Thursday, July 07, 2005

London bombings: Most deadliest terrorist attack on the UK - More than 38 fatalities 700 casualties, 45 serious

After logging online today at around 10am and seeing a BBC news report on today's bombing in London, I switched on the TV to find BBC1's non-stop live coverage. ITV also covered the news throughout the day and into the early evening.

News emerged, less than twenty-four hours after the euphoria of winning the Olympic Games bid, of the most deadliest terrorist attack on the UK. Without warning at 8.56 this morning in London, one of four explosive devices was detonated by terrorists on London's train subway. One of the bombs exploded inside a red double decker bus at 9.47 am and ripped off the roof. It is not known if this was the handiwork of a suicide bomber or how many people on the bus were killed.

Initial reports said there had been a power surge on the subway, but it quickly became evident that an explosion took place at 8.51 am at an underground train station near Aldgate and the City of London. A second bomb exploded 9.17 am affecting three trains coming into London's Edgware Road. The bomb on a bus exploded at 9.47 am.

Reports say so far there are more than 38 fatalities and 45 people are in critical condition with burns, amputations etc. In all, 700 casualties. Emergency services responded rapidly and could not have done better.

Prime Minister Tony Blair gave a statement via TV at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. He is now back in Downing Street and has given a press conference. A panel of emergency service chiefs gave a televised news conference for the press. President Bush and various leaders were interviewed at various points throughout the day. The Queen sent a message of condolence. The Union flag at Gleneagles and Buckingham Palace are flying at half mast.

News pundits say the barbaric attack has the hallmarks of Madrid but today's bombing is not as technically competent. They say the perpetrators could be Al Queda inspired jihadists - possibly payback time for Britain's support of the U.S. over Iraq by a group formed spontaneously over recent weeks or months. More will be known when forensics are available. How the bombs were detonated will tell a lot. Bombing may have been timed with the G8.

By the time Tony Blair greeted G8 leaders this morning, he knew the worst. All of the leaders were determined the attack would not affect their day of talks which went ahead without Mr Blair. Before he left for London he gave a press talk surrounded by the G8 leaders who stood to attention in silence. He left for London by helicopter. Reports say he would be back at the summit later.

Mainline train stations are open this evening and bus services are slowly returning to normal. But for many people in London today, walking was the only route out. London mainline stations were closed. Eurostar maintained services at Waterloo. Transport to airports was suspended. At one point terminal three at Heathrow airport was closed.

Television pictures showed some footage taken on one of the underground trains by one of the survivors who had a camera phone. London buses were commandeered by police to take 100 victims to four London hospitals as traffic could not get through the city's 9 am rush hour.

Sir Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York, is on Channel 4 TV news right now. Like many others, he says London is responding as well as one could expect. He commented how everyone is calm and very measured with a great sense of strength. He said large cities like London, Paris, New York etc., will never have perfect security.

The Olympic bid team were televised leaving Singapore for England feeling very saddened and subdued. Winning the Olympic bid was the best thing that has happened to Britain in a long, long time. Some extremist jihadists have rained on our parade. People are saying there could be a backlash against Muslims and attacks on mosques. Special news reports will be broadcast on TV later tonight and first thing tomorrow morning. Most of the nation will be watching.

Obviously we all feel very sad, but many of us are used to terrorist threats and attacks, especially in London because of the troubles in Northern Ireland. I lived in London SW1 at the time of the missile attack on Downing Street and I heard the explosion. For decades there were up to 70 bomb alerts each and every day, especially in central London.

Britain went through much worse during the World Wars and Battle of Britain. We will survive. The terrorists won't. They will be caught, one day. We Brits will be vigilant but shan't let any terrorists rule our lives. We are made of stern stuff.

God bless all of those suffering right now because of the appalling atrocity today and RIP the poor souls who lost their lives so tragically +++


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