Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

LONDON 2005; Armed and Ready: Leicester Square Today as Police Guard Every Tube Three Weeks after First Bombings

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

LONDON 2005; Armed and Ready: Leicester Square Today as Police Guard Every Tube Three Weeks after First Bombings

Article excerpt

Byline: JUSTIN DAVENPORT

THIS is the reality of Fortress London. Police carrying MP5 submachineguns and Glock 17 pistols patrol near Leicester Square, part of a massive armed presence on the streets of the capital today.

All leave is cancelled as thousands of officers guard Tube and railway stations and other key points. More than 3,000 Met officers are now armed in the force's biggest operation since the Second World War.

Police marksmen are equipped with the AW50 heavy sniper rifle which has a range of more than a mile and the 7.62 Lee Enfield "Enforcer" which is capable of stopping vehicles.

Undercover officers have the easily-concealed, folding stock Heckler& Koch MP5K PDW submachinegun.

Three weeks ago today 52 commuters were murdered on their way to work and a week ago four would-be suicide bombers tried again but the devices failed to explode.

British Transport Police and City of London officers are also involved today. Hundreds of reinforcements have been drafted in from forces around the South-East.

Today's operation came as Met chief Sir Ian Blair warned that the three 21/7 bombers still on the run could strike again. Sir Ian also warned that other suicide cells could be waiting.

Speaking to the Metropolitan Police Authority this morning he said: "I am confident that we will identify and find the bombers responsible and those that backed them.

"But it does remain possible that those who are at large will strike again.

It also remains possible that there are other cells who are capable and intent on striking again."

He warned that the 21/7 gang were "not a B-team," adding: "These were not amateurs, they made one mistake and we were very, very lucky.

"The carnage that would have occurred had those bombs gone off would have been at least the equivalent of that of 7 July and therefore it is absolutely imperative that we find those responsible. …

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