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Boston Globe Article

An extract of an article where Mr Simon Thompson is referenced in the Boston Globe:

Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company

                             The Boston Globe

 

                    July  8, 2005, Friday  THIRD EDITION

 

 

 

 

SECTION: NATIONAL/FOREIGN; Pg. A1

 

LENGTH: 1509 words

 

HEADLINE: 'OUR RESOLVE WILL HOLD'

BLAIR CALLS FOR UNITY AFTER TRANSIT ATTACKS IN LONDON LEAVE 37 DEAD, 700

HURT

 

BYLINE: By Charles M. Sennott and Sarah Liebowitz, Globe staff and Globe

correspondent

 

 

 

 BODY:

   LONDON The British government said yesterday that a series of

coordinated bombings that struck the transport network in the heart of the

British capital during the morning rush hour bore all the "hallmarks of Al

Qaeda." The attacks killed at least 37 people and injured 700.

 

 

      With no arrests and only an unconfirmed claim of responsibility,

police combed the wreckage of three London Underground trains and a bus for

forensic evidence. They also studied tapes from surveillance cameras at

almost every platform and entry to the Underground and throughout the

streets of the capital.

 

 

           Just before 9 a.m. local time, three consecutive explosions in

the span of 26 minutes rocked three trains. At 9:47 a.m., near an area

packed with hotels and the British Museum, a fourth bomb ripped through one

of London's famed, red double-decker buses.

 

 

      The New York Times reported today that investigators said that the

three bombs used in the subway attacks apparently were detonated by timers,

not suicide bombers, and that a fourth device may have been intended for a

target other than the city bus it destroyed.

 

 

      The attacks sent commuters streaming out of the subway, their faces

streaked with soot and blood. Some survivors carried severely wounded

fellow passengers to safety.

 

 

   The subway and bus system, which together handle 8.4 million passenger

trips a day, were closed all day because of fears of further attacks. By

last evening some bus service had resumed, but it was unclear when the

subway would reopen and police urged workers to stay home today.

 

 

      Prime Minister Tony Blair, hosting the Group of Eight summit in

Scotland, rushed to London from the gathering of world leaders for several

hours to assess the attack. In a televised appeal for unity from the

capital, he praised the "stoicism and resilience of the British people" and

said an investigation was underway to bring those responsible to justice.

 

 

   "We know that these people act in the name of Islam. But we also know

that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims here and abroad are

decent, law-abiding people who abhor this act of terrorism as much as we

do," he said. But Blair declared that Britain "will not be intimidated.

When they seek to change our country or our way of life by these methods,

we will not be changed," he said. "When they try to divide our people and

weaken our resolve, we will not be divided and our resolve will hold firm."

 

 

   Following the attacks, the United States raised its terror alert level

to orange, or high, for the nation's mass transit systems. The level calls

on federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and appropriate armed

forces to coordinate security efforts.

 

 

   President Bush remained in Gleneagles, Scotland, with other world

leaders and expressed a collective resolve to confront international

terrorism. "The war on terror goes on," he said.

 

 

   Investigators said they were searching for evidence that could determine

whether suicide bombers were involved in yesterday's attacks.

 

 

   After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States and the train

bombings in Madrid in March 2004, British counterterrorism officials had

warned with varying levels of intensity that the country was vulnerable to

such an attack. Following the general election in May, British authorities

reduced the threat level when a feared terrorist attack did not

materialize.

 

 

   Even if the United Kingdom was collectively shocked yesterday, it seemed

far from surprised.

 

 

   Steve Cook, 36, a truck driver, was trying to make a delivery to a

business in the central London transportation hub known as King's Cross,

just after one of the blasts rocked a subway tunnel underground.

 

 

   "We've been expecting it. We just didn't know when it would happen,"

Cook said amid the chaos and the wailing sirens of police and emergency

vehicles. "I guess it's just our way of life now."

 

 

   An Islamic militant website posted a statement from a previously

unidentified group claiming affiliation with Al Qaeda, declaring that it

was behind the attacks. Police said they could not confirm the existence of

the group, which called itself the Secret Organization of Al Qaeda in

Europe.

 

 

      But Britain's foreign secretary, Jack Straw, said the highly

coordinated bombing attacks seemed to bear "all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda."

British counterterrorism experts pointed out that Al Qaeda has become more

diffuse and fractured, and that the attacks were more likely to have been

made by a locally based group, like the one that carried out the attacks in

Madrid, than by Al Qaeda directly.

 

 

      The Islamic Human Rights Commission issued a plea for Muslims in

London to stay off the streets for their own safety.

 

 

   "The Islamic Human Rights Commission utterly condemns this attack, but

now we appeal that there should be no further victims as a result of

reprisals," said Massoud Shadjareh, an organization leader.

 

 

      Brian Paddick, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan

Police also known as Scotland Yard, said at a press conference that no

arrests had been made and that no warnings or claims of responsibility had

been directly received.

 

 

   Citing British counterterrorism forces' extensive investigations and

arrests of suspected terrorists in the last four years, Paddick added: "At

the end of the day, it is not possible to 100 percent secure the capital

against these kinds of people intent on carrying out these kinds of

attacks."

 

 

   Hours before the attacks yesterday, London awoke to newspapers splashed

with the good news that the city had been selected to host the 2012 Olympic

Games. There was also an air of optimism and confidence after the

London-centered Live 8 concerts and the start of the G-8 summit in which

Blair was leading an international effort to provide more aid to Africa and

do more to reduce global warming.

 

 

   But during the rush hour, London found itself face to face with horror

and mayhem in a downtown packed with commuters and foreign visitors at the

height of the summer tourism season.

 

 

   Survivors emerged from subway stations looking dazed, with their faces

blackened by soot. Many of the severely injured were treated on the street

by emergency medical workers before being taken to area hospitals. Scores

of the wounded were seated on the streets wrapped in silver heat blankets

while receiving treatment for shock.

 

 

   At Tavistock Square in downtown London lay the wreckage of the

bombed-out, red double-decker bus with its roof ripped back like a tin of

sardines.

 

 

       Simon Thompson,  28, a senior house officer at the National Hospital

for Neurology and Neurosurgery, helped tend to the wounded. He said that as

he entered the subway station at  Russell Square,  he saw "loads of people

walking around with limbs missing."

 

 

      "It was like a battlefield,"  Thompson  said.

 

 

   But there was little in the way of panic, according to witnesses, and

the police and emergency services moved quickly to implement a

well-coordinated and well-rehearsed response.

 

 

   Michael Feely, 49, a tourist from upstate New York visiting London with

his daughter, his son-in-law, and their three children, said they were

walking toward Tavistock Square when they heard a loud explosion. "We saw

the bus blow up. We saw the debris fly two stories up in the air," Feely

said.

 

 

      Two Tennessee sisters vacationing in London, Kathleen and Emily

Benton, were among the subway riders injured in the explosions and were

hospitalized, their father said. Dudley Benton told the Associated Press he

had talked to their doctors and was told his daughters would recover.

 

 

      Britain, which knows terrorism all too intimately after enduring an

Irish Republican Army bombing campaign that became a grim fixture of life

for a generation, had never seen such a devastating terrorist attack on its

own soil. The toll in yesterday's attack surpassed that of the 1998 bombing

in Omagh, Northern Ireland, by an IRA dissident group, which killed 29

people.

 

 

      Many London residents yesterday were quick to display the same steely

sense of resolve that allowed Britons to endure the German Blitz during

World War II.

 

 

   Yaron Silberberg, 28, a student at University College, London, comes

from Tel Aviv, where he said he narrowly survived a waterfront cafe bombing

two years ago. "Back home this happens all the time," Silberberg said,

surveying the scene at  Russell Square.  "Now London reminds me of home."

 

 

   In Scotland, the British Union Jack flew at half staff over the

Gleneagles Hotel. World leaders, police, and reporters huddled around

televisions to watch coverage of the attacks. Before Blair left to return

to London, he stood flanked by the other seven heads of the world's most

industrialized nations as well as other world leaders and UN Secretary

General Kofi Annan.

 

 

   In a statement on behalf of all the participants, Blair said the

bombings were "not an attack on one nation but on all nations and on

civilized people everywhere."

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