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Friday, July 08, 2005

BBC NEWS | UK | London bombs killed 'at least 50'

BBC NEWS | UK | London bombs killed 'at least 50' London bombs killed 'at least 50'
The final death toll for the London bombs will be at least 50, the head of the Metropolitan Police says.

Sir Ian Blair said there were a number of bodies still in the Tube train at Russell Square but that the final figure was unlikely to top 100.

Sir Ian said the police had an "implacable resolve" to track down those responsible for the blasts.

The blasts on three Tubes and a bus left 700 hurt, with 100 held overnight in hospital and 22 serious or critical.

A massive intelligence investigation is under way to find those responsible, with Sir Ian saying it was "blindingly obvious" that a terrorist cell was operating in Britain.

Anti-terrorist branch head Andy Hayman said each device had less than 10 lbs (4.5kg) of high explosive in it and could be carried in a rucksack.

I saw three bodies on the track - I couldn't look, it was so horrific
Scott Wenbourne

In the Tube trains these devices were on the floor. In the bus, the device may have been on the seat or the floor.

There has been much media speculation that the attack on a bus in Woburn Place - that claimed at least two lives - had been the work of a suicide bomber.

Newspapers quoted an eyewitness who got off the bus moments before the blast who saw an agitated man in his mid-20s fiddling with his bag.

Richard Jones, 61, an IT consultant, told the Daily Mail: "This chap started dipping down into his bag and getting back up. He did it about a dozen times in two or three minutes and looked extremely agitated."

Mobile plan

Sir Ian said there was "absolutely nothing to suggest this was a suicide bomb".

"There is nothing to rule it out. It may have been that or it may have been a bomb left on a seat."

The police commissioner said officers had considered the suspension of London's mobile network, which is within their power, but had ruled it out.

Emergency services are encountering difficulties recovering bodies from the site of the bus blast and also in the Tube train between King's Cross and Russell Square.

Assistant Commissioner Hayman said: "It's yet to be the case for us to get near the carriage. There is a risk of the tunnel being unsafe. I ask everyone's patience as we progress this matter.

"It would be wholly unwise and could inhibit a successful prosecution if we rushed this stage."

Royal visits

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said looking for potential bombers was like searching for "needles in haystacks".

The Queen and Prince Charles are visiting casualties while Tony Blair prepares for the G8 summit's last day.


HAVE YOUR SAY
There is no such thing as Global Security
Patricia Vanderveer (Robinson), Liverpool, UK

Transport operators ran a near-normal service on the Tube on most lines, but there were fewer commuters than usual.

Mr Clarke said a claim on the website of a previously unknown group, the Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe, saying it was behind the blast, was being taken seriously.

Scotland Yard have confirmed seven people died in the Liverpool Street explosion and another seven were killed at Edgware Road. At least 21 lost their lives at the King's Cross blast.

Police have indicated there will be a more visible presence of officers in the capital on Friday.

The home secretary said the failure to predict Thursday's bombs should not obscure past successes.

But he admitted: "It certainly was a failure of intelligence in the sense that we didn't know this was coming.

"But by definition when you're looking for needles in haystacks you can miss the needles and the tragedy of yesterday is that we did miss the needles."

And the home secretary defended the recent downgrading of the terrorism threat from severe general to substantial.

Anyone worried about relatives or friends they have not heard from is advised to contact a special police hotline on 0870 156 6344 .

Blasts occurred:
Between Aldgate and Liverpool Street tube stations
Between King's Cross and Russell Square tube stations
At Edgware Road tube station
On bus at Tavistock Square

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