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THE BOMBINGS IN LONDON

Terrorists Strike in London

At Least 38 Killed, 700 Wounded in Subway, Bus Blasts

July 08, 2005|John Daniszewski | Times Staff Writer

But some subway commuters said they had no choice. "I'm going to risk it because I have to get to work in the morning at 7 o'clock," said Hisham Changi, 20, a building manager. "I'm a little shaky about it, but I think it's going to be all right."

Authorities said that they were able to react smoothly to the disaster because they had been rehearsing for such an attack for years. "We are clearly shocked at what has happened today, but we are not surprised," Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick of the Metropolitan Police said.

Peter Watson, a freelance writer living in the Chelsea section of southwest London, attributed the relative calm in the city to its long experience with IRA bombings. Unlike Thursday's attack, however, IRA attacks usually were preceded by warnings, to minimize casualties.

"If you look at it as a coordinated attack on a number of Tube stations and the fact that it was carried out at the rush hour when it would kill and injure a lot of people, that is what Al Qaeda wants: a lot of people watching and a lot of people dead," said Paul Wilkinson, a professor of international relations specializing in terrorism.

"We are all so used to it with the IRA surprise attacks -- it's not something you dwell on, but you take it in your stride," said Shelley Craner, 35, a public relations worker from London's Maida Vale neighborhood. Thursday's bombings would not cause her to change her routine, she said.

"It means they've won if you do."

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Times staff writers Bettina Boxall, Sarah Price Brown, Ken Silverstein, Tracy Wilkinson Janet Stobart and special correspondent Vanora McWalters in London, and staff writers Sebastian Rotella in New York, Greg Miller in Washington and Alissa J. Rubin in Vienna contributed to this report.

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