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CNN BREAKING NEWS
Small Explosions in London Tube; London Police Hold News Briefing
Aired July 21, 2005 - 12:01 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN ANCHOR: ... the United States. If you are just joining us, there have been four reported attempts, bomb blasts in London. Just two weeks to the day since similar terrorist attacks took place, killing at least 56 people. Three of the explosions -- attempted explosions, rather, took place on the Underground, the same as last time, and also one overland on a bus.
However, there are no reports of any injuries at this time. Earlier the prime minister, Tony Blair, addressed the nation where he appealed for calm. He said he believed the police authorities had the situation firmly under control. But he added, he did not wish to minimize the incident.
The incidents began about four-and-a-half hours ago during the lunch hour commute. That is, as I say, some two weeks after the last terror attacks took place in London.
Now, there has been other news, of course, taking place internationally. And we will bring you those headlines now.
A videotape of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has been broadcast on the Arabic television network Al-Arabiya. In the video, an official is reading charges against the former dictator. Saddam Hussein protested several times, saying he has not been allowed to see his lawyer in private. He also called the procedure "a game," adding that he's been detained by an Iraqi government appointed by the United States. Al-Arabiya says the hearing took place this Thursday.
Iraqi police say two Algerian diplomats have been kidnapped in Baghdad. It took place behind a local restaurant in the Mansour neighborhood which is home to a number of Arab embassies. There have also been attacks in and around the Iraqi capital.
But, of course, the focus of our news at this hour is the attempted explosions in London, above ground, and also three underground. Let's go now to our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.
Christiane, if I may say, when you were reporting from the same spot two weeks ago, it was a very different scene behind you. There are a lot more people on the streets. And it does appear to be more business as usual today.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. Well, that's because the attacks were so much less severe than two weeks ago, 56 people dead, 700 wounded, many critically. This time police report one confirmed casualty, and that was not a death, an injury. We are hoping in half an hour to have a press conference with the head of the metropolitan police, and also the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone.
Of course, the question is going to be, how did this happen when the police were on full alert two weeks after the previous series of bombings? How could this have happened, how could these people have penetrated the system two weeks after the severe bombing of July 7?
We are going to go to Mallika Kapur who is at Shepherd's Bush, the site of one of the incidents today. In fact, we are not going to Mallika Kapur, we are going back to Tony Blair, the prime minister. He spoke to the nation not as an address, but as part of a press conference that he was holding with the visiting prime minister, John Howard, and he, again, appealed for calm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What's important is that people do stay calm and react in the way that they have reacted so far. And the very purpose of the people who are doing this type of thing, their purpose is precisely in order to make people worried and frightened, and taking responsibility off the shoulders of the people who engage in these types of acts.
And we've just got to remain as we've been. I think the one thing that's -- the prime minister was just saying to us a moment or two ago, the one thing that's come across very clearly over the past couple of weeks has been the impact, if you like, the British attitude has had on the rest of the world where the people have seen our country react to terrorist attacks that are meant to make people frightened and worried and scared, and react with great dignity and great strength and great determination, that it doesn't change us. It's not going to change what we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well Prime Minister Blair went on to say that he, in fact, was going to go back to the schedule of meetings that he was planning to hold. That earlier he had had a COBR meeting. That is of his -- the key officials and the emergency service personnel and police who deal in these kinds of emergencies. And as I say, we are expecting a press conference to hear more details hopefully of what happened, whether they've caught anybody, whether they've found any of the devices. We are hoping for that at half past this hour.
In the meantime, we are going to go to Matthew Chance who's at Warren Street tube station, not far from here where one of the attacks took place.
Matthew, what's happening there right now?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christiane, the scenes are very similar to two weeks ago when the traffic has been cleared off the streets across central London. That's happened again in these two main thoroughfares where Warren Street is located, Houston Road and Tottencourt Road. Those areas now deserted by cars. The police pushing back the cars -- holding back the cars, rather, and evacuating shops and offices and houses in the area.
There are still many hundreds, many thousands of people, though, walking through the streets, trying to get to different train stations across central London that are still working, because unlike the attacks two weeks ago, it seems that parts of the rail network, parts of the bus system as well in central London are still up and running. It does seem to just be the three lines in the network of underground trains in London that have been suspended at this stage.
In terms of what's happening at Warren Street station itself, there's still a good deal of confusion surrounding the actual incident that took place. Police confirming that an explosion did go off inside Warren Street train station on a train shortly -- a short distance outside of the platform. It's not clear whether it was just leaving the platform, or was about to arrive in Warren Street platform. There have been reports of an individual on board that train. His rucksack exploding, but not causing any real damage beyond obviously destroying the rucksack.
Many people have reported smelling a pungent chemical smell. And perhaps that's why we've seen emergency teams here, including not just the bomb squad, but also police wearing fully protected chemical protection suits as well and with gas masks going into Warren Street, attempting to ascertain whether there are any hazardous materials down there in order so they can get on with the job of clearing this area -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Matthew, I know that you have been basically kept around the cordon area. Were you able to talk to anybody who had been on the train?
CHANCE: That's interesting. By the time we got here, it was only a short distance from our bureau, we basically ran here because of the gridlock on the road. And by the time we got here, it seemed that everybody had been evacuated off, the people, the crowds that we were confronted with, the hundreds of people on the street, they were people who were either on their way to the Warren Street station, or they were people who had left the train shortly before the emergency had been declared.
Other people, of course, evacuated from the shops, the offices, and their houses. I mentioned that the people who we spoke to, amongst them, talking of their concern obviously about what happened, also, their anger as well, their and weariness at this, another attack. Fortunately, it seems, on a much smaller scale in terms of casualties from the one two weeks ago, but still something that's really chilled many people who have to use the public transport system in London to go about their everyday business.
AMANPOUR: Matthew, thank you. And indeed, even though the officials warned that there might be further attacks, this kind of attack, almost identical, but much, much less severe, is bound to put fear into people's hearts here because people had hoped that with a heightened alert after the July 7th attacks, that this would not be able to happen so soon. And of course, those are some of the questions that are going to be asked of the police commissioner when he talks in, let's say about, nearly 25 minutes from now.
In the meantime, there has been reaction from many parts of the world. Let's listen first to John Howard, the prime minister of Australia, who was here in London visiting and meeting with Prime Minister Blair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: ... privately, and that is that Australia sympathizes with, supports, and remains steadfast with Britain in pursuit of the common values and common causes that we have. Terrorism is the enemy of all free people. Terrorism is not just about individual circumstances and individual events. Terrorism is about the perverted use of an ideology for evil intent and for evil objectives.
And those who think that terrorism is incident-specific misunderstand the mind and the workings of the minds of terrorists, and...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Incident-specific, misunderstanding the minds of terrorists. Both Prime Minister Howard and Prime Minister Blair refuse to accept any premise, any notion that perhaps the war in Iraq, which both of them support and both of them have troops in Iraq, refuse to accept that that could have put Britain at greater risk. Even though some influential papers and analysis right now are saying that the war in Iraq is causing a greater risk for those countries, particularly Britain, this one was talking about, that have troops in Iraq, that backed the Iraq war.
There was also reaction from President Bush to today's incidents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They don't understand our country, though. Though don't understand that when it comes to the defense of universal freedoms, this country won't be frightened. We will defend ourselves by staying on the offense against these killers. We will find them overseas so we don't have to face them here at home.
And at the same time, we understand that to defeat an ideology of hate, you work to spread an ideology of hope. And there's nothing for hopeful than a system which recognizes the rights of people in which government is accountable to the people. And that system is democracy based upon universal freedom. (END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Well, this is a security situation, but certainly politics and particularly the Iraq war is being injected into it. And now those governments are on the defensive. Britain has been on the defensive ever since this report, I said -- I mentioned, has been out. And certainly the news from Iraq over the past week or so has not been positive.
There have been, according to a New York Times report, 8,000 Iraqi civilians killed by Islamic terrorists over the last 10 months. That's 800 per month for the last 10 months. The constitution that is expected to be written and is part of the U.S.-U.K. exit strategy, appears to be coalescing around using Islamic law as a major source of future Iraqi law. That's worrying a lot of women.
And another key element to the exit strategy is to train up the military and security forces in Iraq and the police. And more reports coming out saying that that is nowhere near being done and the Iraqi forces are not able to stand on their own two feet without U.S. and U.K. help at the moment.
Here in England, the police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, says now that the situation in London is, quote, "fully under control," and he's urging people to be calm and to go about their business and go and take their trains back home. The transport system, parts of it, were partially shut down after this attack, but is getting more and more up and running. Although, you have heard from some of our reporters, that many, many people are walking. And we can see it here on these sidewalks as well, just as they did two weeks ago.
We are waiting, as I say, for a press conference from Commissioner Blair. But this is what he said a couple of hours ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIR IAN BLAIR, LONDON POLICE COMMISSIONER: We will make a further announcement around what the travel implications are, but what we don't want is lots of people going to railway stations or whatever. The trains, as far as I ,know are still running. But it's just, stay where you are, go about your normal business. Again, the plan is there. You've seen it happen before. It's rehearsed. The emergency services are getting control over a very confused scene. Clearly this is a very serious incident. And what I'm going to do now is I'm going off to COBR to meet with the home secretary and others to see where we go from here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Again, we are hoping for the very latest in about 20 minutes from now. In the meantime, let's go to a report from our sister network, ITN, about the precise timing of the events that happened just about five hours ago.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... tube station at 12:38, in Oval tube station in South London. Now it's believed a man threw a rucksack into a carriage and then ran off. Minutes later witnesses reported a minor explosion in a rucksack on the northbound Victoria line as the 2 (ph) train approached Warren Street station.
There were also reports that nail bomb exploded on the station, some people say they heard what sound like gunshots. It's believed a suspect package was found on train in Shepherd's Bush on the Hammersmith & City line, and that was at 12:51 this afternoon.
And there was a small explosion on the number 26 bus on Hackney Road and Columbia Road junction in East London. There were no injuries, but the windows of that bus were blown out.
Well, police report that no one was killed in the attacks, but there was one injury. They say they have the situation now under control in all four sites.
Liz Kennedy has this report.
AMANPOUR: And we are going to go now to our senior European editor, Robin Oakley, who is at 10 Downing Street.
Robin, you heard the prime minister's statement, his response to questions with -- standing alongside Prime Minister Howard of Australia. At one point he said, and I quote, "I don't know anymore about this than you do at this moment" to the press there. What do you think that was about? And there really does seem to be a studied air of calm coming from him.
ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN SENIOR EUROPEAN EDITOR: Well, certainly, Christiane. He's appealing to everybody else to show calm. He said he's going to get on with his ordinary business as soon as he possibly can. Tony Blair was really trying to tread a careful line between not overreacting but not minimizing the genuine degree of fear and alarm that there has to be among the public with a further set of apparent terrorist attacks of this kind.
So he's basically saying to everybody, look, get all the practical details of arrests and progress with investigations from the police. But the message from me is that we are going to give you all the information we possibly can. We are going to give you all the protection we possibly can. But just carry on with your normal business.
And once again, he paid tribute to the spirit of London that was shown in a ceremony in Tavistock Square this morning commemorating the victims from two weeks ago. But the irony, perhaps, of today's events, is that Tony Blair is currently closeted with his senior ministers and the security chiefs in a meeting that was fixed a few days ago for those security chiefs and police to get together with him and the ministers, and advise on what they would like to see in the anti-terrorist legislation that the government is drawing up in the wake of the events of two weeks ago -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Well, where do you think that is going to lead? Because they are talking about deporting some of the hate-mongers, some of the extremists. They are talking about trying to get the intelligence to allow them to use wiretap surveillance information in court prosecutions of suspected terrorists. Where do you think it's headed from what you've been able to glean?
OAKLEY: Well, we certainly know that the main direction in which the new anti-terrorist legislation the heading. It's going to make either giving or receiving training in terrorism on a much wider definition and offense. It's going to make acts preparatory to terrorism an offense. That's because sometimes in the past, security authorities have worried that if they go in early to foil an attack, then they are not going to be able to have enough evidence to stand up in court to convict the terrorists.
So, that acts preparatory to terrorism is seen as a key to the new measures. And, of course, one that you allude to, they are making indirect incitement to terrorism an offense. Direct incitement to terrorism is, of course, already an offense in Britain, but indirect incitement by those kinds of clerics who take an extreme line, who praise suicide bombers elsewhere, who condone acts of terrorism, and thereby encourage potential terrorism in Britain.
We know all of that is going through. The question is what the security authorities would like to see added to that. That's what's being discussed at the meeting right now. Conservative opposition pressing for what you mentioned, Christiane, and that is the idea of more phone intercepts and using such evidence in court. But Tony Blair said at prime minister's questions this week, he was perfectly happy with that in principle, but up until now, the security authorities and the police had advised him that they didn't actually want that, and it wasn't going to help -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Robin, thank you, we'll be following that.
Again, as we've been saying, there are precious few details coming out about what happened today. We don't know what kind of devices they were. We don't know, although we assume that they were not suicide bombers because people talk about small explosions. And we even heard of an eyewitness who said they saw somebody trying to flee and being given chase.
Let's listen to what one eyewitness tells us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started to smell like rubber wire. And it got a bit worse, and then suddenly people were starting screaming and shouting and running to get to the second carriage. But I could -- from the smell I could tell it was in our carriage because presumably the person who ran first from the carriage must have been sitting next to something. I don't know whether -- I'm not going to say it's a bomb. I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you see any packages, anything like that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, all I saw is people running for their lives. And there was no room for me to get away to the next carriage. There was no way I could get away from it. All I did is say a prayer and wait for it to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people were quite calm on the platform, believe it or not, until there was one or two -- well, there was no announcement by London Underground or by the driver as to what was going on, like, don't -- no saying, get out, move along the platform quietly, please exit. There was nothing. So we were clueless.
And one of the two ladies got a bit scared where I was because we were right at the back of the station and we couldn't see any exit. The only exit was at the front where all this was going on. And when one or two guys started shouting, get out, get out, everybody started running. And I noticed there were shoes left on the platform from some ladies that must have left them to get out very quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For what happened two weeks ago, you could see there was a plan. It's unraveled that there was a plan. They intended for this to happen in the way it did happen. It happened earlier in the morning when commuters were moving into London, where there were bound to be people around. What's happened today is just completely gone against any kind of logic, any kind of theory. It's like, it's just happened. It's so random. The locations were so random. And my feeling is definitely that what is to stop it from happening today, tomorrow?
AMANPOUR: And yet another eyewitness talked about seeing somebody drop a bag, and then this person run out and be given chase. We just don't know what happened after that. We are told by the eyewitness who talked to another British television station that this person ran away.
Again, we hope to get more details from the police. The Scotland Yard press conference schedule now for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, we are going to go to Mallika Kapur, CNN, who is at Shepherd's Bush, the other station that was targeted today.
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, I have to say, in the last 10 minutes or so, things are slowly getting back to normal out at the Shepherd's Bush tube station. This main road, which is right in front of me, was cordoned off for the last several hours, but just within the last 10 minutes authorities have removed the police cordon blocking this main road.
And traffic is flowing back here on this road. People are walking on the streets. Some of the businesses have reopened. So in front of me, things look like they are getting back to normal. But behind me, as you can see, there is a cluster of policemen over here. The tube station that was evacuated is just one block away from here, one block to my right. And that is where people were evacuated this morning.
I spoke to somebody who lives close by and who was also evacuated. He said he was just about five minutes from the tube station this morning when he heard there had been an incident. He walked towards the tube station. He said there was just one policeman there who had said there had been an incident. He said there had been a suspicious package. He did not say that there had been a blast at all.
And (INAUDIBLE) that he said -- the person who had been evacuated then said he went back home, and a few minutes later police came knocking on the doors. They knocked on the doors of all the people who lived close by and asked everybody to come out just as a precaution, as a safety measure. And everybody, himself, his neighbors were taken to a shopping mall which is one or two blocks away on my left -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Mallika, thank you very much, indeed. Joining me now is Shane Brighton, security analyst and expert who has been talking to us all morning. I guess the question is, are these thug copycats who just didn't get it right but tried to do what they did two weeks ago, or could they be sophisticated terrorists in the same mode, and then the explosives were just faulty?
SHANE BRIGHTON, ROYAL UNITED SERVICES INSTITUTE: Well, that is the main question at the moment. And it's a very difficult one to answer without more information. It's -- there are interesting inconsistencies with the kind of attacks we saw two weeks earlier. As I think one of the people that your colleagues just interviewed was saying, these are stations that are a little bit further out. They're not in the center of London. And they are -- you know, they were attacked at a time where they would have been a lot less of people around.
So the lethal intent doesn't seem to be quite the same as the attacks we saw. So in that regard they are slightly more amateurish, slightly less serious. The big speculation, though, is what the nature of the devices were and why they didn't go off. And when we have answers to that we would know a little bit more about the professionalism or otherwise or indeed the links between these people and the attacks of two weeks ago.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think the people will be able to get soon? Would they be able to get these devices, perhaps one of the so- called attackers who perhaps may have fled?
BRIGHTON: Well, it's certainly -- I mean, I should imagine they are in hot pursuit of the people that were involved in this incident right now. In terms of the forensic -- in terms of the wider evidence, they'd be looking at the nature of the devices that have been used and to see the way they've been put together.
I mean, classically you can tell almost like a signature the way that a bomber has made a device who they may be. They are distinguishing marks right down to the way, for example, that they hold their hand when they clip a piece of wire. That will tell somebody -- will tell forensic experts who did this, whether left- handed or right-handed. There may be clues. There may be some doubt left there, but it tells you something important.
AMANPOUR: Well, we will certainly be looking forward to hearing any details that the police can give us because this really has had quite a chilling effect. We've talked to some people, certainly our reporters around the stations talking to commuters have heard people say, well, now they are scared.
Two weeks ago they did go about their business. They did get back on the tubes. And now people are saying, you know, this, twice in two weeks, is a little chilling.
We'll be back after a break.
SWEENEY: Welcome back to our coverage of what has been taking place in London over the last few hours. Exactly two weeks after deadly bomb attacks on London's Underground and bus system killed more than 50 people, terror has returned to the British capital.
London's police commissioner says there were four attempts at causing serious explosions at three Underground stations, and on a double-decker bus. But no deaths or injuries have been reported and apparently no chemicals are involved.
A double-decker bus driver reported a bang from the top of his bus at Hackney Road and Columbia Road in East London. Windows were shattered, but no one was hurt and the bus is intact.
Prime Minister Tony Blair says he doesn't want to minimize these incidents, but urges people to remain calm and continue using public transport.
Well, let's return now to our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.
Christiane, Prime Minister Blair may indeed urge calm on the streets of London and business as usual, but as you were mentioning earlier, two weeks after the first incidents in which more than 50 people were killed, will Londoners' faith be shaken?
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, we've heard a few Londoners talking to our reporters at the tube stations. Many of them are not getting on the tubes. Obviously some of the tube lines are closed. But others have told our reports that, you know, they are a bit scared this time. And that, I think, would be understandable. This is the second time in two weeks. And the question is, what can the police do about it? I'm going to turn again to Shane Brighton, our security analyst.
What can the police do about it? I mean, you know, many people will say, well, what were the last two weeks about? How did this happen again? Even though we must keep reiterating it was nowhere as near as severe. One injury only, thank goodness.
BRIGHTON: Yes. It's very difficult. The London Underground is an open system. The London transport system is an open system. It's very difficult to have any kind of technical system that stops people from bringing explosives in. And the other thing, I mean, your international viewers may not be aware of, just how big the London Underground system is.
It goes all the way out, all the way out north, west, south, east into the London suburbs. You can get into the system from way out and come in. And unless it's monitored all the way in, there's not a great deal that can be done.
So in a sense, closing it down and having constant security surveillance and tens (ph) of people being searched, for example, is simply impractical. Also the enormous amount of people, the number of people that are moving through this system every day just makes those kind of checks very difficult to do.
AMANPOUR: One of the key tactics of counter-insurgency is to deny them the support of the communities, to close down their ability to operate with their own communities. And clearly both the police, obviously Prime Minister Blair, has been calling on Muslim leaders, Muslim MPs, Muslim religious leaders to join the fight, so he says, against this, quote, "evil ideology." How are they going to do that? How are they going to get the Islamic community to shut this down?
BRIGHTON: Well, it's difficult, and it's about striking a fine balance. On the one hand, the whole history of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency shows that you need to win hearts and minds. That you need to have a political, a significant political engagement with the community. On the other hand, the problem is, as soon as these people become serious about being terrorists, they drop out from underneath the radar really. They're not engaged in radical political activities necessarily or hanging around radical imams, or do any of the things that might bring themselves to attention in their own communities, in the wider community. So The idea that you would know that your neighbor was a terrorist more because you're a Muslim, or because you're not, is not necessarily following, and you know, it's a difficult balance to strike.
AMANPOUR: There was an incredible picture on the front of one of the tabloids today. Two of the now-named bombers from two weeks ago seen on a white water rafting trip in Wales just a month before this attack. That's remarkable.
AMANPOUR: We are going to go to Matthew Chance, who's at the Warren Street Tube Station, which was one of the sights of today's attack.
Matthew, we were talking about commuters and what their reaction may be now the second time around. What have you been able to learn from people around you?
CHANCE: Well, Christiane, people are extremely weary, the people we've spoken to, that this has happened for the second time in two weeks. The scene here, you can see the street behind me leading down to the Warren Street train station. It's been evacuated by the police. I'm going to step out of the way of the camera to give you a first look at what the situation is around there. All the shops, the offices, the houses, they've been evacuated by the police as well. The police vehicles, the fire brigade engines are down there as well. They've been entering that Warren Street train station, where we understand an explosion went off on one of the carriages just a short distance outside on the train, a short distance outside one of the platforms on the northern line, or perhaps on the Victoria Line, in Warren Street there.
Police have been going in and out of there all day. There doesn't seem to be a lot of activity at the moment. But earlier, we saw police dressed in full chemical protection outfits as well, going in there to try and do their forensic work, to try and make the area safe, first of all, to make sure there were no hazardous materials inside.
As for the people who wee on that train, the people who were intending to take those trains, many hundreds of them, many thousands have been continuing their journey on the streets around this area on foot, going to other train stations as well, because unlike the attacks two weeks ago, it seems that not the entire subway network of London has been brought to a halt. Some lines are still working. Just three apparently have been frozen. And so people are being redirected by the police to take alternative routes back from their offices, from their work, back home -- Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Matthew, you were there almost immediately on the scene. It's not too far from the bureau. Give us a sense of how it unfolded.
CHANCE: Well, I mean, as soon as we heard these incidents had taken place, obviously I left the bureau, gridlock on the streets of London. It is only a short distance away, perhaps only a five-minute drive by car to this location to our London studios. But it was such gridlock that we actually had to run to this location to get here on foot. That's what many other people were doing as well. It wasn't very long before the whole transport system in this part of London, which is one of the busiest parts of London, in central London, Euston Road, is just over there to your left. Tottenham Court Road, another major thoroughfare here, ground to a halt. Police have pushed back, just like this street behind me, all of the people. They've stopped all access to all of the cars. So there has been a complete gridlock situation here in areas of this part of the British capital, and also areas like this, as you can see, completely deserted of cars and pedestrians, of everyone except the police in the immediate area, 400 yards it seems around Warren Street Train Station, where the explosion took place, one of them.
AMANPOUR: Matthew, thank you. And not far from where Matthew Chance is the UCL, the University College London Hospital, and earlier today, there was an incident, as the police called it there, with armed officers going into the hospital in search of someone. They then stood down and moved back. We still don't know the detail. That is one of the questions that we hope will be answered when the police give their press conference. It will be a press conference with Sir Ian Blair, who is the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and with the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. We'll bring you that just as soon as it happens, after a break.
AMANPOUR: The police commissioner here says that the situation is now fully under control. Five hours after these devices were detonated. He says that they were detonated simultaneously, although, quote, "Some of them did not function properly."
We're going now to Mallika Kapur of CNN, who's at Shepherd's Bush Station, one of the scenes of the incident.
Mallika, what can you tell us about the latest there?
KAPUR: At the moment, things are getting back to normal over here, Christiane, and the traffic has been opened up. This area did come to a complete standstill for a little while earlier on. This is the area around Shepherd's Green, but in the last 20 minutes or so, police have opened up the road to traffic. It is rush hour. There lots of people milling about, people wondering how to get home, because the tube station behind me has been evacuated. A lot of residents were evacuated, and people on the buses around the area were evacuated as well.
I have with me Cindy Butts, the deputy chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, and she was on this bus that you can see right behind me, this bush when she was evacuated.
Cindy, tell us what happened.
CINDY BUTTS, METROPOLITAN POLICE AUTHORITY: Well, basically, I boarded the bus. And within, I'd say two or three minutes, a police officer approached the driver, and informed him that he had to evacuate the bus, because the (INAUDIBLE) road was being cordoned off. Myself and other passengers on the obviously very quickly done that. And we were then told where to assemble, and we assembled on the junction of the Shepherd's Bush Green and (INAUDIBLE) Road, and we stayed there for some time, and then we were told to move to various places, as more and more officers arrived, as more and more sniffer dogs and people from the anti- terrorism branch arrived as well.
KAPUR: Did the police tell you why you were being asked to be evacuated? Did they tell you why they were removing you from the bus.
BUTTS: No, no, the information was, obviously, deliberately sparse, but they did inform us that it was obviously for our safety, and told us exactly where to go, and as time moved on, they told us that they needed us to move further down toward the Holland (ph) Park end of the Shepherd's Bush Green in order, as I say, to ensure our safety.
KAPUR: And how did people react? Were they quite calm? Or what was the reaction?
BUTTS: On the whole, I think people were incredibly calm. I think some people were understandably shocked. I mean, an elderly women on the bus said to me, oh my gosh, you know, we're in Shepherd's Bush, we're not in the heart of London. And I kind of held her hand, and said, you know, don't worry, everything will be OK.
And I think you can understand why people might feel that way. But essentially, it's taken, I think, a good three-plus hours to get to the position where we're at. And people have been incredibly patient, knowing that the police have got a job to do and knowing that, actually, that they're securing not just a crime scene, but more importantly, securing their safety.
So I think they have been incredibly patient. And I think they have take an lot from, obviously, the bombings that we've today. They've taken a lot of reassurance from the way police sprung into action so quickly, and indeed all of the emergency services. And I think they were very heartened by that, and that's given them a renewed sense of reassurance when dealing with the incident we've had today.
KAPUR: Cindy, thank you very much. Christiane, as I said, people who have been evacuated now slowly being allowed to come close to this area, slowly being allowed to return home as well. Some businesses that had shut down early in the afternoon have reopened again. A lot of people milling about here. It is rush hour. The Tube station is closed. And people wondering how are they going to get back home today.
AMANPOUR: Mallika, thank you. I'm just looking at a copy of the afternoon newspaper. And of course it has the bombing on the front. But inside, "Smile, Please. It's still great in London." It's the message we've been getting from all the officials, from the prime minister on down today, trying to get people to continue as normal; trying, obviously, not to minimize what happened, but trying to, as they call -- as they said, remain calm.
We are also hearing, as we did two weeks ago in the aftermath, that the emergency services and police are getting many, many calls of suspect packages elsewhere around the transport system and around this city. This happened two weeks ago. And the police say that this is normal.
We're going to hope to hear from the police commissioner in a press briefing shortly. First, we're going to take a break.
AMANPOUR: Two weeks ago, the bombings -- four bombings, three on the Tubes, one on a bus -- claimed 56 lives and wounded 700 people. This time, it is much, much less severe. We are told of one casualty -- not a death, an injury. Two weeks ago, the police asked people not to inundate the emergency service, the special hot lines, unless they had life-threatening emergencies or vital information. But people did. They called the lines, and they're doing that again. Police and emergency services are reporting a flood of calls from worried Londoners about suspect packages. This is what happened last time as well. And it is, as police have said, the norm after situations like this.
Again, we're waiting to hear from the police commissioner. We hope to soon. And in the meantime, a report from CNN's Robyn Curnow on the precise events of today.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Terror and panic across London again after what appears to be another set of coordinated attacks targeting the British capital's transport system. Police confirming serious incidents at Underground subway stations Oval, Warren Street, and Shepherd's Bush as well as on a bus travelling in East London.
But this time, unlike two weeks ago, the explosions not as deadly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The casualty numbers appear to be very low in the explosions. The bombs appear to be smaller than on the last occasion, but we don't know the implications.
CURNOW: Smaller explosions, perhaps, but still terrifying for Londoners.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then suddenly people started screaming and shouting and running to get to the second carriage.
CURNOW: But, again, echoing the statements of two weeks ago, the British authorities, including the prime minister, urging Londoners to get back to business.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We know why these things are done. They're done to scare people and to frighten them, to make them anxious and worried. Fortunately, in this instance, there appear to have been no casualties. The police have done their very best, and the security services too, in the situation. And I think we've just got to react calmly.
CURNOW: But still, the city on high alert. Armed police seen running into the University College Hospital near the Warren Street Station. Heavily armed officers continue to police London. Many areas are cordoned off shops closed, houses evacuated as police continue to investigate these latest attacks. Robyn Curnow, CNN, London.
AMANPOUR: Now we go to Keir Simmons of our sister station ITN at Scotland Yard. Keir, we've been saying all along that we expect a press conference from the police commissioner. I know it's not happening where you are, but, any information from the police there?
KEIR SIMMONS: That's right. We're waiting to hear more details from the police But Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, has spoken earlier today. What he said then was this: We know that we have four explosions, or four attempts at explosions, but it's still pretty unclear as to what's happened.
Now, a little while ago he left Downing Street, and he said, basically, everything is under control. What we know so far is that there was some kind of...
AMANPOUR: Hate to interrupt you, but we are going to the much, much awaited presser.
DICK FEDORCIO, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE PUBLIC AFFAIRS DIRECTOR: We won't be doing any one-to-ones with either the commissioner or the mayor afterwards.
SIR IAN BLAIR, LONDON POLICE COMMISSIONER: Thanks very much. Good afternoon. Obviously this has been another - obviously this has been another difficult day. What I can confirm at the moment is there are four scenes at the Oval Underground, at Warren Street Underground, at Shepherd's Bush which is part of the Underground, but is a part of the Underground which is actually on the surface, and involving a Number 26 bus at Hackney.
In each of these scene, attempts have been made to set off explosive devices. What I would want to say to you, though, to all of you here, is that I really want you to think back to how the investigation unfolded two weeks ago. This is an incredibly fast- moving scene, a very fast-moving set of events. And I really do ask you to be patient. The way that we operated last time was to tell you facts when we had the facts. And there's an enormous amount of speculation running at the moment. And I'm not in a position to answer questions which are detailed about the investigation, because it changes every few minutes. And I keep reminding you that at the end of this process, we want to have some trials. And what was said in these -- (INAUDIBLE) -- at the trial.
But, the main message is, is that now that London, you know, has gone past this point again. We are back to business. The Hammersmith and City Lines are still closed, the Victoria Line is still closed. The Northern Line is still closed. But there are already shuttles running over. They are closed in the sense that they're not running throughout the system, but there are already shuttles running in both directions, as I believe there are on the Piccadilly Line from the previous incident.
I do think it's worth saying, again, that the emergency services of London have done a marvelous job, not only the metropolitan police but, again, the city of London, British transport police, and London ambulance service and the hospitals, have done a very good job. And the scenes are very tightly controlled as we speak at the moment.
We do believe that this may represent -- may represent a significant breakthrough in the sense that there is obviously forensic material at these scenes, which may be very helpful to us. So I feel very positive about some of these developments. The one appeal that I can make and do want to make at the moment is the Web address, which is behind us. I think -- am I right? Is it or not? OK. We have a Web address, which we want people to send photos and images and so on. (INAUDIBLE) to give that before the end of the press conference. And lastly, I think I want to say, again, that no community should be smeared with responsibility for these matters. These are criminal acts. And we are in pursuit of a set of criminals in relation to it. Now...
KEN LIVINGSTONE, MAYOR OF LONDON: Thank you very much, Commissioner.
I'd like to start by congratulating the police and the emergency service at the tube and bus stop who have responded with even more remarkable speed. For those of you who watched this unfold through the television coverage, the speed and response, I think, was absolutely amazing. And the other factors that the underground staff and the bus staff have managed to get the vast bulk of the system back up and running, and have clearly shown their determination not to have our life disrupted more than is absolutely necessary by these incidents.
And I should be meeting with representatives from the underground unions tomorrow to talk through their experience and see anything we can do, and to build on that. And I do appreciate the resolve that those drivers, who many of had to de-train trains, pull into stations and wait. But we're straight back to get the service back up and running so that Londoners can either get out and enjoy themselves tonight or get home.
It is not surprising that we have had another attempt to take life in London so rapidly after the first. Those people whose memories stretch back to the terrorist campaigns in the '70s and '80s and early '90s will remember there were very often horrifying bombings in London, often only weeks apart. And we got through that, and we will get through this.
I want to finally appeal to anybody who may have any information, anything they have seen in the last few weeks, that these who think they might have some information that would help us identify those who have been involved in this attack. In particular, I'd like to ask those who will be leading religious services over the next few days to take their congregations through these events, the immorality of these events, and do all in their power to persuade anyone in their congregations who may have information or be helpful. Even if they don't think -- even it's just a remote possibility -- to actually come forward and help and assist the police and actually bring the perpetrators of these events to justice as rapidly as possible.
FEDORCIO: Thank you. I can now take some questions.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) or is this another out of the blue attack (INAUDIBLE)?
BLAIR: I don't think I'm in a position to say that it is connected. I think that, you know, will take a little time. There is clear -- you know, there is a resonance here, isn't there? I mean, these are four attacks. There were four attacks before. Whether or not this is directly connected in the sense of carried out by the same group of people, however loosely knit that is, I think that's going to take just a little bit longer before we can qualify that.
QUESTION: Were there more detonators involved?
BLAIR: I just -- I'm not going to go into the investigation, I'm sorry, at this stage.
QUESTION: Have there been any arrests today?
BLAIR: Again, I'm not going -- I'm really not going to go into the investigation at this point to confirm or deny.
QUESTION: Did we have a very narrow escape today, do you think?
BLAIR: I mean, I don't know how narrow it was. That will take some time. But clearly, the intention must have been to kill. I mean, you don't do this with any other intention. And I think the important point is that the intention of the terrorists has not been fulfilled.
QUESTION: Thank you. Nic Robertson from CNN. You said an attempt -- you said an attempt was made to set off explosive devices. Do you mean by that that the explosive devices themselves didn't actually go off? That this could have been far worse?
BLAIR: I -- from what I understand, some of the devices remain unexploded, if I could describe it that way. So, therefore -- it is always very difficult. Remember, we haven't got to -- you know, the explosive officers and the forensics and everybody else is just going to take their time to examine all of this, which ones are detonated, which parts have gone off in the explosives. That's going to take a while. And we're just going to be patient around it.
QUESTION: Are we in a man-hunt situation here?
BLAIR: Well, yes -- I mean, it's going to take a little while to be absolutely clear on this. The last time, you know, we had to look very carefully about what the timing of all of the explosions was. So, again, it's, you know, it's not just clear yet how many people may have taken part in this.
QUESTION: Were these all simultaneous?
BLAIR: Well, that's just the answer that I've just given. One of the things that's difficult to tell, sometimes, is exactly what the timing of all of this is.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) from "The Times." A considerable rumor is going around that at least some of these bombs may have been nail bombs. Can you confirm that?
BLAIR: I'm -- again, I'm not just going to confirm or deny (INAUDIBLE) looking at what I've been shown, which was not important. I can neither confirm nor deny.
FEDORCIO: One in front.
QUESTION: What about the other incidents that have been reported this afternoon? The arrest of someone outside Downing Street? The alleged chase (INAUDIBLE) at the Royal -- at the hospitals?
BLAIR: These appear to be entirely unconnected events.
QUESTION: At the hospital, as well?
BLAIR: Yes, absolutely.
QUESTION: After the last...
QUESTION: Nigel Morris (ph) from (INAUDIBLE). Could I ask the mayor, has the time not come for a fundamental rethink of the security on the tube? Isn't that the best way to reassure travelers, rather than saying London is getting back to business within hours?
LIVINGSTONE: Well, the simple reality of this is that the only technology that we have, that could be of use, is what we use at airports. And it doesn't take long to work out that trying to clear three million passengers each day, an in and out system -- using that technology, getting them to take their coats off, empty their pockets, put it through an X-ray machine -- that would totally transform everybody's journey to work. You would be ending up perhaps taking another 15 to 30 minutes in your inward and outbound journey.
And even if we could do it, and we had that capacity, we are in a position where many of our underground stations are not physically large enough to do it. We have about 15 stations where they are so cramped there is not even the space for the little rat in which you pick up the metro. There may very well be technology will be coming along that is more sophisticated and smaller, but we don't have it now.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) with CNN. After the last bomb, you said it had all the hallmarks of al Qaeda. Are you prepared to say that about today's incident?
BLAIR: I think it's too early to say anything like that. Just too early. But you know, it is -- we can all see in front of us that the four would-be attacks have a similar patent to the previous one. We need, I think, to think a bit further or to know a bit more before we could link it.
QUESTION: John Steele (ph) from "The Telegraph." Are there any casualties therein, and if there are, is there any suspicion that any of the bombers are among...
BLAIR: Again, there are some -- London Ambulance Service tell us that they took no casualties from these scenes. There is a report of one casualty at one hospital, who may have been self-reporting, and may or may not be connected to this.
QUESTION: Katherine Bolden (ph) from Reuter's. In the previous attacks, you were instantly communicating with foreign intelligence services. Is that the case in this attack?
QUESTION: You were communicating with foreign intelligence services. Is there any country in particular that you're communicating with over these attacks?
BLAIR: I think the word instantly's a little premature here. I mean, we are in the position only a few hours after these attacks. And I think that's, again, too early to judge.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) at "The Sun." Do you have any description of the would-be bombers?
BLAIR: Not one that I'm going to give at that moment. We will clearly. We're, clearly, assembling all that. And we have no doubt there will be further press conferences either this evening or first thing tomorrow morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll take just two more questions. Right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) When the tube service will be back to normal?
KEN LIVINGSTONE, LONDON MAYOR: It is rapidly, basically, virtually back to the situation it was early this morning. There are still bits of the structure and bits of lines closed. And anybody who's about to make their way home, who is watching this, the best thing to do is just check on the Transport for London web site about any particular disruption.
As people arrive at their stations, they will be able to know if their journey is disrupted. But the bus service is operating, with the exception of the two or three areas where the roads are closed, at full capacity and normally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll take one there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from "The Boston Globe." There were reports earlier that -- that a bomb had actually exploded while in a rucksack on someone's back? Is -- do we have..
BLAIR: I'm sorry. I'm not even going to -- I can't get into that level of detail. There are so many reports lurking around and so much speculation. I just urge that you understand this will take some time, as it did. We will continue to operate on a basis of absolute truth. When we tell you something, it will be absolutely true and confirmed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir Ian, could we go back to a previous question? If these attacks are yet another instance of out of the blue and no intelligence, I'm just wondering what you can say that's going to reassure people who use the Underground that you're in control. BLAIR: I've said so far I haven't answered that question, because I don't -- I don't have enough information to answer that question. The control is the control that we have of the scene, the control of a very fast-moving investigation. The control of a united country and a united city. And we will endeavor to make this as secure a situation as we possibly can.
LIVINGSTONE: I'm going to end it there. If I can just draw your attention to the web address for everyone who had...
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Live from Scotland Yard, we want to welcome back our viewers as we're following, continuing to follow the breaking news coverage out of London. We're talking about the small explosions, the shattered glass, the smoke and a ghastly sense of deja vu in London.
The newest news coming out of this press conference by -- with Scotland Yard is that they are telling us they have evidence that police now consider a significant break-through. It's about 6 p.m. now local time, and the city targeted by terrorists for the second time in exactly two weeks. This time, no deaths have been reported thus far. But for the latest, we're checking in with our reporters on the scene.
We've got CNN's Matthew Chance. He's at Warren Street. And our Mallika Kapur is at the Shepherd's Bush Station.
First Mallika, what can you tell us where you are?
MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, things are slowly getting back to normal over here. The road that had been cordoned off right in front of me has been opened up again. Traffic is flowing. It is rush hour. And people are looking at how they will get back to work, because the tube station, which is this way behind me, has been cordoned off. But as of now, slowly, traffic and business around the area is getting back to normal.
PHILLIPS: OK, Mallika, we just received -- I don't know if you were able to listen to the news conference with Scotland Yard. Were you able to listen to what police were telling us just a few moments ago?
KAPUR: We heard -- we managed to hear a little bit of that press conference being out in the field. And of course, police have confirmed that there have been four attempts, four incidents across the London Underground today, one of them taking place on a bus.
They confirm that there was a small explosion on a bus traveling on Hackney Road, bus Number 26, which is a double-decker red bus, one of the traditional buses in London. We heard earlier from the bus that the glass in the upstairs portion of the bus had been shattered.
Police have also confirmed incidents at three subway stations, tube stations here in London, one at Warren Street, one at the Oval Tube Station, and one here at the Shepherd's Bush Tube Station behind me. What they have not confirmed is the nature of the incident. We've had -- we've heard unconfirmed reports that it was a detonator which had gone off and not a bomb. But those are unconfirmed reports. And while police have confirmed there was an incident. They haven't told us what kind of incident there has been at the tube station behind me.
So they have said that authorities have gone in and taken forensic evidence and they will, of course, be working on that evidence to see what they could -- what kind of explosion or bomb or detonator went off in the tube station behind me.
PHILLIPS: Mallika, that's what I wanted to ask you about. As I was catching what the police were saying there in that news conference is that they do consider they have a significant breakthrough with regard to evidence, and they do believe that there are some explosives that did not go off.
Do you know, from talking to your sources there, investigators on the scene if, indeed, where you are, could be one of the areas where these explosives at least are being contained or some -- or investigated in some way?
KAPUR: The police here on the ground have been very, very tight- lipped. They have been very careful not to create panic amongst the people over here. I can tell you what we have seen, though, is that they have evacuated.
Earlier on, they evacuated the residents that live all around the block over here. They went door to door knocking on people's doors and telling people to leave their homes.
I don't know if you can hear the noise behind me at the moment, but ambulances coming, the wail of police sirens. This area was evacuated. We have seen police and lots of sniffer dogs walking toward the tube station behind me.
But as of now, police being very tight-lipped about what they have found inside or what they are expecting to find.
PHILLIPS: All right. Mallika Kapur there at Shepherd's Bush Station. Still a lot of activity there. We'll let you go and work investigators for more information. We'll come back to you, Mallika. Thank you so much.
Meanwhile, we've got our Matthew Chance now by phone. He's at the Warren Street Station.
Matthew, I don't know if you were able to hear the latest information from Scotland Yard. I'll be happy to let you know if you weren't able to hear it. But why don't you tell us what you know from there at the scene at this point?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the scene is still somewhat confused here at Warren Street. It is the station, perhaps, which is most central of all the recent attempts at attacks, if we understand the police commissioner correctly, that have been made on one of the main -- two of the main thoroughfares that go through central London.
They've been cleared now, evacuated, shops and businesses and offices, as well as people's residences in the immediate area around Warren Street have been evacuated now back 400 meters, 400 yards or so from the entrance to the Underground station.
What the police commissioner said is that four attempts, as I understand it, were made to set off explosive devices. Some of the devices, he added later, remained unexploded.
My conversations have been like here on the ground at Warren Street speaking to some of the police officers, the British Transport Police, the London police, as well, that have been attending the scene, is that it is their understanding that there was an explosion, a small explosion on a train, a short distance outside the platform on one of the platforms at Warren Street Station.
And so what's not clear at the moment is whether this was a detonator that exploded or whether it was the explosive devices themselves. I think it's the latter. I think it must be the detonator that we're talking about now.
That's simply because the explosions were not very big at all. They didn't really cause, it seems, significance damage. They didn't cause significant injury, as well, although there were conflicting reports coming out of Warren Street about how many casualties were caused. Some reports saying there were none. Other reports saying that there was one casualty, perhaps the individual who was carrying the bomb.
Because eyewitnesses here have spoken on British television about seeing a man's rucksack he was wearing on his back exploding, although it didn't cause a big explosion. It merely burned the rucksack and set it on fire. People subsequently complained or reported that it had a very pungent chemical odor.
As a result of that, teams were brought here, emergency teams, as well as fire brigade, ambulances and also police in chemical protective clothing, wearing gas masks. They've been down in all the train stations, here, the Oval, Shepherd's Bush and towards the -- and towards the bus explosion as well in the east of London, trying to establish whether there's any hazardous material that's been left over as a result of these attacks -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Well, talking about the hazardous -- hazardous material that could still exist, Matthew, as we know the explosives materials that were found in that home that was being investigated from the attacks just a couple weeks ago, this TAPT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
PHILLIPS: Can you hear me OK, Matthew?
CHANCE: I can hear you, yes. PHILLIPS: OK. Do you need to talk to your -- is that one of your police sources there? Do you need to talk to him or her?
CHANCE: That was just somebody on the street.
PHILLIPS: OK. No problem. You're not getting harassed, right?
CHANCE: No, no, no. There are a lot of people on the street here, Kyra. Many hundreds of people walking home.
PHILLIPS: I can understand. They -- obviously, with the mass transit shut down, it's got to be a difficult time to move around. But let me ask you about the explosive materials. You said the hazardous materials team has moved in.
Have you heard anybody mention TAPT, the same substance that was found in this house just a couple weeks ago when police were investigating leads into the explosion two weeks ago? Have you heard that word or anyone talk about triacetone triperoxide?
CHANCE: At this stage, no. But certainly, I think that that substance, which, it's well known, is favored by people who carry out these terrorist attacks -- the explosive material that Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, who attempted to blow up a transatlantic flight, had stuffed inside his shoes.
It was the same material, of course, that was used two weeks ago to the day that caused such devastation on the London Underground and on a London bus here in the center of the British capital. So obviously, police will be looking at the substance.
And I think one of the key points that may have come out of these attacks today, fortunately not causing many casualties, if any casualties. We haven't got any confirmation of that yet. Is that it does seem, from what the police commissioner is saying, that some of that explosive material has remained unexploded.
That's going to make it much more easy for the police, the forensic teams, the various other specialists that will be attending the scenes to establish not just what kind of material was used in the making of these bombs, but, possibly, possibly, leading them to evidence that could suggest who made the bombs.
And so I think this is probably something of a development that the police have welcomed, the fact that they may have been given these clues that in the previous attacks two weeks ago, of course, were completely destroyed with the explosions.
PHILLIPS: All right. Matthew Chance there at the Warren Street Station via telephone. Thank you so much. We'll continue to check in with you.
Meanwhile, we want to take the perspective of a security analyst now who studied terrorist attacks for the past 20 years. In fact, Glen Schoen recently gave a lecture on the future of al Qaeda to British authorities. Glen joins us on the phone right now from Amsterdam.
Glen, can you hear me OK?
GLEN SCHOEN, SECURITY ANALYST: I can.
PHILLIPS: Let me -- I don't know if you heard what Matthew had to say with regard to the explosives. But let me just run something by you. I'm getting an e-mail from one of my sources that told me that these explosions were low order and they could be detonators or it could be the TAPT that was old and not mixed properly. What's your take on the explosives and what we've heard out of Scotland Yard at this point?
SCHOEN: Well, it sounds a bit like faulty detonators. And sometimes you get them in a batch, so -- especially with industrial explosive detonators. So what could have happened is that several of them went off from the same batch or group of them. Because it seems like all of them or most of them malfunctioned.
SCHOEN: The other big question here, of course, is going to be might it have been faulty explosives, that the materials were wrongly mixed or the wrong composition was used?
PHILLIPS: So let me ask you this. Is it possible this wasn't another -- another group of individuals putting together explosives and trying to set them off at a certain place at a certain time? Is it possible this could be left over from two weeks ago?
SCHOEN: It could be. I mean, that's going to be the big question for authorities right now, is it the same bomb maker or not? Because if it's more than one, obviously, they have another extra problem on their hands. And it sounds like, from everything we're hearing so far, there's a good possibility this was an organized follow-on attempt at more attacks.
The problem we have right now, it looks like, is that these were not suicide bombers. Or if they are, they're still alive and still at large. So obviously, the threat carries on very much at this hour.
PHILLIPS: OK, so you're saying more than likely not suicide bombers but that police actually -- they're talking about they -- as a matter of fact, out of Scotland Yard, Glen, police were saying they -- that the evidence that they found, they consider it a significant breakthrough.
And, also, we saw video early on of a man being arrested, of course, near the home of Tony Blair. So is it possible, when they talk about significant breakthrough, that maybe they are onto an actual human being or a bomb maker? Or could the significant breakthrough just mean they might just know where all these explosives are at this point?
SCHOEN: Well, I'm hopeful that they're on to the suspects. But if, indeed, the fact that the explosives are still intact is going to be a big breakthrough for them.
We just heard Ian Blair, the police commissioner, mention that the Whitehall incident was not related. So that doesn't look like a serious lead at this moment.
And I'm sorry. I meant to clarify, when I talked about the suicide bombers, in this case, we don't know if there were suicide bombers or not yet. But we do know that it seems people have survived this, because we don't have four dead people. And that means we still have suspects on the run in London at this time.
PHILLIPS: All right, Glen Schoen, always a pleasure to talk to you. You bring us great information. We'll continue to keep in touch with you as we follow the breaking news, of course, out of London with the scare, of course, that individuals are going through right now, living there and working there. Glen, thank you so much.
And CNN, of course, is committed to providing the most reliable coverage of news that affects your security. Stay tuned to CNN for the latest information day and night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS (voice-over): Next on LIVE FROM, London's attacks, America's response. Stepped up security for the military. We're live from the Pentagon.
Later on LIVE FROM, terrorists escalating the war, taping attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allah akbar. Allah akbar.
PHILLIPS: Learning online. How can the U.S. respond to their changing tactics?
Also ahead, Britain's battle against terror. How London's lessons could help other cities keep an eye out for attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Once again, terror strikes London's transport system. But today's attacks were nothing compared to those of two weeks ago. CNN's Christiane Amanpour is on the scene with the very latest.
Christiane, you were there a couple weeks ago. Definitely tremendously different. Give us a feel for what things are like now and compare it to two weeks ago.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly different in terms of the scale. Two weeks ago, explosions were actually detonated in the tubes and on a bus and they killed 56 people and left 700 wounded.
But after that, there was an investigation. The police got all the evidence they knew. They were quickly able to identify the chief suspects, and they said that they were suicide bombers.
Britain after that, Londoner especially, sort of got on with it. There was a sense of stoicism, of defiance, and getting on, getting back onto the tubes and onto buses and, basically, continuing life as normal.
This time, it's a much less serious incident in terms of the number of casualties. There's only been one casualty. And it's not even clear whether this injury today was related to this -- to these attacks.
In addition, there were only -- as the police commissioner said, attempts at detonating. In other words, he said that there were explosive devices that were still unexploded. So it could have been, presumably reading between the lines, much worse, had the explosions happened to their maximum force.
What he has said, though, which is interesting, is that there is forensic evidence, he believes, at the scenes, and that will be very helpful to the police in their investigations. But, otherwise, very, very few details.
And the people who our reporters have been able to talk to are, certainly, more chilled this time. In other words, they feel more scared this time than last time, because this is the second time in two weeks. And the question is how can police secure the tubes, the transport system and secure and reassure Londoners? And they haven't been able to answer that at the moment -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Christiane, just even looking behind you, it's so much different from two weeks ago. It was chaotic last time. There were people behind you running around and screaming. You a difficult time getting into work, I remember. You couldn't get on the transportation system yourself. So it definitely looks a lot calmer.
Now, let me ask you -- Scotland...
AMANPOUR: Just one thing.
AMANPOUR: People weren't running around screaming last time. What was absolutely amazing about last time is that, obviously -- obviously, there was panic and confusion underneath when these incidents happened. But on the streets, there was a remarkable calm.
And that is almost the leit motif, if you like, of London, which has endured so many attacks, as we've been reporting, since World War II.
This time, I think, from what our reporters are saying, people are expressing slightly more fear than they did last time.
PHILLIPS: Point well made. Point well made.
Well, let's go back to Scotland Yard. The police have been talking, saying that they've recovered evidence they feel is a significant breakthrough.
What's your take? Do you think it's an individual? Do you think it's other homes they've been able to track down information? Do you think it's evidence of explosive material that they found on the scene? What do you think?
AMANPOUR: Well, Kyra, from what I was able to glean from Sir Ian Blair is that they said we do believe that there is forensic material at the scenes and that they believe that they have discovered from forensic material at the scenes, and that would be very helpful. We simply don't know what that is, and they're not characterizing it.
I mean, Sir Ian Blair was extremely careful. Just on and on he said, "I will not confirm or deny," whether it was about arrests, whether it was about the nature of the explosions. One speculation had been that one of the explosions was a nail bomb. And he simply wouldn't confirm it.
But clearly, since he has said that they are unexploded devices, some of them did not explode, then presumably that's the kind of forensic evidence that they -- that they may find at the scenes.
In terms of whether there were any of the attackers that they were able to chase down or find, they simply won't tell us that yet.
PHILLIPS: Christiane Amanpour, appreciate it. We'll continue to check in with you as you get information. Thank you so much.
And investigators are still focused on finding those who ordered the July 7 attacks. CNN's Kelli Arena with our America bureau now with more on a possible U.S. angle.
A lot of people here at home, Kelli, wondering, OK, is this some sort of message? Do we need to worry back here in the United States?
KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, what I can tell you is that investigators are very focused on finding a man named Haroon Rasheed Aswat. Sources close to the investigation say that British authorities believe that Aswat may have provided some type support to the bombers who carried out the July 7 attacks. And they say that western intelligence last located him in South Africa but his whereabouts at this time are unknown.
He's been on the radar here in the U.S. for some time, though. Officials say that Aswat traveled to the United States in November of 1999, eventually ending up in Bly, Oregon. Officials say that it was there that he allegedly scouted a ranch for use as a jihad training camp. And they also allege that he met with potential recruits and conducted firearms training.
Government officials say that he was working with an American named James Ujaama. You may remember that, Kyra. Ujaama reached a plea deal with the government in 2003 and he's currently cooperating with investigators.
Ujaama is also the leading witness in the U.S. indictment against the radical British cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri. Now, he has openly praised both the 9/11 attacks and Osama bin Laden and he's also currently facing charges in Britain.
Sources tell us that Aswat was a close confidant of Abu Hamza's. Investigators believe that Aswat left Britain just before the London attacks, may have traveled to Pakistan. British officials have asked Pakistan to help find him.
Now, there have been some reports that Aswat is in Pakistani custody. But CNN sources say that that's just not true and that he remains on the loose -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: All right. Kelli Arena, thank you very much.
ARENA: You're welcome.
PHILLIPS: And just to be on the safe side, of course, the Pentagon is stepping up its own security. Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr with a first-hand account of what's happening there and also to give us more of a feel here in the United States, Barbara, of what the U.S. military is thinking about with regard to this scare, once again.
BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, no one here at the Pentagon, of course, ignoring what has happened in London today. This was the place that did survive the 9/11 attacks.
Very quickly, after the information reached here, Pentagon police ratcheted up, increased security here at the Pentagon and in the surrounding areas and in Washington, D.C. The local metro subway system also announcing that it would increase its security sweeps through the subway system today.
But here at the Pentagon, today at least, while all of that is going on, the big news, of course, is Iraq. Within about half an hour we expect a briefing here in this room about a topic that is extremely controversial. And that is the readiness of Iraqi security forces to pick up the fight against the insurgents there.
It's been a very controversial matter, of course. Critics saying that why aren't there more Iraq security forces out there? The Pentagon, the U.S. military saying they are training them as fast as they can.
They are sending a report to Congress later today. We have had a look ahead of time at some of the key numbers, some of the key things that are going on in the Iraqi security forces. Let's walk you through some of it.
There are about 171,000 Iraqi security forces in the army, 84 operational army battalions, 15 more doing training. But of those 84 battalions, and this is critical, the Pentagon will tell Congress only three Iraqi battalions are capable of independently conducting counterinsurgency operations.
The rest of them, 81 battalions in the Iraqi army, still need American combat help when they go out to fight the insurgents. Now supporters say that that's the way it is because they're working as fast as they can to get them ready.
In the Iraqi police, that's the paramilitary, the public order, the commando battalions that also have the job of fighting the insurgents. There are 25 battalions now partially capable of the 28 they hope to have, 25 partially capable of fighting the insurgents on their own. Excuse me. Of fighting the insurgents with U.S. military assistance. None of them so far capable of fighting on their own.
So all of this continues as a matter of great controversy.
But the other key part of the report Kyra, what about the level of the insurgency itself? Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld yesterday gave a very blunt assessment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The report also offers a candid assessment of the challenges that remain for the Iraqi people and for the coalition. Among them, though they've suffered numerous setbacks, terrorists in Iraq remain effective, adaptable and intent on carrying out attacks against Iraqi civilians and Iraqi officials.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: So, Kyra, even as the world looks at what happened in London today, the secretary of defense looking at the situation in Iraq and saying those terrorists remain very effective -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: Barbara Starr, live from the Pentagon. Thanks, Barbara.
Straight ahead, who is behind today's terror attacks in London? Just ahead on LIVE FROM, we're going to talk with an anti-terrorism expert about what today's attacks could mean for the overall war on terror.
And a defiant Saddam Hussein challenges a war crimes tribunal today. Oh, yes. He goes at it with the judge, and we've got it on tape. More on that straight ahead.
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