At leastÃ‚Â 2 peopleÃ‚Â have been killed in a series of explosions that rocked the British capitol of London on Thursday morning, aÃ‚Â ccording to the BBC news website.
Blasts occurred between Aldgate East and Liverpool Street tube stations, between Russell Square and King’s Cross tube stations, at Edgware Road tube station, and on a double-decker bus at Tavistock Square.
An organization claiming to be affiliated with Al Qaeda took responsibility for the attacks, saying that they were launched to avenge Britain’s involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
At least 123 of the wounded were released from hospitals, as they suffered only minor injuries.
Sources at St Mary’s Hospital said it was dealing with 26 injured people, including four with critical injuries and eight in a serious condition, reported the BBC.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was ‘reasonably clear’ the explosions were designed to coincide with the opening of the G8, and described the attack as Ã¢â‚¬Å“barbaricÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Blair flew to London to hear a briefing about the attacks on Thursday, and returned to Gleneagles to continue the G8 summit sessionsÃ‚Â later thatÃ‚Â evening.
Netanyahu stopped on way to a London hotel for a conference
Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on his way to a London hotel when the explosionsÃ‚Â occurred, Israeli diplomatic sources reported.
Netanyahu was the scheduled keynote speaker at a conference on Israeli corporate investment. The conference took placeÃ‚Â at a hotel close to the Liverpool Street subway station, where one of the explosions occurred, said Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom.
‘After the first explosion, our finance minister received a request not to go anywhere,’ Shalom told Israel Army Radio.
The blasts caused panic in London, which led LondonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s police chief, Sir Ian Blair, toÃ‚Â askÃ‚Â LondonersÃ‚Â to stay wherever they were and not to call the emergency services unless there was a life-threatening situation.
He reassured the public that an emergency plan was in place and the situation was ‘steadily coming under control’.
The attacks also caused traffic delays in the underground network in the capitol city.
All London Underground services were suspended indefinitely, and bus services in central London were also halted.
The BBC news website described the blasts as massive, despite the low number of reported deaths. Some sources reported that 45 were killed and at least 1000 injured in the blasts.
Several eyewitnesses confirmed that the bus at Tavistock Square was ripped apart and flew in the air.
Belinda Seabrook, one of the survivors told BBC, ‘I was on the bus in front and heard an incredible bang, I turned round and half the double-decker bus was in the air.’
‘It was a massive explosion and there were papers and half a bus flying through the air, I think it was the number 205,’ she said.
‘There must be a lot of people dead as all the buses were packed, they had been turning people away from the Tube stops.’
Loyita Worley, another survivor, said she was on the underground train when an explosion took place in the next carriage, while it was in a tunnel.
The 49-year-old told the BBC: ‘All the lights went out and the train came to an immediate halt. There was smoke everywhere and everyone was coughing and choking, but remained calm. We couldn’t open the doors.’