"LONDON (AP) - Terror struck in the heart of London on Thursday as explosions ripped through three subway trains and blasted the roof off a crowded red double-decker bus. At least 37 people were killed and more than 700 wounded in the deadliest attack on the city since the blitz in World War II.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair blamed Islamic extremists and said the bombings were designed to coincide with the opening in Scotland of a G-8 summit of the world's most powerful leaders. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the bombings - which came the day after London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics - have the "hallmarks of an al-Qaida-related attack."
Police said there had been no warning and that the blasts at three subway stations went off within 26 minutes, starting at 8:51 a.m. in an Underground train just outside the financial district. Authorities initially blamed a power surge but realized it was a terror attack after the bus bombing near the British Museum at 9:47 a.m. - less than an hour after the first explosion.
Trapped passengers in the Underground railway threw themselves on the floor, some sobbing. As subway cars quickly filled with smoke, people used their umbrellas to try to break the windows so that they could get air. Passengers emerged from the Underground covered with blood and soot. On the street, in a light rain, buses ferried the wounded, and medics used a hotel as a hospital."
"Whatever they 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," said Blair.
A group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe" posted a claim of responsibility for the blasts, saying they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Web statement, republished on the site of the German magazine Der Spiegel, could not be immediately confirmed."
"Sir Ian Blair, London's police chief, said he was concerned the explosions were a coordinated attack but said he wouldn't speculate on who was responsible. He said officials had found indications of explosives at one of the sites.
Police reported "a number of fatalities" at one London subway station. "Things are still relatively confused," Superintendent John Morgan said.
Denying an earlier report, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said that Israel was not warned by Scotland Yard in advance of the blasts.
"We have been at a very high state of alert. Of course if there had been any kind of specific warnings we would have dealt with it," Blair said.
One witness, Darren Hall, said some passengers emerging from an evacuated subway station had soot and blood on their faces. He told BBC TV that he was evacuated along with others near the major King's Cross station and only afterward heard a blast.
Police confirmed an explosion destroyed a double-decker bus at Russell Square in central London.
Paul Woodrow, an official with the ambulance service, told reporters that rescue operations were ongoing and that "there are large numbers of casualties." Officials at the Royal London Hospital told BBC that 95 injured had been brought into that hospital alone."