London was hit by a wave of what appear to be terrorist attacks this morning -- at least three explosions on Tube trains and a fourth on a bus, according to Britain's Home Secretary Charles Clarke. While there are only two confirmed deaths so far, reports from witnesses suggest that the death toll will rise sharply as the day goes on.
Security analysts said the explosions -- coming simultaneously and apparently aimed at causing maximum fear and confusion -- fit the pattern of an al Qaida attack. Prime Minister Tony Blair said that it was "reasonably clear" that the explosions were the work of terrorists, and that they were timed to coincide with the beginning of the G-8 summit in Scotland. "Whatever [terrorists] do, it is our determination that they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilized nations throughout the world," Blair said as he prepared to leave the summit for London this morning.
The White House says that George W. Bush will remain in Scotland through the close of the G-8 summit. The president held press conference with Blair in Scotland just before the explosions hit this morning, but terrorism wasn't on the agenda then: Bush joked about his bike crash yesterday and talked about the "faux pas" he'd made the day before, when he referred to a female Reuters reporter as "Reuters man, Toby." After the news of the blasts reached Scotland, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, Bush held a video conference call with members of his National Security Council and officials from the Department of Homeland Security.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security told Reuters that the agency has seen no evidence that a similar attack is planned here. "The Department of Homeland Security does not have any intelligence indicating this type of attack is planned in the United States," Katy Montgomery said. "However, I would just also say that we constantly evaluate both the threat information as well as our protective measures."