Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Explosions

Seems to be reports of entire carriages been destroyed. Also again from Reuters.
London blasts fit al Qaeda-type pattern-analysts Thu Jul 7, 2005 11:49 AM BST Printer Friendly | Email Article | RSS By Mark Trevelyan, Security Correspondent BERLIN (Reuters) - Apparently coordinated blasts across London's transport network on Thursday bear similarities to last year's Madrid bombings and suggest an attack in the style of al Qaeda, security analysts said. Officially, there was no immediate confirmation from authorities that they were treating the explosions as an attack by militants. London's police chief said there were about six blasts. The use of near-simultaneous attacks to cause maximum damage and panic is a tactic frequently used by al Qaeda, from the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies in East Africa to the September 11 attacks on the United States with four hijacked airliners in 2001. Since then, the pattern has been repeated in deadly attacks attributed to al Qaeda or like-minded Islamist militants in Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Saudia Arabia, Turkey and Spain. The London blasts, at underground stations and on buses, had clear echoes of March 11, 2004, when 10 bombs hidden in sports bags exploded on four packed commuter trains in Madrid at the height of the morning rush hour, killing 191 people. "There are lots of parallels with the Madrid blast...We have to assume it's a terrorist attack," said German security analyst Rolf Tophoven. "The first thing that's very obvious is the synchronised nature of the attacks, and that's pretty classic for al Qaeda or al Qaeda-related organisations," said Budapest-based security analyst Sebestyen Gorka. "If we're talking about several attacks on one day, then there's a good likelihood we're talking about a known quantity here...The similarities to Madrid are clear." As with the Madrid attacks, which occurred three days before a general election, the London blasts appeared timed to coincide with a major political event. They took place as leaders of the Group of Eight nations were meeting on the first full day of a summit in Scotland -- an event which required its own massive security operation and drew heavily on police and counter-terrorist resources. Britain has three decades of experience combating Northern Irish guerrilla violence but it has not until now suffered an Islamic militant attack, although police say they have thwarted several attempts and have said repeatedly a successful strike is only a matter of time. Britain presents a likely target for Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda and affiliated groups because Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has staunchly backed U.S. President George W. Bush in the war on terrorism, including the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Casualties from Thursday's attacks were unclear but they sent financial markets diving and threw London, Europe's biggest financial centre into chaos. Propaganda messages from bin Laden have shown a keen awareness of the economic impact of al Qaeda attacks and attached importance to hitting economic targets and key infrastructure.

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