London closed its subway system and evacuated all stations after emergency services were called to explosions in and around the financial district.
Police said blasts occurred in ``multiple locations.'' A bus exploded near Russell Square, causing ``numerous casualties,'' a police statement said. A policeman on the scene at Liverpool Street said fatalities had occurred.
Liverpool Street station, Aldgate, Edgware Road and King's Cross are among stations evacuated after blasts were reported on underground train links. Scotland Yard said the first blast was reported at 8:50 a.m. local time.
Josh Trevino, who is enroute to London, has more. And Tim Worstall has a roundup, including links to firsthand accounts by London bloggers. Check out the UK blogs aggregator for more, too. The British government seems to be suggesting that anti-G8 activists are behind this, but it sounds more like Al Qaeda.
Pepperdine Law student Alexander Smart sends this email from London:
I'm a Pepperdine law student studying in London right now. I'm presently sitting in effective lock-down in South Kensington, due to a "suspicious package" found on the street in front of our building. As of now, official count (the bbc) is seven explosions, six on the tube and one on a double decker. There are two confirmed deaths, and "a high number of casualties." The tube is completely closed, and right now, there are no buses moving around in central London, and it looks like the center is closed to all traffic.
MORE STILL: Reader Neil Richards emails from London:
A few blocks away from the initial bomb blast, the offices of my company have remained open. In many ways it's the safest thing to do, best to stay where people can keep track of you. Everybody at the office is trying to get their work done as best as possible (difficult with a number of staff unable to get in this morning). Life goes on, and everybody is making plans of how to deal with the crisis in a calm manner. Nobody is trying to leave the office. Unless we're specifically targeted we'll stay put and do our best to ignore the threats.
And a reader notes that the Abu Hamza trial opened Tuesday in London and suggests that's a more likely connection than the G8 conference. One hopes that the British authorities will respond to these attacks by cracking down on the rather large number of Muslim extremists who have set up shop in London.
Indian blogger Amit Varma notes that we're all in this together: "This isn't just an attack on the UK, but, like the attacks of 9/11, they're an attack on a way of life and a value-system, one that is dear not just to Western countries, but to millions in the developing world, like me. Concepts like personal freedom, equality of women and, in fact, human rights are alien to those behind the attack, and they must be defeated."
I'm quite struck by the strategic cynicism of attacking public transportation, and then after an interval, the crowded bus lines once commuters had been diverted to them. But several friends I spoke with this morning who have lived in Israel say that this pattern - an initial attack, followed by a staggered attack on emergency services once they'd arrived - isn't at all uncommon. (My friends living abroad are kindly texting to see if i have all of my relevant body parts, attached in the appropriate fashion.) I find that such an attack on commuting civilians completely unengaged with the machinery of government, war, or administration is striking me as stomach-turning and revolting in a way I could not have previously imagined.
Well, that's who we're fighting here.
I think the attacks were a strategic mistake. They've got even Ken Livingstone sounding Churchillian. I'm assuming that they're Al Qaeda-related, though I suppose we don't know that for sure yet.
In the past decade, the United Kingdomís undisputed political, economic, and cultural center has also become a major world center of political Islam and anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American activism. Through its Arabic-language newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses, not to mention its flourishing network of bookshops, mosques, and community centers, radical Islam has taken full advantage of what British democracy has to offer for its anti-Western goals, reaping the benefits of Londonís significance as a hub of global finance, electronic media, and mass communications technology.46 The effect of this with regard to anti-Semitism and virulent anti-Zionism has therefore been quite different from that found elsewhere in Europe: Although Britainís Muslim population of about 1.5 million is only a quarter of that of France, the growing influence of Londonís Muslims has given the most inflammatory of ideas a greater legitimacy in the capitalís political and cultural discourse than they enjoy virtually anywhere else.
I suspect that will change.
YET MORE: Bill Roggio has an analysis of what the attacks may mean. And here are more photos from London, via Flickr.