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LONDON-A series of incidents in a small area brought the UK capital to a standstill a day after Londoners celebrated winning the Olympic Games. The whole of London’s transport system has been disabled after six explosions, five of which were in the underground and one in a double-decker bus. A spokesman for Scotland Yard calls it a “major incident” and said there are “many casualties and fatalities, but the police have yet to release figures.

Prime minister Tony Blair has confirmed that the co-ordinated blasts were the work of terrorists. The Home Office is suggesting Al-Quaeda. The severity of the emergency has prompted Blair to return to London from Gleneagles where the G8 summit is meeting and Major Ken Livingstone has cut short his trip to Singapore. Employers across central London are advising staff to stay within their offices. Staff at Deutsche Bank and the London Clearing Bank were evacuated earlier this morning. There are also unconfirmed reports that a suicide bomber was killed by the police at Canary Wharf this morning.

Problems started at 8am local time with reports of an explosion on the Metropolitan Line between Liverpool Street and Aldgate. Further explosions were reported at Aldgate East, Edgware Road, King’s Cross, Russell Square and Moorgate. Two Underground trains are understood to have collided near King’s Cross.

Then, in mid-morning, news broke that the top of a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square had been blown off. A spokesperson at Transport for London says the entire tube system has been shut down; there are no buses running in Zone 1, the main tourist and business-area of the capital; and the security forces are understood to be considering shutting down half the UK’s mobile phone network. Officials are “still unsure” whether the explosions were a terrorist attack and although casualties were reported, no further details were yet available.

Ministers are meeting to clarify the situation and the government will make a statement later, Leader of the House Geoff Hoon told the Commons. Initial reports suggested the problems were due to a “power surge” in the electricity supply to the tube but the National Grid, which supplies power to the Underground, said there had been no problems with its system which could have contributed to the incidents. It is still unknown how much property damage has been caused.

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