Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Explosions

As I write, this story in London is unfolding in front of my eyes. Since 10AM I have been stuck to the television, Londonist, the Guardian, BBC online – every reliable source I can – watching the story change from ‘power surges’ to the discovery of a device, to a description of events that ‘bear all the hallmarks’ of a terrorist attack (specifically Islamic terrorist groups, according to the current news report.)

New York, Madrid, and Bali – all places I have never been to and cannot identify with, but of course all places that I felt for when they experienced devastating terrorist attacks. London, on the other hand, is a place that I live in for a large part of the year. The shots on the news are of places that I go to every day, that I pass on my commute to university, and the eyewitness accounts from the tubes are accounts of my nightmares. This time it’s me who is worried about people I know, hoping that my boyfriend will stay inside and stay safe.

It’s just so very sad, a horrific juxtaposition with the celebrations yesterday when London won the Olympic bid. There isn’t a lot more I can say, aside from collect the news that I have heard. This has been terrible news not just for London but also for the whole of the UK: we are vulnerable too.

11:32 (From Londonist) Arab sources have told the BBC that Al Qaeda are 'almost certainly' responsible. Two fatalities at Aldgate East.

11:40 (From Londonist) Traces of explosives found at at least one of the scenes.

12.08 Tony Blair speaks: It is his intention to leave the G8 at go down to London in the next couple of hours and to return later this evening. All the leaders at the G8 want the meeting to continue in Blair’s absence. Each of the leaders of the countries round the table has some experience of this situation and shares our resolution to defeat this terrorism. It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try and help the problems in Africa as well as with the environment.

It is reasonably clear that this is a series of terrorist attacks and that they have been designed to correspond with the opening of G8.

It is important that those who are engaged in terrorism that our determination is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people. Whatever they do it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilisations around the world.

12.11 London Ambulance Service - cannot confirm the number of casualties and fatalities, but it is expected to be high. Please do not use LAS unless it is absolutely necessary. There is currently a rescue operation ongoing at King's Cross Station, where a tube train is still stuck in the tunnels with fatalities expected. The LAS were also called to Leicester Square, although no explosion has been confirmed there yet.

12.13 Scotland Yard confirm that there have been explosions in London this morning at: Edgware Road, King's Cross, Tavistock Square, Russell Square, Liverpool Street, Moorgate, Aldgate East. The bus that was exploded was a Route 30 bus at Tavistock Place.

12.37 Londonist reports that LAS have confirmed a further bus explosion at Leicester Square (I've not seen any information regarding this, apart from the LAS interview earlier.) -- This was later confirmed by a Guardian Blog reader to be untrue, there have been no explosions in Leicester Square.

12.54 Charles Clarke - expresses sympathy for those involved. Not in a position to give precise details but 4 have been confirmed.

13.14 Images of those trapped underground appear on Wikinews.

13.15 Tony Blair speaks again, terrorists will not succeed.

13.31 Ken Livingstone on BBC News, describes the events as an 'indiscriminate attempt to slaughter.'

This has been my live update, although I'm sure nobody else has read, it has been useful for me to make sense of conflicting and confusing news stories and has given me something to do whilst I sit here in shock. My heart goes out to everybody in London. Londonist, Wikinews, and The Guardian Newsblog continue to update regularly. BBC is, as ever, reliable and constantly updated. I have no choice but to go out, but I will no doubt be constantly listening to the radio for more and will be rushing home afterwards to update further.

I hope that the leaders at G8 are still able to have a successful summit, and still deal with the same issues that absolutely must be dealt with this week no matter what terrorists do to try and f**k it up.

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