others and see where we go from here.”
The White House and Homeland Security Administration are monitoring events.
He said Bush was briefed on the London developments by White House chief of staff Andy Card and Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, at the end of the president’s regular intelligence briefing.
At the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Michael Chertoff was described as closely monitoring events. But spokeswoman Kathleen Montgomery said that Chertoff had no immediate plans to raise the U.S. terror alert beyond current levels.
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.
U.S. officials are unaware of any specific intelligence indicating a similar attack on the homeland, Montgomery said.
In the nation’s capital, trains and buses were running normally and authorities remained on heightened alert, Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. Passengers should expect to see bomb-sniffing dogs and increased patrols at train stations, she said. Buses also may be randomly checked.
UPDATE VI 10:40 AM Eastern:
Apparently one of the devices was a nail bomb
A man has been arrested in Whitehall, and there are unconfirmed reports that another bomber may be cornered in University College Hospital.
One person is reported injured in the attacks that have been described by Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair as “smaller than before”, but still a “very serious incident”
A nail bomb exploded on a Tube train at Warren Street, where eye witnesses also reported seeing a young Asian man dump a rucksack and run from the scene.
A second bomb exploded on the top deck of the No.26 bus on Colombia Road in Bethnal Green, blowing out the windows.
Police have also reported bombs at Oval and above ground at one of the Shepherds Bush stations, which have been evacuated and cordoned off.
They have one person in custody and another possibly cornered. This may illustrate the futility of trying to drop a bomb and run, which appears to be the MO today.
UPDATE VII 11:15 AM Eastern:
Expatyank is blogging from nearby and has lots of posts up [hat tip VikingPundit]
Some speculation this is the same group
The second, more worrying, was that the same group behind the suspected al Qaeda-linked attacks on July 7 had struck again, albeit with far less devastating effect.
That would show that, far from exhausting its strike potential, the group was capable of causing fresh havoc despite heightened security precautions in the British capital and a high state of alert in both the police and general public.
It also would show that the group could readily mobilise fresh operatives — perhaps even would-be suicide bombers — to follow the example of the four bombers who blew themselves up two weeks earlier.
Reminder, this is speculation at this time.
The good news is no serious casualties, at this time.
LONDON (Reuters) – Police hope London will return to normal quickly after attacks which appear to have claimed no casualties, Prime MinisterTony Blair said on Thursday.
“We know why these things are done. They are done to scare people,” Blair told a news conference. “Fortunately in this instance there appear to have been no casualties … We’ve got to react calmly.”
I am off for a while – plenty of sources here to return to as this unfolds.
UPDATE VIII 6:20 PM Eastern:
Surprisingly the early reporting has held up quite well. Latest news is the two arrests in London may not be associated with the bombings (mixed reporting) but that the police are searching for four bombers
Four suspected suicide bombers are being hunted tonight after police recovered viable explosive devices following todayâ€™s attempted bomb attack on the London transport network.
The four devices, which were all contained in rucksacks, were found at each of the four sites of the attempted explosions.
Detectives believe at least four bombers were involved in the failed attack and they are understood to be still at large. It is thought that police received reports of people running away from two of the attempted blast sites.
No-one has been arrested directly in connection with the blasts. Two earlier arrests are not believed to be linked.
A man was arrested today in Tottenham Court Road but police sources said it was not clear whether he was linked to the failed attacks. He is not believed to have been arrested under anti-terror laws.
Another man was arrested earlier at Downing Street but is not thought to be directly linked to the attempted bombings. Both are still in custody, police said.
Three of the four devices are thought to be of a similar size and weight to the bombs used in the July 7 attacks in the capital. The fourth was smaller and appears to have been contained in a small plastic box.
It is understood that an initial examination of the devices has shown that they contained constituents which appear similar to the explosives found in a bath at a property in West Yorkshire
More as it comes in.
It appears the two arrested may actually be part of the bombing.
Now we wait and see if we will be next.