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London slowly recovers after terror attacks -

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London slowly recovers after terror attacks

AM - Saturday, 9 July , 2005 08:04:00

Reporter: Rafael Epstein

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Joining us now on the line for the latest information from London is our
Correspondent, Rafael Epstein.

Rafael, describe for us if you will, the scene now and the mood of the place.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: Look it's been a pretty extraordinary week really, the Olympic announcement was so
unexpected, and there was such jubilation because of that. You know, they didn't expect it, and
then less than 24 hours later there was the bomb.

Now, having been through almost two days since the bomb blasts, we've been through three peak hours
since the bombs went off, and in a strange way the city's returned to normal, you know, for the
thousands of people who know or are amongst the injured or know the dead, of course nothing will
ever be the same.

But you really need to understand that London's an incredibly diverse place that's divided along so
many different lines - ethnic, economic, geographic. It's hard to impact this city in a big way.
And on top of that, it's been through the blitz. They've been through the IRA (Irish Republican
Army) bombing campaign, they've been through a lot.

So for something like this to really bring the city to a halt, you wouldn't expect that. There's a
degree of fatalism, acceptance. There's a lot of defiance. I think people were very happy with what
the Queen had to say, but in a lot of ways, Friday night in London, it's pretty much back to normal
for the vast majority.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Now, Rafael, officials seem to be urging caution this morning in blaming
al-Qaeda. What can you tell us about that?

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: It's interesting, it's a little hard to pick exactly their aim. The Prime Minister
was very quick yesterday, Tony Blair, to say that those who were behind this attack acted in the
name of Islam but didn't represent the vast majority of Muslims.

Now that was a pretty quick finger of blame, and of course that's the working assumption, that it's
a group connected to al-Qaeda. There is a little bit of unease around some parts of the
intelligence services, they remember what happened in Madrid, the Government there very quickly
pointed the finger of blame at ETA, that proved to be wrong and it had very serious consequences
for that Government.

So while it would seem obvious... the most obvious culprit would be some kind of al-Qaeda group or
some people linked to them. There's been a little bit of a back pedal today, not so many people as
keen to say that, although the metropolitan police chief did say that's one of their strong
possibilities, their working assumption.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Have there been any developments in other groups claiming responsibility?

RAFAEL EPSTEIN: There's been none of that sort of development in terms of a different sort of
group. There have been the odd reports about an al-Qaeda link here, a suicide bomber there.

None of that has been confirmed by officials, and in fact, the police, senior police here appeared
to be having a swipe at one of the Murdoch tabloids that very clearly emblazoned "suicide bomber"
on its headline.

There might be some concern there from the police, they were saying in fact that that was
unhelpful. While they concede suicide bomber on the bus because of some eyewitness statements is a
strong possibility, they don't have anything solid on that yet that they're telling us about.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Rafael Epstein joining us from London.