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July 21, 2005

JEEZ, I CAN'T EVEN GO TO THE GYM without some Al Qaeda bozos trying to blow up London. Luckily, this week's effort seems pretty lame so far compared to two weeks ago:

Exactly two weeks after four suicide bombers wreaked havoc in the London rush hour, parts of the capital were brought to a standstill today by a spate of apparent copycat attacks on three Tube trains and a London bus.

Emergency services were called out to incidents at three stations, including a reported nailbomb attack at Warren Street station.

A British Transport Police spokeswoman said Warren Street, Shepherd's Bush and Oval stations had all been evacuated. An explosion was also reported on a No 26 bus at Hackney in East London, blowing out the windows but not causing any injuries.

Only one person is so far reported to have been injured, at Shepherd's Bush.

The Times is calling these "copycat attacks," suggesting that they're not real Al Qaeda efforts, I guess, though I don't know how they know that yet. Sky News is reporting that British police are in hot pursuit of one of the bombers, apparently a suicide bomber whose bomb didn't go off. We'll know a lot more if he's captured.

Tim Worstall has much more.

UPDATE: There's lots more on the Guardian blog, including this:

It is now becoming clear that there were three attempted bombings today - at Oval station, at Warren Street station, and on a 26 bus in Hackney. Speculation suggests the detonators on these devices went off, but the bombs themselves did not.

This suggests amateurism, or a substantial degradation of Al Qaeda capabilities.

The Counterterrorism Blog has much more.

More here, too.

And here's the BBC Reporters' Log. Latest:

The undercurrent in these police statements is that these might have been much more serious incidents, that these might have been serious bombs which might not have gone off properly.

The concern is that this could have turned out to be another serious attack on London.

Happily, it didn't. Brian Erst emails:

One reason that the bombs may have "failed" in London this morning, provided they actually did fail, may be that these were timed explosives rather than suicide bombs.

There has been much speculation that the four bombers of 7/7 were unaware of their own impending doom, having been told that the bombs they were going to explode were actually on timers when, in fact, they were not. Presumably, this is the type of deception that works only once.

It may be that today's wave of attackers actually did use (and insisted on checking) timers, and that these timers simply failed to work. In which case, the attacks were no less "sophisticated" than 7/7 - to the contrary, they were MORE sophisticated (to let the bomber live to bomb another day), but failed as a result of bad implementation of that plan.

Interesting point. We'll see.