Fear of More Attacks |
Britain on highest ever alert
Church of England warns against scapegoating Muslims
Britain is on its highest ever state of alert amid fears of more attacks such as those which killed at least 52 people on London's transport system last week, The Times newspaper said yesterday.
Security services, military and police were on "severe specific" alert, suggesting that authorities had precise intelligence of more attacks, the paper said.
The report came with government and security forces under pressure after it emerged in the hours following the bombings that the alert level had been dropped a notch below maximum.
Meantime, Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned last week's bomb attacks in London as a "murderous carnage of the innocent" yesterday and vowed Britain would hunt down the suspected Islamist militants responsible.
Blair said the search for the attackers who killed at least 52 people on three underground trains and a double-decker bus was one of the most intense and vigorous the country had known.
"We express our revulsion at this murderous carnage of the innocent," Blair told a hushed House of Commons in his first comments to parliament about the bombings.
"We will pursue those responsible -- not just the perpetrators but the planners of this outrage -- wherever they are and we will not rest until they are identified and as far as is humanly possible brought to justice," he said.
In another development, the spiritual leader of the Church of England, Rowan Williams, warned yesterday against making Muslims "scapegoats" for the London bombings after a number of attacks on mosques.
Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told the General Synod in the northern English city of York that Muslims must not be made "scapegoats" for the terror attacks.
The archbishop said that a day of visits to Islamic institutions Monday was an opportunity to stress the routine nature of friendly relations between Muslims and Christians across Britain.
These were sentiments "we shall all need to be heard saying quite a lot in days ahead, when the temptation to scapegoat our Muslim neighbours may be strong for some in our communities," he added.
British intelligence believes the bombers did not die in the blasts on three Underground trains and a London bus but survived to plot further outrages.
Investigations in the three days since the attacks suggest parallels with last year's train bombings in Madrid, which killed 191 people.
On that occasion four trains were targeted in three railway stations, the explosions going off within minutes of one another, just as in London, in highly coordinated attacks.
British detectives are investigating the likelihood that the bombers all assembled at King's Cross, a central hub on the network, and then dispersed to create mayhem on the Circle and Piccadilly lines.
Investigators are examining closed circuit television footage of the stations hit and have also appealed for passengers to send in any mobile telephone video or still images they may have to add to the, in some cases, spectacular existing footage which some passengers took within seconds of the devices going off.
The Times quoted a senior intelligence source as saying that it was believed the bombers traveled into King's Cross together before splitting up.
After the attack on the number 30 bus near King's Cross, which came 56 minutes following the initial train blast, some passengers spoke of seeing a man behaving suspiciously and fiddling with a rucksack minutes before an explosion ripped off the vehicles' roof.
That sparked rumours the man could have been a suicide bomber, but no evidence has surfaced to back the claim.