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Hundreds of casualties in London rush hour terror attacks

TERRORIST bombs targeted London's rush hour this morning with at least four explosions on the Underground and bus system.

Reports from CNN say at least 12 people were killed, including ten at King's Cross station and two at Aldgate East station. Officials say about 300 were injured. One train passenger said he saw several bodies in the wreckage. At midday, three hours after the start of the attacks, people were still trapped in the Underground.

• Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, told the House of Commons that there had been at least four explosions, with attacks on the Tube system between Aldgate and Liverpool Street; Russell Square and Kings Cross; and at Edgware Road station; and on a bus in Woburn Place. The first blast was reported at 8:49am.

The entire Tube system, used by three million people a day, was closed while bus services in the centre of London have also been cancelled.

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, had earlier said there had been at least six explosions, but said the picture was still "very confused" and expressed concern that this was "a co-ordinated attack." A Scotland Yard official said traces of explosives had so far been found at two of the blast sites.

Eyewitness accounts of the London explosions

Images of the aftermath of the explosions

Leaders' statements on the London attacks

• Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, speaking at Gleneagles where he had been attending the G8 summit, said: "There are obviously casualties, there are people that have died and people seriously injured, and our thoughts and prayers are of course with the victims and their families."

Before flying to London, he expressed his "complete resolution" to defeat the terrorism responsible for this "barbaric" outrage.

"There will be time to talk later about this, but it is important however that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civlised nations throughout the world," the Prime Minister said.

• According to a claim on the Al-Qal’ah website, the Secret Organisation Group of al Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe claimed responsibility for the attacks. The message said: "The heroic mujahidin have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters."

Paul Wilkinson, a terrorism expert from St Andrews University, said: "It is quite clear that a major terrorist attack has been carried out on London. The attack has all the trademarks of the al Qaeda network," he said

There is also an unconfirmed report that Scotland Yard was aware of the possible attacks. A senior Israeli official reportedly told a news agency that Scotland Yard told Israel minutes before the explosions it had received warnings of possible terror attacks.

• The timing of the incidents came on the opening day of the G8 summit in Scotland. Edinburgh and Perthshire, near the summit venue, have experienced a series of protests in recent days.

The G8 gathering had prompted fears of a terrorist spectacular. The scale of the explosions and the disruption it has caused London's transport network is bound to provoke comparisons with the al Qaida attacks on the Madrid railway network.

The Prime Minister will leave the summit in Gleneagles for several hours for face-to-face meetings in London about the attacks. The meetings in Perthshire will continue without him.

• The Ministry of Defence said there was currently "no military involvement" in the response to today's blasts. "We standby ready to assist, but this is a civil police led operation at present," said a spokesman.

• Some of the 70,000 workers at Canary Wharf in London's Docklands were allowed to leave early because of the inevitable travel problems caused by the explosions. Millions of people who work in the capital face difficult or near impossible journeys home this evening and many booked into hotels.

• The London Stock Exchange was sharply lower on the news. The FTSE 100 index tumbled by as much as 4 per cent by late morning but recovered to be down 2.3 per cent by early afternoon trading.

Eyewitness accounts of the London explosions

Images of the aftermath of the explosions

Did you witness the blasts? Has your day been disrupted? What do you think about the events of this morning? Tell us about your experiences and views: email online@scotsman.com

 
 
 

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