London Takes Second Terror Attack in its Stride
J. Sean Curtin (Fellow, GLOCOM and Asia Times)
Another wave of terrorist attacks has struck London just two weeks after the July 7 (7/7) attacks which killed 56 people. Despite the best efforts of the terrorists to murder as many people as possible, this time only one person was injured, and the capital took the outrage very much in its stride. There was absolutely no panic and people just calmly coped with the situation as best they could. Many, like the author, just continued to go about their daily business as usual. Londoners have demonstrated yet again that the terrorists will not defeat them and each attack will only strengthen their resolve to continue life as normal.
There was disruption to the transport system after the attacks, but unlike 7/7 most buses were unaffected and a large part of the subway system kept running as normal.
The author was on a Central Line train heading to Shepherd's Bush station at the time of the first explosion, about 12:25. The train stopped for a few minutes outside Shepherd's Bush station where the initial explosion was reported. After waiting about four minutes, the Central Line train continued on its way. Only the affected train line serving Shepherd's Bush station, the Hammersmith and City Line, was closed. No announcement of the bombing was made on the Central Line at the time and it was not until two hours later that this writer learnt he had been caught up in the terror attack.
The July 21 attacks were very similar to the 7/7 outrages, bombs were packed in rucksacks, targeting three subway trains and a bus almost simultaneously. According to security sources, the explosive used in the attacks was of the same home-made type as that used in the 7/7 bombings.
At this very early stage in the investigation, it appears that just the bombs' detonators exploded, but not the main explosive devices. Police speculate that an unstable batch of explosive meant the terrorist bombs failed to explode. This time around luck was on Londoners' side. Three terrorist suspects, would-be suicide bombers, were seen fleeing the incident scenes and several members of the pubic attempted to stop them. A massive manhunt has been launched and police hope to arrest the failed suicide bombers soon.
People took all the dramatic news in their stride and many delayed going home and instead visited a cafes, pubs or restaurants in the centre of town to easy the strain on rush hour traffic and unwind.
The city centre was full of life, and defiant laughter rang out all around. London will never submit to terrorism and its people have shown that the terrorists will not win.