Terrorists Strike London Underground, Buses

LONDON, UK, July 7, 2005 (ENS) - Explosions in London underground stations and on a double-decker bus during this morning's rush hour have brought the city's transport system to a halt. Officials say that two people are dead and hospitals say 160 others have been hurt in the blasts. London's Emergency Plan has been activated.


Emergency workers prepare to descend into the London Underground to rescue trapped passengers. (Photo courtesy Ben)
The Metropolitan Police confirm six incidents involving tube trains and buses in central London but said the cause of the explosions is not known. Home Secretary Charles Clarke has confirmed that the Underground network has been suspended and advised against unecessary journeys in the capital.

Speaking from Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland where he is meeting with the G8 heads of government, British Prime Minister Tony Blair went on television to say that the terrorists aimed to disrupt the G8 meeting with these strikes, but have not done so.

"It's reasonably clear," said Blair, "that there have been a series of terrorist attacks in London."

Blair said he would leave the G8 within the next few hours and go to London to get a report face to face from the police and the emergency services and the ministers who have been dealing with the explosions. He intends to return this evening to resume the G8 talks.

"It's particularly barbaric," said the Prime Minister, "that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help to problems of poverty in Africa and the long term problems of climate change and the environment."

It is "reasonably clear," he said, "that it is designed and aimed to coincide with the opening of the G8."


British Prime Minister Tony Blair will fly to London today and then return to the G8 meeting at Gleneagles. (Photo courtesy Office of the Prime Minister)
Blair said, "It is the will of all the leaders of the G8, however, that the meeting should continue in my absence, that we should continue to discuss the issues that we were going to discuss and reach the conclusions that we were going to reach."

"Each of the countries around that table have some experience of the effects of terrorism," he said." And all the leaders, as they will indicate a little bit later, share our complete resolution to defeat this terrorism."

"There will be time to talk later about this," said Blair. "It's important, however," he declared, "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 in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilized nations throughout the world."

Present at Gleneagles are: Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, French President Jacques Chirac, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President George W. Bush, and President of the European Commission Jose Barroso.

The G8 leaders are holding their first working session today, focusing on climate change and the global economy.

First meeting alone, the leaders are then to meet with the heads of government of India, China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa who have been invited by Prime Minister Blair to participate in this discussion.


South African President Thabo Mbeki arrives at Prestwick Airport, near Glasgow, Scotland today to participate in the G8 meeting. (Photo courtesy G8)
They are also joined by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the heads of the World Trade Organization and the International Energy Agency, as well as the president of the World Bank and the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The key question is how to reconcile the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions, with the need for economic growth.

In an early morning meeting before the first terrorist strike in London, which came at 8:49 am local time, Blair and President Bush agreed that "it is time to find an international consensus on dealing with global warming."

Speaking to journalists this morning after they held a one on one meeting, the Prime Minister accepted that no one was going to change their position on the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for reducing greenhouse gases.


U.S. President George W. Bush arrives Wednesday for the G8 meeting at Prestwick Airport near Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo courtesy G8)
President Bush agreed and welcomed the presence of developing nations such as China and India at this year's summit to talk about climate change, calling it a "wise move."

The President said he believed there would be technological solutions to the problems facing the environment which would not harm economic growth.

One of his main priorities is investing in research into alternative ways of fueling cars, such as hydrogen power, he said.

Blair said the summit would not produce a new treaty on climate change but would work towards "a new consensus" on how to deal with the problem.

The two leaders had also spent time talking about Iraq, Iran and the challenges of the Middle East.