Associated Press – 2005-07-09 00:40:09
British Police Received Advanced Warnings of Terrorist Attack
(July 7, 2005) — Editor’s note:
Below are several news reports including the White House Bulletin, Associated Press and CBS News, which suggest that British police authorities might have had advanced warnings of the attacks and had informed the Israeli Embassy.
The time at which these warnings were received is not known. If these reports are correct, it raises some very serious questions.
We also provide an excerpt from the Jerusalem Post, which questions the validity of AP report.
White House Bulletin, July 7, 2005
Scotland Yard Reportedly Tipped Off
An Israeli official reportedly said that Scotland Yard had called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy to say they had received warnings of a possible attack moments before the blasts. The official added the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to stay at his hotel rather than attend an economic conference at a hotel located above one of the Underground stations where the blasts occurred.
There are also unconfirmed reports that British police had begun evacuating passengers from some trains prior to the bombs going off. However, British media were reporting this morning that British police officials are saying they had no warnings of the attacks.
Copyright White House Bulletin, 2005
Netanyahu Changed Plans Due to Warning
Amy Teibel / Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM (July 7, 2005) – British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before Thursday’s explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city, a senior Israeli official said.
Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to attend an economic conference in a hotel over the subway stop where one of the blasts occurred, and the warning prompted him to stay in his hotel room instead, government officials said.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he wasn’t aware of any Israeli casualties.
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 official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of his position.
The Israeli Embassy was in a state of emergency after the explosions in London, with no one allowed to enter or leave, said the Israeli ambassador to London, Zvi Hefet.
All phone lines to the embassy were down, said Danny Biran, an Israeli Foreign Ministry official.
The ministry set up a situation room to deal with hundreds of phone calls from concerned relatives. Thousands of Israelis are living in London or visiting the city at this time, Biran said.
Amir Gilad, a Netanyahu aide, told Israel Radio that Netanyahu’s entourage was receiving updates all morning from British security officials, and “we have also asked to change our plans.”
Netanyahu had been scheduled to stay in London until Sunday, but that could change, Gilad said.
Copyright Associated Press, 2005
CBS News Transcript, The Early Show
SMITH: Let’s talk with Jim Stewart in Washington right now. Jim, this, of course, has an eerily familiar feel to a lot of people this morning. What do you know in terms of what’s going on in Washington today?
JIM STEWART reporting:
Well, what I would say right now is we just need to hold on and let the developments continue this morning because there are conflicting reports here.
Already there are some Web sites that are associated with al-Qaida who are claiming some sort of responsibility and maintaining there will be additional attacks today or soon against Denmark and Italy which, of course, have been strong allies with the US and the war on al-Qaida, but there’s another very intriguing report also coming out of London and that’s from Israeli officials who say that moments before this attack, they were notified by Scotland Yard that a terrorist attack was imminent.
Now it’s interesting to note that in addition to the G8 conference taking place in Scotland today, there’s a major economic conference taking place that the Israelis are involved in. In fact, their finance minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was supposed to be there today. He did not arrive. The attack took place just before he was supposed to arrive. All of this raises the possibility that you may have one or more groups who are involved in this.
Now what we know about US involvement so far is this. The FBI already has a liaison team in Great Britain. They will reinforce that from Washington and New York today. New York Police which, of course, oversee the safety of the New York subway system and has a great interest in any attack on a subway system as they did in Madrid has dispatched officers as well.
Physically, what you see in Washington today in response to the attack in London is increased security around the White House, certainly around the vice president, and the British Embassy had a great deal of activity around it this morning as I was coming in. So all of that is an early indication that everyone thinks this is al-Qaida, but I think we really have to step back and just wait and see what happens because there are other indications that there were more terrorists out there possibly at work in this and we just won’t know until later. Harry.
SMITH: You know, it’s–we’ve been very, very cautious and very slow to leap to any conclusions on this. You know, when we first heard about a problem on the subway there, an explosion, this London subway system is plagued with all kinds of problems, terrible problems there, for the last couple of years, and initially thought perhaps it was an electronic switching problem or whatever. We want to reiterate that the chief of police in London has said that traces from explosives have been found at at least one of the sites of where these incidents have taken place here this morning. So as we step forward and listen to what Tony Blair just said, that it is reasonably clear that this has been a series of terrorist attacks, Jim.
SYLER: And we’re–Jim Stewart–everybody is standing by. We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now.
Copyright CBS News 2005
The Advertiser, July 8, 2005
An Israeli official said Scotland Yard had told Israel minutes before
explosions that it had received warnings of possible terror attacks, but the connection with the Middle Eastern state was not clear last night. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the nature of his position.
Israel was holding an economic conference near the scene of one of the explosions. Israeli Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was supposed to attend, but the attacks occurred before he arrived. Just before the blasts, Scotland Yard called the security officer at the Israeli Embassy and said warnings of possible attacks had been received, the official said.
He did not say whether British police made any link to the economic conference.
Jerusalem Post, 7 July 2005
There were reports on Israel Radio that Scotland Yard had received early warnings of an imminent terrorist attack, and had shared details of these warnings with the Israeli Embassy in London.
However, staff at the Israeli Embassy have flatly denied the claim.
A spokesman said, “We were informed like everybody else, after the explosions. We were holding a conference, but after the police came to inform us of what had happened we took the appropriate action and decided not to continue with the conference.”
The spokesman said the embassy was operating normally, and added, “We are horrified by the callous terror attacks in London this morning. Our thoughts are with the people of London and the families of those affected.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
An MSNBC translator has noted that the message from the group claiming responsiblity for the London attacks contained an error in one of the Quranic verses cited, suggesting the claim may be phony. “This is not something al-Qaida would do”, he said.