08 July 2005

Over 50 killed in London bombings

RTE

08 July 2005 19:42

The death toll from yesterday's bomb attacks in London has risen above 50. Police have said that figure is expected to rise.

It is understood that among the victims of the four attacks were nationals from China, Australia, Portugal, Poland and Sierra Leone.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said that the death toll from the bomb blast on a London bus is 13, revising up a figure of two given yesterday.
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The wreckage of the bus, with the roof torn off, is still on the street where it blew up. A large screen has been erected around the site.

Earlier, Mr Blair said there was great difficulty in determining a final death toll because of the damage at the blast scenes.

He added that there were 700 casualties, 350 people were taken to hospital, 22 are still in a critical condition and one person died in hospital.

Mr Blair said there was absolutely nothing to suggest that any of the attacks were carried out by a suicide bomber, although he added that nothing at this stage could be ruled out.

It has also been revealed that police have yet to reach one of the London underground train carriages where a bomb went off.

The Assistant Police Commissioner, Andy Hayman, said there were safety concerns in the tunnel.

Claim taken seriously

Britain's Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said a claim of responsibility for the bombings is being taken seriously.

The claim was made by a previously unknown group calling itself the Secret Organisation of al-Qaeda's Jihad in Europe on its website.

It posted a message saying the blasts were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a television interview, Mr Clarke said the claim was serious, although alternative explanations have not been ruled out.

A huge police investigation got underway today to find those responsible for the bombings. Police investigators are still working at the scenes of the attacks.

Three explosions occurred on underground trains, the fourth on the double-decker bus. It was the worst terrorist attack in Britain since the Lockerbie explosions 17 years ago.

Muslim leaders in talks

Muslim leaders in London were holding talks with police today amid fears of reprisals against their community.

Most buses and a limited train service were operating in London this morning, but underground services remain curtailed. Transport for London has said many sections of the underground will not be fully restored for several weeks.

A large number of schools in London remained closed today.

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