Double-decker bus ripped apart by one of series of explosions in London
Four near simultaneous explosions rocked the London Underground network subway and tore open a double-decker bus during the morning rush hour today in the capital city, killing at least 37 people and injuring hundreds of others.
Bloodied survivors were seen emerging from stations and receiving treatment on sidewalks.
“The types of injuries we are seeing include limb damage, burns, cuts, breaks, head injuries and chest problems due to smoke inhalation,” Claire Burroughs of St. Mary’s Hospital in central London told CNN.
A rescue operation at one of the stations had successfully evacuated all survivors, but the number of dead below ground was said to be ”in the double digits,” reports the network.
A group calling itself “The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe” has posted a claim of responsibility for the attacks on a website popular with Islamic extremists, reports Der Spiegel magazine in Berlin. The statement claims the bombings were in retaliation for Britain’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Tony Blair called the attacks a ”barbaric” terrorist attack timed to disrupt the G8 summit.
”It’s important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realize 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 and a desire to impose extremism on the world,” an emotional Blair said in a televised address.
”Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilizations in the world.”
The explosions came a day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympics and as the G8 summit was getting under way in Scotland.
Blair left the summit to return to London, while the other leaders continued the meeting.
”Each of the countries around that table has some experience of the effects of terrorism and all the leaders, as they will indicate a little bit later, share our resolution to defeat this terrorism,” he said in a statement to reporters.
”The war on terror goes on,” President Bush said ouside the G8 summit. ”We will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them, we will bring them to justice.”
He warned Americans to be ”extra vigilant” as they head to work today. He also said he had spoken with homeland security officials back in Washington.
”I instructed them to be in touch with local and state officials about the facts of what took place here in London,” Bush told reporters.
U.S. officials said they had no intelligence to suggest similar attacks are planned for the United States, but the terror alert has been raised to code orange, or high, for mass transit systems.