Examination of a timeline of events in London on Thursday, July 7, 2005, which killed dozens of innocents and saw the most lethal terrorist bombings ever in that city, reveals some surprising facts. -- Although the first explosion took place at 8:51 a.m. local time, it was not until one hour later, at 9:51 a.m., that Scotland yard declared a major incident. -- By that time, several explosions had taken place. -- Other odd facts emerge from the timeline, like the fact that witnesses report that the bus explosion at Russell Square took place at 9:47 a.m., but the chronology gives 10:08 a.m. as the time of reports of the explosion, some 21 minutes later. -- The security response would seem to have been ragged. -- Yet Reuters says that London had been on high alert since the Islamic militant al Qaeda groups Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. -- We know that these people act in the name of Islam, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Thursday, but declined to speculate who was behind the attacks, Reuters reported, contradicting itself. -- Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, meanwhile, said the coordinated blasts in trains and a bus bore the hallmarks of an al Qaeda-related attack. -- It is Adam Curtiss thesis that a coordinated worldwide terror network does not, in fact exist. -- Terrorism, of course, exists, as do the fanatical ideologies that fuel it. -- But the bombings in London may well be the project of a local group or groups, and indeed both of the reports below emphasize that a previously unknown group had already claimed responsibility. -- The Power of Nightmares argues that leaders like George W. Bush and Tony Blair have made of the fear of such events as Thursday mornings bombings their chief principle of legitimacy, replacing the traditional goal of improving the life of the citizenry with that of managing state resources effectively to combat a threatening menace of radical evil. -- If this thesis is correct, then the U.S. national security state (which has been doing this for years) and the British state have vested interests in encouraging the American and British public to believe in and fear the existence of a vast global terror network involved in the London bombings. -- Such conclusions should be based on evidence, not on presuppositions, declarations of what is obvious, or falsehoods purveyed on Sunday talk shows by the secretary of defense or the vice president of the United States. -- It is difficult to ask for open evidence when it comes to terrorist attacks, obviously. -- But if the nightmare of terrorism is real, so is that of leaders who deliberately exploit citizens fears. -- As Dwight David Eisenhower warned us in January 1961, we should take nothing for granted. ...
WHAT IS HAPPENING WHERE
July 7, 2005
5.33pm: Back at Downing Street, Tony Blair promises the "most intense police and security service action to make sure we bring those responsible to justice."
4.52pm: Police confirm a total of 252 specialist officers have been flown home from the G8 summit to the capital.
4.35pm: The Union Flag flying over Buckingham Palace is lowered to half mast, at the Queen's request, in a mark of respect for the dead and injured.
3.26pm: Police confirm at least 33 dead in the attacks. Seven died in the first blast at Liverpool Street Station, 21 at King's Cross/ Russell Square and five at Edgware Road station in an explosion involving three trains. There were also at least two deaths in a bus blast in Upper Woburn Square, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick says.
3.04pm: Royal London Hospital, near Liverpool Street Station, said it had received 183 patients from two of the incidents. Eight were critically injured, including one brought in with cardiac arrest. Six people were being operated on.
2.48pm: Euston and Paddington stations re-open.
2.44pm: University College Hospital confirms it has dealt with 49 casualties. Of these, four are critical injuries, five serious and 40 minor.
2.00pm: Brian Paddick, Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, said an initial estimate was of 150 people seriously injured and "many more" walking wounded.
1.40pm: The Queen says the events have "deeply shocked us all".
1.35pm:Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, told a sombre House that the London Underground was closed and would remain so.
1.07pm: Tony Blair reads a joint statement from G8 leaders saying it was "not an attack on one nation but on all nations". He later leaves Gleneagles and heads back to the capital.
1.03pm: Brian Paddick, the Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner, says about 150 people had been seriously injured in the blasts.
12.32pm: Italian news agency reports that the "Secret Group of al-Qa'eda's Jihad in Europe", a previously unknown group, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
12.16pm: Emergency services are called to Leicester Square Underground station, the Ambulance service says.
12.10pm: The Prime Minister says it is "reasonably clear" that the explosions were the result of terrorism
11.51am: St Mary's Hospital says it had received four critically injured patients, eight seriously hurt and 14 with minor injuries
11.38am: Police confirm two fatalities at Aldgate.
11.36am: Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner, says there is evidence of explosives at one of the emergency sites.
11.16am: Sir Ian adds there had been at least six explosions.
11.12am: Charing Cross Road in central London is cordoned off after a report of a suspect package at a bus stop.
11.08am: Central London bus services suspended, says Transport for London.
11.02am: Mr Clarke reveals there have been "terrible injuries" and confirms that the Cobra civil emergencies committee of senior ministers has met.
10.54am: Mr Clarke says the Prime Minister was being kept informed and advises people in London not to make unnecessary journeys.
10.24am: Scotland Yard confirm explosion on bus at Tavistock Place, near Russell Square. Union officials say there have been reports of explosions on three buses.
10.13am: Union officials says there has been at least one explosive device on the Underground.
10.12am: "Quite a large number of casualties" at Aldgate Station, police say.
10.08am: Reports of an explosion on a bus at Russell Square. Witnesses say the explosion happened at 9.47am.
9.53am: First Great Western says its London's Paddington services are terminating at Reading.
9.51am: Scotland Yard declares a major incident.
9.49am: Metronet says the whole Tube network is being shut down.
9.47am: At least two people die when an explosion tears through the back of the number 30 Hackney to Marble Arch bus at the junction of Woburn Square and Tavistock Place.
9.46am: British Transport Police reports explosions on the Underground at Aldgate, Edgware Road, King's Cross, Old Street and Russell Square.
9.33am: London Underground reports a second "incident" at Edgware Road station in northwest London.
9.31am: Police confirm the closure of Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations, and "walking wounded" at Aldgate.
9.28am: Metronet, which is responsible for maintaining the Metropolitan line, says the incident was caused "by some kind of power surge", but the National Grid said there had been no reports of problems.
9.17am: Five people killed in an explosion at Edgware Road Underground station. Police said later a blast ripped through a carriage, a wall and into two other trains.
9.15am: First reports of emergency services called to Liverpool Street Station.
8.56am: At least 21 people are killed following a blast on the Underground close to Russell Square and King's Cross stations.
8.51am: Seven people are killed in an explosion on a Circle or Central line train 100 yards from Liverpool Street Underground station.
BRITAIN SEES HALLMARKS OF AL QAEDA IN ATTACKS
By Timothy Heritage
July 8, 2005
(Releads with Britain taking al Qaeda claim seriously)
LONDON -- British police hunting bombers who killed dozens of people in four rush-hour blasts in London are taking seriously a claim of responsibility by a group declaring links to al Qaeda, the government said on Friday.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the coordinated blasts in trains and a bus bore "the hallmarks of an al Qaeda-related attack," and the interior minister said investigators were examining a statement by a previously unknown group calling itself the "Secret Group of al Qaeda's Jihad in Europe."
"The Web site claim is a serious one, so we will look at that very closely but we haven't eliminated any alternative explanations. We're looking at everything very widely," Charles Clarke told Sky News television a day after the explosions.
The attacks were the deadliest in the British capital in peacetime and occurred as the Group of Eight (G8) top industrialized countries held a summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.
Police said they received no warning of the attacks. Britain backed the war in Iraq, and London had been on high alert since the Islamic militant al Qaeda groups Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Many Londoners went to work, some on foot, some in buses and others on the underground rail network -- "the Tube" -- which resumed partial services on Friday.
"What happened yesterday was terrible but it won't make me act any differently and I think most people in London feel the same way," said Moses Abaju, 56, as he waited in Dalston, northeast London, for a number 30 bus.
Three of the explosions tore through busy underground trains and the fourth ripped the roof off a red double-decker bus. Police gave a provisional death toll of 37 but Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he was told 52 people were killed.
The attacks wounded 700 people and shut down the Tube network which carries 3 million passengers a day. Police urged commuters to consider whether to come to work on Friday, fearing more chaos on the transport system.
"The possibility of suicide bombings is being considered as is every other possible detonation," Clarke, the home secretary, said.
"The key thing is getting forensics from the scenes of crime to try and understand how these bombs were detonated (and) who put them there."
Financial markets initially fell sharply after the blasts. But oil prices recovered to near $61 on Friday as analysts said the attacks were expected to have a limited impact on the global economy and oil demand.
Sterling hit a fresh 19-month low against the dollar on Friday.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission warned London Muslims to stay at home, fearing a backlash against the community. The Muslim Council of Britain, which represents 1.6 million Muslims, called for prayers for the victims.
"We know that these people act in the name of Islam," British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Thursday, but declined to speculate who was behind the attacks.
Thursday's scenes of shocked and bloodied commuters were in stark contrast to the jubilant crowds who took to the streets on Wednesday after London was awarded the 2012 Olympic Games.
Police said seven people were killed on an underground train near Liverpool Street, 21 were confirmed dead in another near King's Cross and seven died at Edgware Road. At least two passengers on the bus were killed.
Italy's interior minister said all Europe was on alert. The United States raised its terrorism threat level to "high" and France drafted in extra troops to tighten security.
Security analysts said it was far too early to apportion blame to the intelligence community over the attacks, which some suspected was the work of a small, autonomous group of local militants inspired by al Qaeda.
Britain's Guardian newspaper said intelligence chiefs had reduced the threat level from al Qaeda only last month.
A senior U.S. intelligence official, who asked not to be identified, said the United States had detected no indication an attack had been imminent in London.
"We do have intelligence . . . that al Qaeda is trying to carry out such attacks in Europe as well as in the homeland here against targets such as this," he told reporters, referring to mass transport.
(Additional reporting by London bureau)