Another attempted multiple simultaneous bombing on the London transit system, which fortunately seems to have failed–but not without sparking another death on the Underground, this time at the hands of the police. (Remember when London “bobbies” famously didn’t carry guns?) And now police are conducting random searches on the New York subways. (NYT, July 22) A press release from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) protests the policy as unconstitutional (thank goodness!), but doesn’t say they will challenge it in court. From TruthOut:
Police Shoot Man in London Subway a Day after Bomb Attempts
By Alan Cowell
The New York Times
Friday 22 July 2005
London – One day after four attempted bombings on London’s transport system, police officers fatally shot a man at a subway station today, authorities said.
A witness told the BBC the man had been pursued by plain clothes police offers who fired five shots at close range.
A police statement, carried by the Press Association news agency, said: “We can confirm that just after 10 a.m. armed officers entered Stockwell Tube station. A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot. London Ambulance Service attended the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene.”
The shooting deepened a sense of nervousness, anger and uncertainty in the city after two days of bomb attacks the first on July 7, when 56 people died including four suspected bombers, and the second on Thursday, just two weeks later.
The police did not confirm television reports that the dead man was suspected of being one of the assailants who attempted to set off explosives on three subway trains and a double-decker bus on Wednesday.
A passenger at Stockwell station, Briony Coetsee, told the Press Association: “We were on the tube when we suddenly heard someone say “get out, get out” and then we heard gunshots someone was shooting.”
Other witnesses said a man leaped over the barriers at the station pursued by plainclothes officers. Several witnesses said police caught up with the man and pushed him to the ground. Police did not immediately offer a detailed account.
Stockwell station is in the same area south of the Thames River as Oval station, one of the targets of Thursday’s attacks.
Two subway lines the Victoria and Northern lines were suspended after the shooting, plunging London’s transport system once more into chaos.
During Thursday’s attacks, assailants with explosives struck at three subway trains and a double-decker bus, but the bombs failed to explode, and no one was hurt.
The lunchtime attacks, were “pretty close to simultaneous,” said Sir Ian Blair, the chief of the Metropolitan Police.
Senior police officials and witnesses reported that after the bombs had failed to detonate, the bombers then abandoned their backpacks and fled from the scene. The officials said it was only the detonators on the devices that went off, making sounds like firecrackers. The unexploded devices could provide important clues to the identity of the attackers; two British officials said they believed the explosives contained the same materials as the earlier bombs.
No one was wounded, officials said, though one person sought treatment for an asthma attack. “The intention must have been to kill,” Sir Ian said, “and I think the important point is that the intention of the terrorists has not been fulfilled.”