Police shoot man in station after july 21 attack
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Police hunting London bombers shoot man in station
Fri Jul 22, 2005 12:16 PM BST
By Katherine Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - Police shot dead a man at a South London underground station on Friday as they hunted for bombers who struck London's transport network on Thursday.
"We can confirm that just after 10 a.m. armed officers entered Stockwell Tube station. A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot. London Ambulance Service attended the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene," police said.
Media reports said the man was a suspected suicide bomber. Transport Police said they had suspended services on the city's Northern and Victoria lines which run through Stockwell station.
"I saw them (police) offload five shots into the person on the floor," eyewitness Mark Whitby told BBC television. "I saw them kill a man."
Police cordoned off streets around the station and took witnesses to a nearby veterinary surgery for questioning.
Eyewitness Graham Eaves, who said he was travelling on the Victoria line northwards from Stockwell on Friday, said there was a strange smell that seemed to be coming from a smoking bag.
The attacks at Thursday lunchtime caused chaos but killed no one, in an apparently failed bid to repeat suicide bombings which killed 52 people two weeks earlier.
The Abu Hafs al Masri Brigade, an al-Qaeda-linked group which claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings, posted a statement on an Islamist Web site on Friday claiming it carried out Thursday's attacks.
As forensics experts searched the three underground trains and a double-decker bus hit by small, near-simultaneous explosions on Thursday, police were called to a series of security alerts across the south of the city.
At one stage armed police briefly surrounded a mosque in east London after a bomb scare.
They were also examining the remains of the devices that failed to detonate, in the hope of identifying the explosives and finding fingerprints or other clues that might lead them to the bomb-makers.
As the manhunt intensified, commuters got back onto buses and underground trains on Friday morning, saying they would continue their normal routines despite a second wave of attacks in two weeks.
"I would still get the tube. If your number is up, your number is up," said Elisa Blackborough, travelling to work at a bank in the city of London financial district.
Police have far more clues from the Thursday attacks, including the unexploded bombs, eye witness reports and CCTV footage, than they had after the July 7 suicide bombs that killed 52 commuters and the four bombers and wounded 700. But security experts warned that the attacks could continue.
"For determined terrorists one attack is never enough... you want to create a series so that there is a feeling that there is a campaign, there is a feeling that this will go on and on," said defence expert Michael Clarke from King's College, London.
Saudi Arabia's ambassador to London and former spy chief Prince Turki al Faisal said the attack bore the classic taint of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
Police also used the occasion to call for sweeping new powers, including being allowed to hold terrorism suspects for up to three months without charge.
The pound fell against the dollar and the euro after first reports of the shooting, while government bonds around the world edged higher on safe-haven buying.
UK shares fell, as did stock markets across Europe. The pan-European benchmark FTSEurofirst <.FTEU3> index dropped 0.4 percent, having been flat ahead of the latest London incident.
"There are concerns of a wider campaign under way and that is having a destabilising impact on the market," said Lena Komileva, market economist at interdealer broker Tullett Prebon.
Friday's newspapers focused on the "miraculous" escape by hundreds of commuters after the devices only partially detonated without causing any injuries.
"Our lucky day," said a banner headline in the Daily Mirror. "Four bombs, three trains, one bus, zero deaths."
Passengers on at least two of the trains told of would-be bombers fleeing after the explosions, which police said might have been detonators going off but failing to ignite a bomb.
The attacks appeared to be an attempt to copy the July 7 attacks, when four young British Muslims detonated rucksack bombs in three packed trains and a bus at morning rush hour.
Explosives experts said it was still unclear why the devices had failed to explode properly.
Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has rejected accusations that the invasion of Iraq has made Britain a target for Islamic militants, has appealed for calm.