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As many as seven explosions have hit the London Underground along with what looks like two of three bus explosions during rush hour this morning. At this time, 11:00 AM London time, there has been another explosion reported.
The Underground has been closed and traffic is at a stand still.
Central London especially is tightly packed, with a subway system that is highly utilized.
At least 90 Casualties are reported at Aldgate. Multiple casualties are reported with multiple blasts in Tavistock Square. The attacks may not yet be over.
This has to be coordinated to coincide with the announcement of London's win for the 2012 Olympics and the beginning of the G8 Summit.
Now group has yet claimed responsibility, but this looks to be a highly sophisticated attack directed at public transport. which would point to a group like al Qaeda rather than some anarchist or anti-globalization organization. This does have earmarks of the types of techniques used in the past by the IRA.
UPDATE: Sky News is reporting an attack in the financial district, soldiers are being seen in Covent Garden and near Buckingham Palace. The fear is that the attacks have not yet ended.
Tony Blair is expected to make a statement within the hour.
UPDATE II: The FTSE (London stock exchange) is down sharply.
UPDATE III: The attacks so far seem to be in King's Cross(north), Aldgate near Liverpool Street station, Tavistock Square, Leciester Square, Edgware Road, Russell Square (central), Old Street in the financial district, among others.
UPDATE IV: The AP is reporting that Scotland Yard had warned Israel of attacks just before the blasts started in London. What that actually means, if anything, is uncertain. Possibly a false report to misdirect attention. This seems to have been a notification from Scotland Yard to friendly intelligence agencies that London had been warned of imminent attacks.
UPDATE V: I'm looking at pictures of a double decker bus near Russell Square. The entire top of the bus has been blown off and is laying, mangled, in the street.
UPDATE VI: I have a map of Central London here that I print off when I'm headed to London, although you may have trouble getting it to load right now.
UPDATE VII: A personal note: I have received emails asking if Caitlin is back in London. The answer is no, she is still in Rabat, Morocco. I have not heard from her today, although I'm sure that she has learned of this by now and is worried about her friends and roommates.
UPDATE VIII: Prime Minister Blair has announced that he will leave the G8 and head back to London. "It is particularly barbaric," says the Prime Minister, that this attack come as the G8 being meeting on increasing aid to Africa.
UPDATE IX: Here is a more compact map that is loading faster. Caitlin attends University in Kensington and lives nearby in Fulham, both in the west. You can see that London is a sprawling yet compact city. The attacks seem to have been confined to central London all within a relatively tight area.
UPDATE X: Here is a story of the Scotland Yard warnings.
Passengers from Egdware Station leaving the scene.
One of the reported attacks on double decker buses in Central London.
UPDATE XII: Israel Foreign Minister is now denying any warning was received from Scotland Yard. Also, an "Italian news agency" is reporting that a preciously unknown group has claimed responsibility "in the name of al Qaeda." This may be just a crackpot claim and has not yet been substantiated. Reports are also coming in that one of the bus blasts was the result of a suicide bomber. This from Sky News.
UPDATE XII: These blasts have occurred in the subway stations that are connections to major transportation hubs. This may have something to do with the choice of targets. The areas hit are a mixture of residential and commercial use. Much of King's cross is commercial. Leciester Square is a tourist area and theater center. Aldgate is the financial center of the city.
UPDATE XIII: BBC is saying that this is "almost certainly the work of al Qaeda." This does have all the hallmarks of al Qaeda. It has been a very well-planned, coordinated attack.
UPDATE XIV: Blair is now speaking with the G8 leaders standing behind. "Today's bombings will not weaken our resolve to defeat fanaticism and extremism."
UPDATE XV: The Transportation Secretary is saying the the Tube will shut down for the rest of the day. In the past two years or so, London had instituted a special Central London car tax to curb surface traffic and drive more people to use the Underground. As a consequence, more and more people are using buses and the Tube. Caitlin uses the system extensively to get just about everywhere. This will cause major headaches with perhaps hundreds of thousands, perhaps a million, people stranded for the night.
UPDATE XVI: Caitlin uses the Edgware Road and King's Cross stations just about every day. I have to admit that upon hearing of these attacks, I forgot for a moment that she is not in London at this time. I know that she is safe, but as I cannot get in touch with her, I am I'm experiencing a little bit of anxiety. Forgive me if I seem a bit out of sorts.
UPDATE XVII: London's mayor is now speaking from Singapore, I believe. He says he has no doubt that this is a terror attack. We are seeing here the famous British stiff upper lip as they deal with the attacks. Ken Livingstone is noting that this was an attack not on presidents and the powerful, but an attempt at mass murder.
UPDATE XVIII: Hospital official report nearly 190 people being treated for injuries. There are now 4 confirmed reports from the AP. Scotland Yard is saying up to seven attacks.
UPDATE XIX: Reports of upwards of 300 people have been taken to hospital. This is does not count the many "walking wounded" not deemed serious enough to be in need of immediate medical treatment. The discrepancy between attack count may be due to multiple explosions at some places.
This is reported as a scene of devastation in Russell Square:
UPDATE XXI: The death toll is now being reported as 40-45 with up to 1000 injured.
UPDATE XXII: Here is a story on the claim of responsibility:
A group calling itself the al-Qaeda Organization in Europe claimed responsibility for a series of bombings across London today, in a statement posted on an Islamist Web site.
"The time has come for the revenge from crusading Zionist nation of Britain,'' the group said in the statement which couldn't be authenticated.
The attacks are "a response to the massacres carried out by Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The heroic Mujahedeen carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and fright from the north to the south, east and west.
"We warned the British government and the British people again and again.
"We have fulfilled our promise and carried out a blessed military raid in Britain after hard efforts carried out by heroic Mujahedeen. The efforts went on for a long time, guaranteeing success.
"We still warn the governments of Denmark, Italy and all the Crusader governments that they will meet the same fate if they don't pull their forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.''
The statement, posted on the al-Saha web site, is dated today and is signed by the secret Organization of al-Qaeda in Europe.
UPDATE XXIII: al Qaeda in Iraq has announced that it has murdered Egyptian ambassador to Iraq Ihab al-Sharif.
UPDATE XXIV: Did I say stiff upper lip? Here's an email to the Corner from a Londoner:
I'm writing this sitting in my office in London working as normal.
As I look out the window I see no buses, very few cars but lots of people walking on the streets; however, these are not the images of Sept 11 - people walking in one direction out of the city. These are Londoners walking left, right, up the street, down the street, going about their normal lunchtime business.
We have faced terror before - Nazi terror, Irish Republican terror - and have not been beaten. This will not beat us either.
The overwhelming feeling round our office is "Is this best they can do?" - it looks and sounds much worse on 24hr news channels than in person.
Caitlin is always telling me of the different way in which the British deal with this kind of thing, as they have had much more experience with terrorism. She has turned herself into a Londoner and exhibits the same sort of resolve and strength.
UPDATE XXV: We have now gotten word of Caitlin's flatmates in London. They are both fine and getting on with their day, although they will stay close to home because transport is shut down. There is to be a London Emergency Services update soon.