Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Clash of Civilizations: "London Likes Fish'n'Chips, yeh?"

c'mon...

that first bombing wasn't a steak...

it was a chip...

and you can't have just one...


(...)

and it's freakin' europe...

i mean...

half of them are in the E.U...

i mean...

they call their "fries" chips...

i mean...

they even eat them with mayo...

i mean...

look what happened in spain...

now...

that was a big enchilada...

and...

and the espanolish people flipped out...

and...

then they got out of iraq...


(...)

oops...

(...)

aw heck...

who're we kidding...

you've been to a convenience store...

you know it ain't hard to sell chips...


(...)

Yahoo! News

Two Arrested in London Subway, Bus Blasts

By DANICA KIRKA,
Associated Press Writer
50 minutes ago

LONDON - Police in London have arrested two men in connection with four attacks on three subway trains and a double-decker bus on Thursday, a scene hauntingly similar to deadly explosions set off by four suicide bombers exactly two weeks before. It was an inescapable message that life in London now means living with the threat of terror.

The explosive devices were either faulty or too small to cause bloodshed, and the only reported injury turned out to be an asthma attack. But the lunch-hour blasts rattled a capital already on edge after the July 7 explosions, which killed 52 people and four suicide bombers.

Police said one man was detained near Downing Street, site of the prime minister's residence; the other was picked up near Tottenham Court Road, close to the Warren Street subway station where one attack took place.

"We can't minimize incidents such as this," Prime Minister Tony Blair said. "They're done to scare people, to frighten them and make them worried."

They did that.

Authorities said it was too early to determine whether the attacks were carried out by the same organization as the July 7 blasts — or whether they were linked to al-Qaida.

But NBC News reported that British authorities told their U.S. counterparts that backpacks and explosives used Thursday were identical to those in the July 7 attacks. And the British Broadcasting Corp. reported "speculation" that the devices were so similar they may even have been part of the same batch.

"Clearly, the intention must have been to kill," Police Commissioner Ian Blair told reporters. "You don't do this with any other intention. And I think the important point is that the intention of the terrorists has not been fulfilled."

Londoners fled the three Underground stations at midday, some sprinting barefoot after leaving their shoes behind in the scramble.

Witnesses on the Underground heard a pop like a bursting champagne cork. Others smelled an odor like burning rubber. At least one reported a minor explosion in a man's backpack, and then the man muttering that something had gone wrong.

Bus passengers reported a bang on the upper level, where windows were blown out. But some witnesses said the blast wasn't loud. Witnesses first saw the police running up the road, followed soon after by news cameramen lugging tripods.

The prime minister appealed for calm, and a Buckingham Palace garden party for 8,000 people, hosted by Queen Elizabeth II, went ahead.

But even among the famously stoic British, nerves were on edge.

"When I got home, my hands were shaking," said 24-year-old Lisa Chilley, who uses the targeted Oval station. "I'm panicking like hell. It's just too close to home."

Firefighters and police with bomb-sniffing dogs sealed off city blocks and evacuated rows of restaurants, pubs and offices.

Britain's Press Association news agency reported detectives were working on the belief that the bombs were not properly primed — which could help explain the limited damage.

Although authorities did not say how many devices exploded, Paul Beaver, an independent defense expert, said an official told him it appeared that two bombs detonated and two others did not. Detonators are often faulty on commercial and military explosives, he said.

"These attacks don't look like they were a hallmark of any one group," Beaver told The Associated Press. "They don't fit into any clear patterns that we know of except they were timed."

One of the greatest police fears is that an audacious attack will inspire similar attacks, said Rachel Bronson, director of Mideast Studies at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "It's all done to sow terror, and there's nothing more terrifying than bombs followed by bombs," she said.

Alarmingly, it appears the group was able to attack in the midst of an intense investigation of the previous bus and train bombings. Often such follow-up attacks are uncovered and thwarted, Bronson said.

"What is very worrisome, London intelligence, which is among the best in the world, was not only surprised two weeks ago, but they're surprised by this," she said.

Emergency teams were sent to the three Underground stations after the attacks, and the police commissioner said forensic evidence collected could provide a "significant break."

In one closely watched development, an armed police unit entered University College hospital shortly after the blasts. Sky News TV reported that police were searching for a man with a blue shirt with wires protruding from his pocket. Officers asked employees to look for a black or South Asian man about 6-foot-2.

By late Thursday, the hospital said police had searched the facility but that three small rooms in an unoccupied part of the complex were cordoned off.

The attacks paralleled the July 7 blasts, which involved explosions at three Underground stations simultaneously starting at 8:50 a.m., followed about an hour later by a bomb going off on a bus. Those bombings took place in the center of London.

Thursday's attacks were more spread out and occurred during the lunch hour — beginning at about 12:38 p.m.

The bombs, which targeted trains near the Warren Street, Oval and Shepherd's Bush stations, did not shut down the subway system, only three of its lines. The bus was hit while on Hackney Road in east London.

Near the bus explosion, firefighters and police, some with bomb-sniffing dogs, sealed off a city block of restaurants, shops and apartments. Residents peered through the curtains of upper floor windows, speaking on cell phones.

With fear spreading to other capitals, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said authorities would begin conducting random searches of packages and backpacks carried by people entering the subway.

But Transport for London, which runs the British capital's bus and transport network, rejected such measures. Spokesman Steve Taylor said it would be impractical to check bags or install airport-style metal detectors and X-ray machines. London buses and subways carry 9 million passengers a day.

"We are running a massive transport infrastructure," he told the AP. "Would people accept an additional 30 to 40 minutes on their journey every morning and afternoon? It would bring the network to a standstill."

Dozens of people living near the attacks were unable to return home by late Thursday evening, and police set up reception areas to help them.

Among those affected was Eileen Moreland, 91, who has lived since 1950 in an apartment complex above Warren Street station.

"I'm feeling a bit shaky because I haven't been very well and I find it difficult to walk," she said.

For some commuters, the new closures would hardly matter. Fethi Brandou, 36-year-old gardener, said he'd be reluctant to take the Underground again_ no matter what.

"I wouldn't take the Tube now," he said. "I'll buy a bicycle or walk."
___

Associated Press writers Thin Lei Win, Kate Bouey, Brian Murphy, Beth Gardiner, Jason Keyser, Jill Lawless, Sarah Blaskovich and Michael McDonough in London contributed to this report.

SOURCE - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050722/ap_on_re_eu/britain_underground;_ylt=ApXJk7uc1q4fa5p6Jl2D8LGs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

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