MI6 building is rocked by two explosions

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The Independent Online

Two explosions rocked the MI6 building in Vauxhall Cross, central London, last night. Eyewitnesses saw smoke over the top of the building, which is the home of the secret intelligence service. There were no reports of casualties.

Two explosions rocked the MI6 building in Vauxhall Cross, central London, last night. Eyewitnesses saw smoke over the top of the building, which is the home of the secret intelligence service. There were no reports of casualties.

One or more devices could have been fired over the perimeter wall into the building, police sources suggested. One of the explosions was thought to be on the sixth floor. Windows were smashed but there was not thought to have been any structural damage.

The area was sealed off after the explosion, just before 10pm. Anti-terrorist officers and bomb squad experts were combing the area for forensic evidence.

It was not clear whether there were any warnings, code words or claims of responsibility, but there were fears that the attack was most likely the work of Republican dissidents who have been active in London.

Alex Frank, who lives nearby, said he heard two explosions from his bedroom across the railway. "I heard two distinct explosions and massive white clouds over the railway tracks," he said. "There were definitely two explosions of the same strength. They were loud enough to shake the building I'm living in."

Another eyewitness, Andrew Preece, said he was driving home with his girlfriend when he saw a flash of light coming from the top of the MI6 building. "It looked as of it was internal from the centre of the building but the flash of light was from the top of the building. It was followed by a large bang and the ground seemed to shake and my car was shaking."

Sridharan Balakrishnn, 23, who works at petrol station on the Albert Embankment behind the building, said he saw smoke pouring from the roof of the building. "I heard two large bangs at around 9.55pm. It was very loud and hurt my ears. Then I saw smoke coming from the MI6 building.

James Trott said: "A friend of mine was on a bus coming over the bridge and heard two big explosions and glass shattered all over the place."

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said they had sent two crews to the scene but there were no reports of casualties.

If dissident Republicans had been able to plant even a small device close to the building it would be a major embarrassment for the Government. MI6 answers to the Foreign Office where a spokesman said they were aware of the incident, but did not have any details.

Within the last couple of months Anti-Terrorist Squad officers at Scotland Yard have warned of possible attacked by IRA splinter groups fearing that the Real IRA were planning attacks on the capital in an attempt to wreck the peace process.

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