London Death Toll Rises to 50
LONDON, UK, July 8, 2005 (ENS) - Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has now confirmed that "at least 50" people died during the four explosions Thursday in central London. A series of three terrorist explosions in the London Underground and one on a double decker bus at the height of the morning rush hour was the worst incident in the city since World War II.
The blasts injured some 700 people. One hundred were kept overnight in hospitals, and of those 22 are in serious or critical condition.
Sir Ian said there was "absolutely nothing to suggest this was a suicide bomb," referring to the bus that was blown up, killing two people. But he said, "There is nothing to rule it out. It may have been that or it may have been a bomb left on a seat."
In paying tribute to the people of London and the emergency services for the way they responded to yesterday's events, Sir Ian said he and his officers had an "implacable resolve" to catch those responsible and would "bend every sinew" to do so.
A group calling itself the Secret Organization of Al Qaeda in Europe claimed on a website that it was responsible for the bombings, but police officials said they had received no message claiming responsibility for the attacks from any group, and have not arrested any suspects.
Despite being on the highest alert and exercising extra vigilance for the G8 Summit taking place at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland, intelligence services had no pre-warning and did not anticipate the London terrorist attacks.
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who was not in London during the explosions, said he has "no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack."
London Buses are running a near-normal service, but road closures are still in effect for the areas around the four bombing sites. Transport for London officials said the roads around Russell Square, Woburn Place and Aldgate High Street will be closed for up to the next 48 hours.
Approximately 325,000 people travel on buses during the morning peak rush hour and 370,000 others use the tube.
The official website of Prime Minister Tony Blair has received thousands of emails since the London bombings as people from around the world expressed their sorrow, sympathy and support for the people of London. The Prime Minister is very grateful to every one who has taken the trouble to write in.
Prime Minister Blair has returned to Scotland to host the third day of the international G8 summit. The G8 leaders will continue the discussions on climate change, which carried on yesterday while the Prime Minister returned to London in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
They will then be joined for trade, aid and debt talks by the leaders of seven African countries.
At the conclusion of today's meetings, some 15 communiques will be made public, including one on climate change and another on African development.