- LONDON (Reuters) - Police
shot a man at a South London underground station on Friday as they hunted
for bombers who struck London's transport network on Thursday.
- Media reports said the man was a suspected suicide bomber.
Transport Police said they had suspended services on the city's Northern
and Victoria lines that run through Stockwell station.
- The attacks at Thursday lunchtime caused chaos but killed
no one, in an apparently failed bid to repeat suicide bombings which killed
52 people two weeks earlier.
- As forensics experts searched the three underground trains
and a double-decker bus hit by small, near-simultaneous explosions on Thursday,
police were called to a series of security alerts across the south of the
- They were also examining the remains of the devices that
failed to detonate, in the hope of identifying the explosives and finding
fingerprints or other clues that might lead them to the bomb-makers.
- "They're going to be looking for the details of
the bomb and any other things that might be near it, DNA or hair,"
intelligence expert Crispin Black said.
- "But I think the quickest-running part of this investigation
is likely to be the manhunt," he told the BBC.
- As the hunt intensified, commuters showed a phlegmatically
stiff upper lip and got back onto buses and underground trains on Friday
morning, saying they would continue their normal routines despite a second
wave of attacks in two weeks.
- "I just accept I have to get to work. It could happen
any time. It's not completely gone but you have to get on with life,"
said Frances Jones, waiting at a bus stop by London Bridge station on her
way to work at a pensions company.
- "I would still get the tube. If your number is up,
your number is up," said Elisa Blackborough, travelling to work at
a bank in the city of London financial district.
- AL QAEDA HALLMARKS
- But others were more cautious.
- "I'm not so much nervous, but more aware on the
tube. I look for baggage hanging around. People seem more jumpy,"
said 29-year-old banker Cairita Wogan.
- Police have far more clues from the Thursday attacks,
including the unexploded bombs, eye witness reports and CCTV footage, than
they had after the July 7 suicide bombs that killed 52 commuters, the four
bombers and wounded 700. But security experts warned that the attacks could
- "For determined terrorists one attack is never enough...
you want to create a series so that there is a feeling that there is a
campaign, there is a feeling that this will go on and on," said defence
expert Michael Clarke from King's College, London.
- Saudi Arabia's ambassador to London and former spy chief
Prince Turki al Faisal said the attack bore the classic taint of Osama
bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
- "They seem to have all the hallmarks of such attacks
-- the modus operandi, the devastation, the sheer cowardice associated
with them and the attack on innocent civilians. These are all part and
parcel of al Qaeda," he told BBC radio.
- Police also used the occasion to call for sweeping new
powers, including being allowed to hold terrorism suspects for up to three
months without charge as compared to the current two-week limit.
- Friday's newspapers focused on the "miraculous"
escape by hundreds of commuters after the devices only partially detonated
without causing any injuries.
- "Our lucky day," said a banner headline in
the Daily Mirror. "Four bombs, three trains, one bus, zero deaths."
- CHAOS NOT KILLING
- Passengers on at least two of the trains told of would-be
bombers fleeing after the explosions, which police said might have been
detonators going off but failing to ignite a bomb.
- The attacks appeared to be an attempt to copy the July
7 attacks, when four young British Muslims detonated rucksack bombs in
three packed trains and a bus at morning rush hour.
- Explosives experts said it was still unclear why the
devices had failed to explode properly.
- "It could be they weren't constructed properly,
it could be the explosives exceeded the age of their usefulness, or it
could have been just sloppy handling," said Jim Ludwiczak, president
of Kentucky-based Blasting and Mining Consultants.
- Another analyst, Professor Hans Michels, of Imperial
College, London, told the Times newspaper it was "extremely improbable"
that all four devices would have failed to explode.
- "It may be that the object this time was not to
kill people but to cause chaos," he said.
- Police said on Friday that no one had been arrested in
connection with the blasts.
- While the blasts caused no injuries, police said one
passenger was treated in hospital for a suspected asthma attack.
- Train passengers told of their encounters with the would-be
- One witness travelling on a train in west London said
he heard a bang like a gunshot and saw a young man sprawled on the carriage
floor with smoke coming from his rucksack.
- "There was a man lying on the ground with his arms
outstretched in a Jesus Christ position, lying on top of a medium-sized
black and green rucksack," passenger Abisha Moyo, 28, told the Daily
- Others said they had chased a suspected bomber out of
a south London station where a bag had exploded, before losing him.
- Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has rejected accusations
that the invasion of Iraq has made Britain a target for Islamic militants,
has appealed for calm.
- © Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.