As most of you will already have heard, there was a series of explosions today on London buses and on London underground trains. I usually take the tube into work, not far from where one of the buses exploded, but on Thursdays, thank G-d, I go into work late. All transport services into London have been suspended, hence I'm (thankfully) stuck at home home and can blog about it...
A few initial points:
- Our thoughts and prayers are of course with those who have been injured, or worse, and their families.
- The word 'terrorism' is only beginning to be used on the airwaves. The bus blasts only occured quite a while after the Underground incidents, and until they happened, everyone thought the tube explosions were the result of an 'electrical surge.' What actually happened on the underground is still very sketchy.
- What's really remarkable, especially after watching dozens if not hundreds of terror attacks covered in Israel, is how calm everyone seems to be -- on tv and on the streets. There are no pictures of people being evacuated, of injured people, of dead people, of angry people -- just lots of talking heads. There are reports of casualties but so far, no one is talking about numbers, or talking about dead at all -- which I find astonishing. I actually wish they would show more pictures from the scenes as Londoners have been way too complacent about terrorism, about the threats in our midst. This should not be played down.
- Whodunnit? The question is whether this is an al Qaida action, as seems likely, or whether it's somehow related to the G8 (of-course, that also makes it good timing for a-Q).
- Bus blasts -- London has a history of terrorist attacks on trains thanks to the IRA, but not on bombings on buses. This is new.
- Anyone who didn't see this coming is an idiot. It was always a case of 'when,' not 'if,' and the only surprise is that it came so late. The police (who were not complacent, it must be said) already prevented a number of large attacks, including on planes coming into Heathrow, a dirty bomb being built near Brent Cross. But in a sense they were victims of their own success -- people who talked about terrorism attacks here, and the government trying to bring in anti-terrorism measures, were accused of being alarmist, making a mountain out of a molehill, etc.
- The calls for us to exit Iraq haven't begun yet. It's a matter of hours...
- Jews who were scared to go to Israel during the Intifada...... Already received a load of phonecalls from relatives in Israel making sure we're ok. Surreal.
UPDATE: It seems that one of the reasons there are very few pictures and no real reports from the Underground is that people have been trapped (perhaps between stations?) and that they're only beginning to bring up the people with serious injuries from the stations now. Some of the pictures now being shown are truly harrowing.