London Again

26bus Deja Vu in London. Three subway small explosions in the underground, and a double-decker bus's windows blown out. No fatalities. Happened after lunch hour, local time. Police chased an injured suspect into a hospital. Botched? Copy cat? Chaotic initial reports of the events that less successfully mirror the attacks that left 56 dead and more than 700 injured exacly two weeks earlier.

"There was a mass panic." Eyewitness reports here.

Police Commissioner Ian Blair's statement on the incidents, which were nearly simultaneous: "At the moment the casualty numbers appear to be very low in the explosions. The bombs appear to be smaller than on the last occasion."

The BBC reporters at the scenes have a blog. Pretty gripping stuff:

"We've had an email handed to us saying police asked staff to be on the lookout for a man on their behalf. It said people should look for a black or possibly Asian man, of about six feet two inches tall, wearing a blue top with a hole, and possibly having wires protruding from the shirt. People were told not to approach this man if they saw him but to dial 999."

They write that the commissioner called the botched bombings "a potential breakthrough, as the forensic and other evidence they are gathering now could help them with other enquiries." One reporter interviewed traveler Sarah Rafique:

"It really worries you, when I step onto a Tube or a bus now, I think twice."

The Guardian blog reports:

It is now becoming clear that there were three attempted bombings today - at Oval station, at Warren Street station, and on a 26 bus in Hackney. Speculation suggests the detonators on these devices went off, but the bombs themselves did not. Should this be the case, there are clearly going to be huge risks in disarming the devices. But in the bombs there is the potential for clues as to who, exactly, is behind this.

Add Shepherd's Bush station to the list.

Guardian main story here.

Going Underground, a London Tube blog, is live as well.

First account of the chaos, which occurred after 1 p.m. London time:

no no no no no .. !

"One hospital, near Warren St station, has started its emergency plan.

Sosiane Mohellavi, 35, was traveling from Oxford Circus to Walthamstow when she was evacuated from a train at Warren Street.

"I was in the carriage and we smelt smoke - it was like something was burning.

"Everyone was panicked and people were screaming. We had to pull the alarm. I am still shaking."

Police drew automatic weapons and arrested man outside No. 10 Downing Street, Prime Minister Tony Blair's residence. "Unconnected," the police commissioner later said.

Blair on TV about these incidents: They are done to scare people, to make them anxious and worried. Fortunately in this instance there appear to have been no casualities.... I think we've just got to react calmly.

Posted 07/23/2005 09:52:01 AM