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London Searches For Blast Victims, Perpetrators

9 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- It's been two days since London suffered Britain's worst-ever terrorist attack. Some 50 people died when bombers struck three London underground trains and a double-decker bus at the height of the morning rush hour.

Today, two searches continue -- one for bodies still trapped underground, and another for the perpetrators.

Trains are now running on at least parts of all of London's subway lines, the target of three of four bombs on 7 July.

Outside, flowers are piling up in tribute to the some 50 dead. That number is likely to rise, as rescue workers try to recover bodies still trapped deep underground.

It's a dangerous task. There are fears a tunnel might collapse near Russell Square station.

And as that search goes on, authorities are continuing another hunt -- for those responsible for the attacks.

Police have said they are paying close attention to a statement claiming responsibility from an Al-Qaeda-linked group calling itself the Secret Group of Al-Qaeda's Jihad in Europe.

Now there are similar claims from two other Al-Qaeda-linked groups -- the Organization of Al-Qaeda-Arabian Peninsula and Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades.

British newspapers are carrying the first reports of a possible suspect, a Moroccan blamed for deadly attacks in Casablanca two years ago.

Police have not commented on that report.

But London's police chief Ian Blair said on 8 July they will "bend every sinew" to find those responsible:

"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.

Many Londoners say they're determined to go on with life as normal. They said they won't be cowed because that's what the terrorists want.

"You have to keep going, you see -- you must not let things like that frighten you," said passerby Mark Tyler.

That spirit was applauded in Washington by U.S. President George W. Bush.

"The British people are steadfast and strong," Bush said. "For long we've admired the great spirit of the Londoners and people of Great Britain. And once again that great strength of character is coming through."

Those sentiments were shared by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who visited some of the injured in hospital on 8 July.

"Those who perpetrate these brutal acts against innocent people should know that they will not change our way of life," the Queen said. "Atrocities such as these simply reinforce our sense of community, our humanity and our trust in the rule of law."

On 9 July, Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair also praised the resilience of his country's people.

He said his government won't react by bringing in strict new laws on security.

Security alone, he said, won't protect the country from attacks. Ultimately, he said, the world must deal with terrorism's underlying causes -- poverty, lack of democracy, and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

(compiled from agency reports)

See also:

Multiple Blasts Create Mayhem In London

Britain Seen As Important Link In Iraqi Jihadist Networks

Al-Zarqawi, Al-Qaeda, And The New Islamist Front

Europe Proving To Be A Growing Base For Al-Qaeda

Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades Threaten European Governments