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Thursday, July 21, 2005

BBC NEWS | UK | London blasts cause chaos on Tube

BBC NEWS | UK | London blasts cause chaos on Tube London blasts cause chaos on Tube
A number of Tube stations have been evacuated and lines closed after minor 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 being shut down.

The minor explosions - just two weeks after blasts killed 56 - involved detonators only, a BBC reporter said.

In addition, a blast was reported on the top deck of a Number 26 bus in Hackney Road in Bethnal Green.

There were no injuries and the bus suffered no structural damage.

Initial tests at Oval station revealed no traces of any chemical agent, police said.

Police said officers in protective clothing had been deployed to Warren Street to examine the scene.

Casualties 'low'

Large areas around Warren Street, Oval and the Shepherd's Bush Hammersmith and City line Tube stations have been cordoned off.

One person was injured at Warren Street. There were reports the injured person may have been holding a rucksack containing the detonator.

Sir Ian told reporters: "The casualty numbers appear to be very low in the explosions.

"The bombs appear to be smaller than on the last occasion but we don't know the implications of all this yet."

He appealed for witnesses with mobile phone pictures of any of the incidents to send them to www.police.uk.

The BBC's Andrew Winstanley said devices had been found but appeared to have been dummies, containing no explosives.

Lines suspended

Police said armed officers had been deployed to University College Hospital after an incident. A large area was cordoned off.

There were reports a memo had been circulated to staff to look out for a 6ft 2in black or Asian man with wires sticking out of his top.

The hospital has not received any casualties or been alerted to casualties.

A man was arrested near Downing Street by armed police and led away down Whitehall.

The whole of the Northern Line has been suspended, along with the Victoria Line, the Hammersmith and City line, Piccadilly and the Bakerloo line.

A number of other stations were closed including Great Portland Street, Westminster, Waterloo, St Paul's and Oxford Circus tube stations, as well as Waterloo tube station and King's Cross Thameslink.

Tony Blair cancelled events in the afternoon and attended a meeting of the Cobra committee along with Sir Ian. Whitehall was briefly closed down.

London Underground went to an amber alert with trains taken to the next station and evacuated.

An eyewitness at Oval station said there had been a small bang, and a man had then run off when the Tube reached the station.

A spokesman for Stagecoach said the driver of the number 26 bus travelling through Shoreditch had heard a bang on upper deck, gone upstairs and seen the windows were blown out.

The bus driver was very shaken but said to be fine.

At Shepherd's Bush Hammersmith and City line station, police told reporters that a man had threatened to blow himself up and then ran off.

Sosiane Mohellavi, 35, was travelling 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."

The BBC's Rory Barnett said there had been no smoke on the platform at Warren Street.

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