Thursday, July 07, 2005

Scotland Yard warned of London blast

Scotland Yard received warnings of this morning's blast minutes before the occured but with enough time for British police to notify the Israeli Embassy.
Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of possible attacks, the official said. He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference.
The warnings were considered credible enough that the Israeli Finance Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, canceled his plans to attend an economic forum scheduled for a hotel atop one of the subways where blasts occurred.

Jesse's providing updated coverage at Pandagon, including a Muslim condemnation of the attacks. Mixter's Mix has a screen-shot of a letter supposedly from those claiming responsibility for the attack; the letter appeared on a site "trafficked" by al Qaeda. The letter and claims have not been verified, but Der Spiegel Online has provided a translation
"Rejoice, community of Muslims," the letter states. "The heroic mujahedeens today conducted an attack in London," it continues. All of Great Britain is now shaken and shocked, "in the north, the south, west and east." "We've warned the British government and the British people time and again," the letter adds. "We've kept our promise and have carried out a blessed military operation."

"We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all other crusader governments." We demand that all countries pull their troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, states the letter, which has been signed by the "Secret Organization -- al Qaida in Europe."
Bush also issued a statement in response to the attack:

I spent some time recently with the prime minister, Tony Blair; had the opportunity to express our heartfelt condolences to the people of London, people who lost lives.

I appreciate Prime Minister Blair's steadfast determination and restraint.

He's on his way now to London here from the G-8 to speak directly to the people of London, to carry a message of solidarity with him.

This morning I've been in contact with our homeland security folks and I instructed them to be in touch with local and state officials about the facts of what took place here and in London and to be extra vigilant as our folks start heading to work.

The contrast between what we've seen on the TV screens here, what's taken place in London, what's taken place here is incredibly vivid to me.

On the one hand, we got people here who are working to alleviate poverty and to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS and that are working on ways to have a clean environment. And on the other hand, you've got people killing innocent people. And the contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.

The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is, we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists.

We will find them. We will bring them to justice. And at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.

Thank you very much.

Sadly, I expect BushCo to milk this for all its political worth in their continued co-mingling of the war on terror as justification of the war in Iraq. It's a pity this has been their focus instead of actually doing something about bin Laden and al Qaeda, and quite frightening to consider the CIA's statements indicating that the war in Iraq may provide better training for terrorists than Afghanistan provided bin Laden and al Qaeda.

Update 12:03 - Israel is claiming that contrary to previous reports, they did not receive any advanced warning about the attacks. According to Foerign Minister Silvan Shalom

“There was no early information about terrorist attacks,” Shalom told Israel Army Radio later. “After the first explosion an order was given that no one move until things become clear."

Israel was holding an economic conference in a hotel over the London subway stop where one of the blasts occurred. Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was supposed to attend the conference, but “after the first explosion our finance minister received a request not to go anywhere,” Shalom said.
A translator at MSNBC believes there is an error in one of the Quran verses cited in the original letter that initially surfaced claiming responsibility on behalf of al Qaeda (the letter referenced above was a second statement supposedly issued).

In related news, the Taliban claims to be holding a missing Navy SEAL with plans to execute him and al Qaeda has posted video of kidnapped Egyptian Envoy, Ihab al-Sherif, and released a statement indicating he had been sentenced to death as an "apostate" for his country's support of the US and Iraqi governments. According to the al Qaeda statement, al-Sherif has already been executed and they plan to kidnap more ambassadors.

Additionally, Iraq marked a new effort to improve relations with Iran that would include forming joint committees to cooperate in the clearing of minefields and “modernizing Iraq’s army.”

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