Dozens killed in London blasts

Police said this afternoon that at least 37 people had been killed in four terrorist blasts on the London Underground and on a bus
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The Independent Online

A series of explosions ripped through London today in a series of terrorist strikes leaving dozens feared dead and crippling the capital. The Metropolitan police said this afternoon that more than 33 people were killed and hundreds injured.

* Explosions hit the London Underground on a train between Aldgate East and Liverpool Street, another between Russell Square and King's Cross, and a third at Edgware Road station. It was thought at first that there were separate blasts at each of the stations, rather than between them.

* Between the first and second Tube explosions, a bus packed with commuters exploded near Russell Square. Witnesses said the roof was ripped off.

* Seven people died in the first blast in a tunnel 100yds from Liverpool Street Station, 21 died in the blast at King's Cross/Russell Square and five died at Edgware Road station in an explosion involving three trains. There were also at least two deaths in the bus blast in Upper Woburn Square.

* Casualty hotline: 0870 1566 344.

* The Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick said no warnings were given and no claims of responsibility have been received by the police.

* The Prime Minister Tony Blair said before leaving the G8 summit: "It is particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa and the long term problems of climate change and the environment."

* The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair said: "We do not want people to call the emergency services unless it is a life-threatening matter."

Hours after the blasts there was still no official death toll but survivors of blasts reported seeing piles of bodies. Police at the scene of the bus blast also said several people had died.

The blasts were initially blamed on a power surge but it soon became clear that it was a co-ordinated terrorist attack on the capital.

The G8 gathering had prompted fears of a terrorist spectacular.The scale of the explosions and the disruption it has caused the capital's transport network is bound to provoke comparisons with the al-Qa'ida attacks on the Madrid railway network.

The Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: " As far as the police are concerned, they are in operational command and dealing with the situation in accordance with very well-established procedures in an extremely professional way.

"Health services are in support to deal with the terrible injuries that there have been and I want to express sympathy on behalf of the Government to the family and friends of those who have been injured." Underground services have been suspended and we advise people not to make unnecessary journeys in London at this stage in order to help the police and other emergency services deal with the current situation."

He added: " Throughout all of this and the terrible situation that there is we will be updating the public very directly at regular intervals with the most up to date information that we have."

Describing the bus explosion, eyewitness Belinda Seabrook said: "I was on the bus in front and heard an incredible bang, I turned round and half the double decker bus was in the air," she said. Mrs Seabrook said the bus was travelling from Euston to Russell Square and had been " packed" with people turned away from Tube stops.

Survivors of the Tube blasts described scenes of total chaos. Simon Corvett, 26, from Oxford, was on the eastbound train leaving Edgware Road Tube station when the explosion happened. He said: "All of sudden there was this massive huge bang. It was absolutely deafening and all the windows shattered. The glass did not actually fall out of the windows, it just cracked."

He added: "The train came to a grinding halt, everyone fell off their seats. There were just loads of people screaming and the carriages filled with smoke. You couldn't really breathe and you couldn't see what was happening. The driver came on the Tannoy and said 'We have got a problem, don't panic'."

Mr Corvett, whose face was covered in soot, joined other passengers to force open the train doors with a fire extinguisher. He said the carriage on the other track was destroyed.