Car bomb explodes in west London

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The Independent Online

A suspected car bomb exploded at midnight in a busy street in west London injuring several people.

A suspected car bomb exploded at midnight in a busy street in west London injuring several people.

Some were reported to be lying on the ground injured by flying glass following the explosion close to a London Underground station at Ealing Broadway. Scotland Yard said a warning had been received but the area had not been cleared before the explosion close to the Townhouse pub.

The area, full of shops, pubs and clubs, was busy with people at the time of the explosion, according to witnesses. A group of young women who were going to a nearby nightclub were said to be among the injured. Police officers were at the scene within seconds of the blast which was heard half-a-mile away.

Student Jagpreet Sidhu, 22, from south-east London, saw the bomb go off. He said: "I felt a huge shock wave then literally saw a roll of flame coming towards us. All the shop windows smashed. We ducked and were thrown to the floor."

Another witness Simon Offer said: "I ran out and people were running up the street. Some people were on the floor, some were having panic attacks. These were people who had been caught up in the explosion. There were a lot of people around. This area is very busy on a Thursday night.

"The police started to move people back and gave a warning that there could be a secondary device."

Boo Abbas, 43, was in a restaurant 200 yards from the blast. He said: "Everything shook and I felt the wind through my hair and the vibration. I knew immediately it must be a bomb, it was terrifying. The windows shook."

Another eyewitness, Alan Joyce, was drinking in a pub near the scene of the blast. "It was near closing time at the pub and it took me off my chair. I ran outside the pub to see what happened and there were 70 or 80 girls and guys just running up the street and the whole place was in chaos." The area was cordoned off as police feared there could have been a second device in the area.

A year ago, police safely detonated a bomb outside the same station, believed to have been planted by a dissident Irish group.

The blast at Ealing Broadway follows a spate of attacks in London. The Real IRA were believed to have been behind the attacks and an active unit was believed to have been operating in the capital.

Following the last attack on a post office in London last April, police said they believed the hardline republican organisation, responsible for the Omagh bombing that killed 29 people, was planning an attack on a busy street or against a political figure.