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U.K.: Investigation Launched Into London Explosions


A massive investigation is under way to find those responsible for yesterday's attacks in London. At least 50 people were killed and more than 700 others injured in four explosions targeting London's public transportation system. British officials say the attacks bear all the hallmarks of the Al-Qaeda network.

Prague, 8 July 2005 (RFE/RL) It is still not clear who is behind the deadly attacks in London that left many dead and wounded.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said today in a news conference that that the police is in the beginning of “a very complex and lengthy investigation.”

"The most important statement I can make, however, is the implacable resolve of the Metropolitan Police Service to track down those who are responsible for these terrible events," Blair said.

The police commissioner also confirmed that the attacks bore all the hallmarks of the Al-Qaeda terror network. He said there is nothing to suggest suicide bombers were involved but he added that nothing at this stage can be ruled out.

Blair said the condition of 22 of the wounded is critical.

"We should state, at this point, that we know that there are more than 50 fatalities. There is a great difficulty in deciding how many fatalities or determining how many fatalities there are because two of the scenes are very difficult in terms of recovery," Blair said.

The explosions that yesterday hit London’s public transportation system caused pain and shock among the population. But a day after RFE/RL correspondent Robert Parsons reports from London that life is going back to normal.

"I suppose that the word everybody has been using here in London, today and last night, is 'stoic,' really. Everybody seems determined to go on with life as normal. The Underground system, against all expectation, is pretty much up and running normally today. Some of the main lines are closed where the bombs went off, but otherwise, running fairly normally," Parsons said.

The four explosions happened within a short interval as the morning rush hour drew to a close . The first three blasts hit the Underground trains while the fourth one ripped off the roof a double-decker bus.

An unknown group calling itself the Organization of Al-Qaeda Jihad in Europe has claimed responsibility for the bombings. It has threatened similar attacks in Denmark, Italy, and other countries with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Britain’s Home Secretary Charles Clarke has said the claim is being taken seriously . Clarke has also said that looking for potential bombers was like searching for "needles in haystacks."

British Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday accused people "acting in the name of Islam" of being behind the bombings.

"We know that these people act in the name of Islam, but we also know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims here and abroad are decent and law-abiding people who abhor this kind of terrorism every bit as much as we do," Blair said.

The London attacks have been strongly condemned by many states including several Muslim countries.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai today urged the world to unite to combat terrorism.

“This is an attack not against a city, this is an attack not against a nation, this was an attack against the whole of mankind . The people of Afghanistan recognize very well this pain of the British people because the people of Afghanistan were the first to suffer at the hands of terrorism for so many years and suffered for so long. So, we recognize the pain of the people of Britain, we are with them at this hour of pain and sorrow,” Karzai said.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said the London explosions proved that terrorism was a global plague that could strike anywhere.

Iran also condemned the attacks in London and sent condolences to families of the victims.
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