Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for London blasts

Al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for blasts in London. According to the German Spiegel, "Secret organization - al-Qaida in Europe" called the Islamic community to free themselves in a statement published on an Islamists' site.

The terrorists claim, that they have warned the UK earlier, and that today's blasts are a "military counter-operation." The terrorists also threaten Danish and Italian governments, as well as other countries, and urge them to withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

London closed its subway system and evacuated all stations after explosions occurred in least one location on the network, and three buses exploded in central London earlier Thursday.

Italy's European commissioner called a series of explosions in London a terrorist strike against Europe, reports the AP.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that it was "reasonably clear" that terrorists were behind a series of explosions in London and called the attacks "barbaric."

A visibly shaken Blair said there were deaths and injuries, but gave no casualty figure. "It is reasonably clear that there has been a series of terrorist attacks in London," Blair said. "There are obviously casualties, both people that have died and people that are seriously injured."

He said the attacks clearly were timed with the opening of the G8 summit in Scotland, but said the gathering would continue despite his temporary departure to London. He planned to return to Scotland later Thursday.

Israel was not warned about possible terror attacks in London before at least six blasts ripped through the city, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Thursday.

A Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said earlier that British police warned the Israeli Embassy in London of possible terror attacks minutes before the first explosion.

"There was no early information about terrorist attacks," Shalom told Israel Army Radio. "After the first explosion an order was given that no one move until things become clear. "

Israel was holding an economic conference in a hotel over the subway stop where one of the blasts occurred. Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was supposed to attend the conference, but "after the first explosion our finance minister received a request not to go anywhere," Shalom said.

The explosions caused officials to shut down the entire bus and underground transport network. They came a day after London was awarded the 2012 Olympics.

Sky News showed a picture of a mangled red bus with its top collapsed, and police said they suspected a bomb caused the explosion. Bloodied and bandaged witnesses reported panicked crowds fleeing as the blast rained glass and other debris onto the street.

BBC TV broadcast footage of a paramedic trying to revive one of the wounded, pumping the chest of his bloodied and blackened body.

"There have been a number of dreadful incidents across London today," said Home Secreatary Charles Clarke, Britain's top law enforcement officer. He said there were "terrible injuries."

Police said they had reports of at least two deaths and nine people injured in six blasts. But the toll was certain to rise - officials at the Royal London Hospital told BBC that 95 injured had been brought into that hospital alone.

Photo: AP

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